So, I’m firmly footed in the world of digital comics. But, of the last couple months, my old Android tablet has been clinging to life and brought my comics reading to a standstill. But I was a good boy in 2014 and Santa brought me a new Windows tablet, so one of my goals for the new year is to get back in the swing of reading some good comics. The big publishers have announced major events for 2015, including Marvel doing modern retellings of some of their biggest events of comics’ modern era.
One thing that’s driving me nuts about the industry of late is their need to release new #1s every couple months of popular titles, than charging extra for them. Because there’s no better way to appeal to new readers than to gouge them. With that being said, though, this month’s list has a couple #1s from Marvel Comics (the seemingly worst perpetrator of this new trend).
ANT-MAN #1 (MARVEL)
January 7th – $4.99
Personally, I have always been a fan of the moody Hank Pym – a conflicted superhero who’s a pacifist that abhors violence yet often has to punch villains in the face. The pinnacle of his career, creating a robot to protect humanity named Ultron, ultimately turns on his creator and mankind itself. Yet, what most people know of Pym is an issue of The Avengers from 1981 where, in a fit of rage, Hank punches his wife Janet (aka The Wasp) in the face. The “black eye” to Pym’s reputation remains to this day. Which is likely why Pym’s role is being minimized in the upcoming Ant-Man film, replacing the pariah Pym with Scott Lang – who donned the suit after he stole it from Pym in the late-70s.
The reboot doesn’t totally rewrite the character of Lang, who to be fair stole the Ant-Man suit in a bid to save his dying daughter, nor does remove Pym’s role in the suit’s development. What I’m excited to see is what role they’ll have Pym play in this new series, if he takes on a mentor role to Lang or if he’s barely mentioned, as whatever role he plays here will likely carry over to the character’s big screen debut this Summer.
CONAN / RED SONJA #1 (DARK HORSE)
January 14th – $3.99
Gail Simone, whose name will come up again later in this list, is one of my favorite comic writers out there right now. One of her defining traits is her awesome portrayal of female characters. So, it was only natural for her to take on one of comics’ greatest heroines – Red Sonja. It’s only natural that she would be eventually paired-up with fellow barbarian Conan. But, in the world of comics publishing, this isn’t always easy. In this case Conan comics are released under the Dark Horse line while Red Sonja falls under Dynamite!. But, with some deft maneuvering, fans of the duo will finally get to see the two worlds cross in this upcoming series.
Of course, to bring these two together requires a threat so great that neither can face it on their own. I’m pretty excited to see where this series goes, especially with the less serious yet still bad-ass Sonja that has graced the pages of the Simone series.
STAR WARS #1 (MARVEL)
January 14th – $4.99
2015 is shaping up to be the biggest year for Star Wars since 1977, when the original Star Wars hit the big screen. With new books, the continuing Star Wars Rebels animated series, and of course The Force Awakens coming this year, Star Wars is going to be EVERYWHERE this year. One of the things that didn’t get much attention when Disney purchased the rights to the franchise in 2012 was the series’ ongoing comic books – which were being published by Dark Horse. Some of which, like the recent Brian Wood series, were excellent in filling in some of the gaps that the movies never covered. But Disney already owned a comic house of their own – the monolithic Marvel – and most new that Dark Horse’s days were numbered.
The epic stories of these books have been cast upon the pyre of the “new canon”, relegated to the “Legends” titling given to properties that don’t fall into the new continuity of Star Wars. Today’s release of Marvel’s Star Wars #1 will be the first title that is officially part of this new epic storyline, filling in the gap between the films. Additional series, based on Darth Vader and Princess Leia, will be coming later this year. But this series picks up following the events of the Battle of Yavin IV – the finale of the first film – and tells the story of the rebellion following their triumph there.
POWERS #1 (MARVEL)
January 21st – $3.99
A lot of comics are starting new runs to tie-in with the launch of the property in other media. Powers, the Brian Michael Bendis title originally launched in 2000, is getting new life from Marvel to coincide with the premier of the new PlayStation-exclusive TV series (yes, PlayStation… the Sony thing you play video games on). For the uninitiated, Powers revolves around a pair of cops whose beat includes seeking out super-powered criminals.
The new Marvel series is not a rehash of the original run of comics, which is likely to be the domain of the TV show in its inaugural season. Instead, it continues the story of the Powers Bureau and its hunt for villains while also exploring the private lives of those who search them out. As a fan of the original run (to be fair, I started reading it a few years ago based on a recommendation) I’m excited to see where Bendis decides to take this.
SECRET SIX #2 (DC)
January 28th – $2.99
Yes, I’m a Marvel fanboy. But that doesn’t mean I don’t give DC Comics their due. There’s just not much going on in their world at the moment that overly interests me (when, oh when, will Future’s End end?!). But when it was announced last year, I just could not wait to get more Secret Six from Gail Simone in my eyes. The story, which turns some of DC’s C-level villains into a band of hardened mercs, picked up last month with Catman being captured and thrown into a jail cell with some fellow rogues by a mysterious group for an unknown purpose.
Honestly, Gail Simone could write about trying to get Catman to use a litter box and DC gets my $3. I love books told from the bad guy’s point-of-view and Simone is a master of humanizing villains while also keeping them “bad” (something I wish the big publisher across the street could take some notes on).
CLASS ACTION #1 (ARDEN DEADLINE)
January 28th – $2.99
A cheat to this list, Class Action has actually been around as a digital-exclusive title since September. But the Neal Adams book will be released in dead tree format at the end of the month by Arden Deadline. Speaking of my love of seeing tales told from the villain’s perspective, Class Action tells the story of a former super-villain trying to start anew after being pardoned for his crimes. But why he was pardoned and what he’s expected to do in return remain a mystery.
Adams, known as an comics artist extraordinaire, tries his hand at writing in this series. I think the title is interesting as it takes a look at the day-to-day domestic life of an ex-super-villain… That is until things go wrong.