Howdy folks! The month is finally ending, making this the perfect opportunity to mention all the highlights that hit shelves over the last 31 days. Marvel was the standout this time around, launching a whole bunch of new creative teams and story arcs while trying to make their books more accessible for the rest of 2002. Below is a summary of the better attempts Iíve seen and should be available at your local retail shops.
Howard the Duck #1 (of 6) - Just goes to show on how to do something right. If it ainít broke, donít fix it. The original creator of Howard the Duck, the one and only Steve Gerber, returns with friends in this fantastic new mini-series from Marvelís mature line of books, MAX. Following Gerber is concept designer and cover artist Glenn Fabry (who will also do interiors for issue #3), longtime collaborative penciler Phil Winslade (Nevada, Daredevil/Spider-Man) and even a promised guest appearance by co-creator and artist, Gene Colan (Tomb of Dracula). This satirical new series is absolutely NOT TO BE MISSED, and I will guarantee you a spot in Hell if you do. Highest possible recommendation! For a deeper look into the return of Howard, check out my original article.
Captain Marvel #27 & #28 - Series co-creators, writer Peter David (Incredible Hulk) and artist Chris Cross (Slingers), launch an all-new storyline for the son of the original Captain Mar-Vell. His Uncle Eros, otherwise known as Starfox, has been gravely injured by a powerfully cosmic foe. To make matters worse, the blood from Erosí wounds is causing ruptures in time and space. Accidentally, Mar-Vell falls into one and begins a trek through some of Marvel Comics most infamous alternate futures including 2099 and Future Imperfect. Expect cameos from Spider-Man 2099 and The Maestro (Hulkís evil future incarnation). Highly recommended.
Peter Parker, Spider-Man #39 - Critically acclaimed writer Paul Jenkins begins an all-new 3-part story arc featuring Spider-Manís greatest arch-nemesis, Doctor Octopus. Penciled by series regular Mark Buckingham, the new arc also features the return of the newer villain Fusion. Highly Recommended.
Captain America: Dead Man Running #1 (of 3) - While the ongoing Captain America series is in hibernation until itís April 2002 relaunch with an all new creative team, Marvel has created a temporary replacement. This 3-issue mini-series features the creative team of the recent Sandman Presents: The Corinthian from DC Comics, placing the character in a more realistic modern day environment. Discovering a team of U.S. soldiers in the South American jungle on the run from a common enemy, Cap finds that the group he is protecting has been part of something that challenges his very basic beliefs as the symbol of America. Guarantied to be a much grittier and harder Cap story then youíre used to reading, this is definitely an edgier experiment representative of what the new Marvel Comics can deliver. Recommended.
A Moment of Silence - Marvelís second and final charity project created to help 9/11 relief efforts. Filled with mostly silent short stories, the roster of creators include Kevin Smith, Joe Quesada, Brian Michael Bendis, John Romita Jr. and Mark Bagley. Recommended if youíre still looking to contribute to the comics-related charities.