Tag Archives: jonathan hickman

East of West, The Apocalypse: Year Two deluxe hardcover edition to hit stores this March

Critically-acclaimed writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Nick Dragotta’s East of West, The Apocalypse: Year Two deluxe oversized, prestige format hardcover edition will collect the Second Year of the Apocalypse storyline—issues 16-29 of the ongoing series—and will hit stores this March.

East of West took the comics industry by storm and defined the sci-fi/western genre crossover long before HBO’s Westworld and other similar stories tooks off in popularity. East of West remains a fixture on the New York Times bestseller list and one of the most successful creator-owned series on the market.

East of West, The Apocalypse: Year Two HC (ISBN: 978-1-5343-0059-0, Diamond Code: JAN170824) hits comic book stores on Wednesday, March 22nd. The final order cutoff deadline for comic retailers is Monday, February 27th.

East of West, The Apocalypse: Year Two hits bookstores on Tuesday, March 28th.


Image Comics Announces 20 Comics and More at Image Expo

Today at the Showbox Market Theater in Seattle, Washington, Image Comics kicked-off Emerald City Comicon with Image Expo and a slew of exciting creator-owned announcements.

They also announced a new initiative Creators for Creators as well.

Image Comics revealed the following creator-owned projects set to launch in the coming year and beyond.

AFAR by Leila del Duca & Kit Seaton

Critically-acclaimed, Russ Manning nominated SHUTTER artist Leila Del Duca teams up as co-creator and writer alongside artist, colorist, and letterer Kit Seaton (THE BLACK BULL OF NORROWAY, EVE OF ALL SAINTS) for an original graphic novel, AFAR.

In AFAR, Boetema suddenly develops the ability to astrally project to other worlds, unintentionally possessing the bodies of people light years away. Inotu, her inquisitive brother with a pension for trouble, finds himself on the run after he’s caught eavesdropping on an illegal business deal between small town business tycoons and their cyborg bodyguard. When Boetema accidentally gets someone hurt while in another girl’s body, the siblings are forced to work together to solve the problems they’ve created on their planet and others.

AFAR hits shelves this Fall 2016.


BLACK CLOUD by Jason Latour, Ivan Brandon, Greg Hinkle, Matt Wilson, Aditya Bidikar, Tom Muller, edited by Maria Ludwig
Co-creators Jason Latour (SOUTHERN BASTARDS, Spider-Gwen), Ivan Brandon (DRIFTER, VIKING) and Greg Hinkle (AIRBOY, THE RATTLER), team up with colorist Matt Wilson (THE WICKED + THE DIVINE), letterer Aditya Bidikar, designer Tom Muller, and editor Maria Ludwig for an all-new series called, BLACK CLOUD.

Once upon a time…They built a world where dreams come true… And those dreams went to war. In BLACK CLOUD, we meet Zelda: exiled to Earth, her dreams of revolution are gone, but she still holds the key to the world she left behind. And it’s for sale.

BLACK CLOUD is set to launch in Fall 2016.

black cloud

THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS by Jonathan Hickman & Tomm Coker 
All hail god money! From Jonathan Hickman (EAST OF WEST, Secret Wars, Avengers) and Tomm Coker (Undying Love) comes a mythical reinterpretation of modern global economics.

THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS is classic occult indoctrination where the secret schools of magic are actually clandestine banking cartels who control all of society—a hidden world where vampire Russian oligarchs, Black Popes, enchanted American aristocrats, and hitmen from the International Monetary Fund work together to keep ALL OF US in our rightful place.

Each issue contains world-expanding bonus content like maps, corporate organization charts, decoded apocrypha, and stock tips to die for.

THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS is a brand new, crypto-noir series about dirty, filthy, money… and what kind of people you can buy with it. Set to launch in Fall 2016.

the black monday murders

Howard Chaykin (SATELLITE SAM, BLACK KISS, AMERICAN FLAGG!) with the able assistance of Jesus Aburto on coloring, and Ken Bruzenak on lettering, unleashes THE DIVIDED STATES OF HYSTERIA.

THE DIVIDED STATES OF HYSTERIA is set in the aftermath of a dirty bomb that wipes New York City off the map, as what will come to be known as the Second American Civil War shatters the domestic landscape in isolated pustules of violence…and a team of five private contractors is charged with stemming this tide of rage and bringing the bombers to justice.

THE DIVIDED STATES OF HYSTERIA launches in Winter 2016.

the divided states of hysteria

GLITTERBOMB by Jim Zub & Djibril Morissette-Phan & K. Michael Russell & Marshall Dillon
Fan-favorite writer Jim Zub and newcomer Djibril Morissette-Phan come together with colorist K. Michael Russell and letterer Marshall Dillon for GLITTERBOMB.

“Probably the only thing I love more than comics is cinema,” said Morissette-Phan. “Which makes Glitterbomb a dream project since it’s a perfect blend of both.”

Set in Hollywood, GLITTERBOMB is a horror story about failed fame and blood-soaked revenge.

GLITTERBOMB is set to launch in late Summer 2016.


HORIZON, by Brandon Thomas, Juan Gedeon & Frank Martin (Skybound)
Writer Brandon Thomas, artist Juan Gedeon, and colorist Frank Martin team up for an all-new series from Image/Skybound titled, HORIZON.

In HORIZON, Zhia Malen thought she’d fought her very last war, until she learned her planet was targeted for occupation…by a desperate world called Earth. The people of Earth will be told that her arrival on our planet means invasion. These are lies. This is retaliation, and Horizon explores what happens when our planet finally runs out of second chances. And when we meet an alien race just as committed to survival as we are…

HORIZON is set to launch from Image/Skybound in July 13, 2016.


THE HUNT by Colin Lorimer, Jim Campbell, and Joana Lafuente (Shadowline Comics)
Critically acclaimed writer/artist Colin Lorimer (Harvest) teams up with letterer Jim Campbell and colorist Joana Lafuente for THE HUNT.

At her father’s deathbed, Orlaigh Roche came face to face with the age-old myth of The Slaugh; a group of soul-stealing spirits so evil that not even hell would take them. Years later, and with the belief that her father’s soul is still trapped in some form of the netherworld, she goes looking for answers—beginning a journey that leads her down a path to discover what really happens to us after we die.

THE HUNT begins in 2016 from Image/Shadowline Comics.

the hunt

ISOLA by Brenden Fletcher & Karl Kerschl 
Bestselling creators Brenden Fletcher (Batgirl of Burnside, Gotham Academy) and Karl Kerschl (Gotham Academy, The Abominable Charles Christopher) re-team for ISOLA—an epic fantasy adventure series with the scope of Game of Thrones and the spirit of Princess Mononoke.

ISOLA is set in a mystical land where the queen’s brother enacts a treacherous plot to transform her into a tiger. The captain of the guard, a woman of great skill, brings swift and lethal vengeance, unaware the wicked prince alone has the power to reverse the spell. The two women—one on two legs, one on four—must undertake a perilous journey halfway across the globe to the fabled island of ISOLA, gateway to the underworld, where they hope to find the spirit of the queen’s late brother and return her to human form.

ISOLA is set to launch in Spring 2017.


KILL OR BE KILLED by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Elizabeth Breitweiser
Bestselling writer Ed Brubaker (THE FADE OUT, FATALE), artist Sean Phillips (THE FADE OUT, FATALE), and colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser (THE FADE OUT, FATALE, OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA) reunite for KILL OR BE KILLED, the ultimate pulp crime comic.

KILL OR BE KILLED is the story of a troubled young man who is compelled to kill bad people, and how he struggles to keep his secret, as it slowly begins to ruin his life and the lives of his friends and loved ones.

Both a thriller and a deconstruction of vigilantism, KILL OR BE KILLED is unlike anything Brubaker and Phillips have done together in their long partnership.

KILL OR BE KILLED is set to launch in Summer 2016.

kill or be killed

LAKE OF FIRE by Nathan Fairbairn & Matt Smith
Co-creators Nathan Fairbairn (Scott Pilgrim, Batman Incorporated) and Matt Smith (Barbarian Lord) come together for an all-new series titled LAKE OF FIRE.

In LAKE OF FIRE it is 1220 AD, and the gears of the Albigensian Crusade grind on. When an alien mining craft infested with legions of bloodthirsty predators crash-lands in the remote wilderness of the French Pyrenees, a small band of crusaders and a Cathar heretic are all that stands between God’s Kingdom and Hell on Earth.

LAKE OF FIRE is set to launch in Summer 2016.

lake of fire

MOONSHINE by Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso, edited by Will Dennis
From Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso—the Eisner award-winning creative team behind the crime classic, 100 Bullets—comes the brutal new series, MOONSHINE.

MOONSHINE is set during the Prohibition Era, deep in the backwoods of Appalachia and tells the story of Lou Pirlo, a city-slick “torpedo” sent from New York City to negotiate a deal with the best moonshiner in West Virginia, one Hiram Holt. Lou figures it for milk run—how hard could it be to set-up moonshine shipments from a few ass-backward hillbillies? What Lou doesn’t figure on is that Holt is just as cunning as ruthless as any NYC crime boss and Lou is in way over his pin-striped head. Because not only will Holt do anything to protect his illicit booze operation, he’ll stop at nothing to protect a much darker family secret…a bloody, supernatural secret that must never see the light of day… or better still, the light of the full moon.

MOONSHINE #1 will hit stores in Fall 2016 and marks the first time Azzarello and Risso have worked together with Image Comics and reunites the acclaimed creative team that defined modern crime comics with 100 Bullets… and now puts a horror-twist on a classic gangster tale.


MOTOR CRUSH by Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, & Babs Tarr
From the creative team behind the popular, New York Times bestselling Batgirl of Burnside—Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr—comes MOTOR CRUSH—is a stylish, neon-soaked, revved up science-fiction action series.

By day, a Domino Swift competes for fame and fortune in a worldwide motorcycle racing league. By night, she cracks helmets of rival gangs in brutal, illegal bike wars on the city streets to gain possession of a rare and valuable contraband: an engine-boosting “machine narcotic” known as MOTOR CRUSH. But the origins—and ultimate purpose—of this mysterious substance are unknown, and could put her on a collision course with danger…

MOTOR CRUSH rides into town this December 2016.

motor crush

PRIMA by Jen Van Meter, Rick Burchett, Eric Newsom, edited by Jeanine Schaefer
You don’t always see who’s standing in the spotlight.

Creators Jen Van Meter and artist Rick Burchett team up to tell an all-new story about a dance company—comprised entirely of former spies—righting the wrongs of the Cold War in a series called, PRIMA.

PRIMA follows Sophia Forais and Pauline French are the soloist and Managing Director of a dance company that once served as a front for a Resistance cell in France. Engaged for a long run in New York, the dancers have turned their attention and unique skills to aiding a veteran of the Romanian underground now being blackmailed by her American husband. The small operation should prove simple, but Sophia, Paulina and their colleagues will quickly learn that the war has not really ended, and the world is no less ruthless than it was when they were smuggling information and refugees during the Occupation.

An espionage/romance adventure set in the arts world just after WWII, PRIMA is a warm-hearted series of intrigues: To Catch a Thief goes to the ballet.

On stands in FALL 2016.


PRINCE OF CATS by Ron Wimberly 
PRINCE OF CATS written and drawn by Ron Wimberly, lettered by Jarred Fisher, and featuring design by Jorden Haley returns to print from Image Comics.

PRINCE OF CATS was first released from Vertigo to critical acclaim in the summer 2012. It was out of print before the following summer. After three years, it will be returning to print through Image Comics.

PRINCE OF CATS is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead meets The Warriors meets Sword of Doom. PRINCE OF CATS sets Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in an alt-universe, mid-eighties New York where dueling with live blades evolved as a cultural phenomenon alongside New York’s other street cultures; it eschews the story of the titular star-crossed lovers to follow the tragic story of Tybalt, the Prince of Cats.

PRINCE OF CATS, the definitive remastered author’s edition, is set to release in Fall 2016.

prince of cats

ROCKSTARS by Joe Harris & Megan Hutchison
Fan-favorite Joe Harris (THE X-FILES, SNOWFALL) teams up with artist Megan Hutchison for an all-new, ongoing series a la Almost Famous meets Supernatural called, ROCKSTARS.

ROCKSTARS follows a pair of young, rock ‘n roll investigators as they uncover a mystery involving a legendary band, dead groupies, human sacrifice and a supernatural undercurrent connecting so many famous—and even more undiscovered—secrets, myths and conspiracies peppering rock music throughout the ages.

When a pattern of unsolved ‘groupie’ murders dating back to the 1970s resumes in present-day Los Angeles, nobody makes the connection except for Jackie Mayer, a young rock nerd who not only knows everything about music history, trivia and its myriad secrets and factoids, but also harbors a mysterious, almost magical ability to ‘see’ what most people miss, and determine and divine what’s going unreported.

Joined by a music writer and aspiring investigative reporter named Dorothy Buell, and his loyal cat, Skydog, they soon uncover a vast mystery involving a legendary band’s exploits, their mercurial guitarist’s occult associations, demonic possession, and sacrifices to the dark gods of rock.

Each story arc will feature a case sprung from a different rock n’ roll era—British Invasion, Punk, 80s Heavy Metal, etc.—and draw on Jackie’s unique connection, knowledge, and darkly magical associations to crack them.

The series will launch in Fall 2016.


ROMULUS by Bryan Hill & Nelson Blake II (Top Cow Productions)
Fan-favorite writer Bryan Hill (POSTAL) and Nelson Blake II come together for an all-new Image/Top Cow series in ROMULUS.

Set in the near future, ROMULUS follows the last in a line of near-mystical martial artists wages a revolutionary war against The Order of Romulus, the ancient secret society that trained her—a global organization, hidden in plain sight, that’s controlled the world since the days of Ancient Rome.

Their plan? Cull the population with genocide and rule a New World Order. Her plan? Kill them all or die angry.

Romulus launches from Top Cow/Image in Fall 2016.


SEVEN TO ETERNITY by Rick Remender & Jerome Opeña
Writer Rick Remender reteams with collaborators Jerome Opeña (Uncanny X-Force, Fear Agent) and Matt Hollingsworth (TOKYO GHOST, WYTCHES) to bring readers a modern fantasy series following Adam Osidis, a dying knight from a disgraced house, on a mission to rid his world of an insidious God who ensnared him in a Faustian deal.

Gharils Sulm, The God of Whispers is a Machiavellian warlord who holds sway everywhere in the world of Zhal. He’s spread an omnipresent paranoia to every corner of the kingdoms; one of his spies hides in every house, every family, every hall, spreading mistrust and fear.

Adam must choose between joining a hopeless band of magic users in their desperate bid to free their world of the evil God’s burden or give in to the The God of Whispers’ promises of salvation and safety.

The series is set to launch in the Fall of 2016.

seven to eternity

SURGEON X by Sara Kenney & John Watkiss, James Devlin, & Jared K. Fletcher, edited by Karen Berger 
Writer Sara Kenney and artist John Watkiss come together for an all new series, SURGEON X, and join forces with the award-winning Karen Berger, founding editor of DC’s Vertigo imprint.

Set against the backdrop of an antibiotic apocalypse in near future London. Rosa Scott, a brilliant and obsessive surgeon becomes Surgeon X, a vigilante doctor who uses experimental surgery and black market drugs to treat patients. But as Surgeon X, Rosa soon develops a godlike-complex, deciding who will live and who will die. Ultimately, she believes that to survive in this compromised world her own warped moral code is the one she must follow—even if it endangers those closest to her.

The comic is informed by hundreds of conversations with scientists, physicians, historians, economists, ethicists & philosophers to create this deeply disturbing, yet authentic future world.

SURGEON X was funded by a Society Award from Wellcome Trust, an independent global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. They support bright minds in science, the humanities and the social sciences, as well as education, public engagement and the application of research to medicine.

SURGEON X will launch in Fall 2016.

surgeon x

VS by Ivan Brandon, Esad Ribić, Ive Svorcina, Aditya Bidikar, Tom Muller, edited by Sebastian Girner 
Writer Ivan Brandon (DRIFTER) and Esad Ribić (Secret Wars) team up with colorist Ive Svorcina, letterer Aditya Bidikar, designer Tom Muller, and editor Sebastian Girner for a futurist drama in, VS.

VS follows the rise and fall of Satta Flynn, a wildly popular soldier in a time when War has been privatized and is a form of entertainment.

Armies financed and equipped by super-corporations. War medics that double as Pit Mechanics. Satta’s every move is LIVE on TV. And for the first time, Satta finds out what it’s like to lose.

VS is set to launch in Fall 2016.


WINNEBAGO GRAVEYARD by Steve Niles & Alison Sampson
Writer Steve Niles teams up with artist Alison Sampson, colorist Stéphane Paitreau, and letterer Clem Robins in WINNEBAGO GRAVEYARD.

Sampson used 1970s horror films for inspiration on the artwork and described the book’s overall look as: “about 70% Americana, slightly heightened, like True Blood, and about 30% ripping off of heads.”

A horror-adventure story, WINNEBAGO GRAVEYARD follows a family with a teenage son and what happens when their road-trip goes wrong and they find themselves stuck in a town full of satanists.

WINNEBAGO GRAVEYARD is set to launch in Fall 2017.

winnebago graveyard

Image Comics Announces Creators for Creators

Creators for CreatorsAt Image ComicsImage Expo it wasn’t just new products that were announced, they also announced a new non-profit, Creators for Creators. The goal of the organization is to “encourage, support, and promote original works through grants and education.”

The program will be a combination of financial backing and mentorship. The plan is to give $30,000 to a single cartoonist or a wrister/artist duo to support their creation of original work of between sixty-four and one hundred pages over a single year. A committee will decide the recipient.

The mentorship mentioned will be beyond creation and will cover all aspects of the comic-creating experience to help create a firm foundation when it comes to the creative, business, legal, and financial aspects of the business.

Recipients will retain rights to their works and will not just be supported by Image, but also Iron Circus Comics. The long term goal is to also make the website a resource to educate creators.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and you have until May 1, 2016 to apply. You can learn more here.

The Creators for Creators grant was founded by Charlie Adlard, Jordie Bellaire, David Brothers, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Nick Dragotta, Leila del Duca, Matt Fraction, Kieron Gillen, Jonathan Hickman, Joe Keatinge, Robert Kirkman, Jamie McKelvie, Rick Remender, Declan Shalvey, Fiona Staples, Eric Stephenson, C. Spike Trotman, and Brian K. Vaughan.

Review: Secret Wars #6

secret_wars_vol_1_6_textlessSecret Wars #6 continues the series, with Valeria Richards sacrilegious quest for knowledge. I don’t recognize this as much as I would like to but Valeria has been a real stand out character in the past few years. Her overt child nature makes it easy to over look this, but when you think about it  must be a real burden to bear that kind of intellect at that age.  This is addressed in this issue where in a confrontation with the two Spider Men, she declines the opportunity to discover the source of Doom’s power. This was a powerful moment because the erudite Valeria has always been bold and unfazed in her exploration, this subtle shift and her recognition of the limits of her precociousness was a really nice touch.

There was another interesting scene where the two Reeds (616 and Ultimate version) discuss the logistics of the quest to take out Doom. The two Reeds differ significantly in their respectively in the philosophies, with Ultimate reed taking  a more realist approach and not being above killing. There’s a part that I loved where 616 reed ponders how ultimate Reed could be so callous to which Ultimate reed replies he doesn’t have the burden of a family to tie him down. Those who enjoy the nature vs nurture debate will have a lot mull over with this scene. One of my favourite aspects of alternate universe characters is the opportunity to explore aspects of a character that may not have arisen in their native dimensional upbringing. Ultimate seems to criticize 616 reeds’ ethical and compassionate as unfit for eh task at hand. His final jab  616 reed comes as he informs him about what Doom has done to  his family. This appears to put the fire under Reed to do what is required to stop Doom.

The emerging rebellion begins to boil over  as the prophet rallies the dissenting ranks. Admittedly I have not been following too much of the Secret Wars tie ins, but I suspect that there should be some connective tissue with what’s going on in these panels and some of those tie in issues. Sadly a lot of these tie ins failed to sustain my interest.

We get more insight into the mythos of Battleworld when Sue tells Franklin his bedtime story.  Sue tells of a modified fantastic four origin, where the Human Torch was sacrificed to become the sun of Battleworld. And The thing was made into the massive shield that keeps the dead away from the rest of Battleworld. It is a very touching story highlighting the heroism of both characters featured, however it raises some interesting questions. If Doom acquired for himself a degree of omnipotency, how was it that the circumstances were such that he needed these heroic sacrifices in the first place? To me it seems either strategic, or somewhat vindictive. Doom’s newfound power appears to be tempered by his villiany or perhaps some flaw that defines the limit of his power. The fact that Doom, has exploited or otherwise usurped each member of Reed’s family makes this a very personal attack on Reed and should make for a significant confrontation between the two in the end. This issue made me anticipate that encounter very much.

Story: Johnathan Hickman Art: Esad Ribic
Story 8 Art: 10 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Secret Wars #5

Secret Wars #5 CoverIssue five of Secret Wars, takes place immediately after the death of Sheriff Strange. Godking Doom does his best to explain away the circumstance of his death and reinforce the mythology of Battleword’s founding, however the irreversible consequences still reverberate and those within Doom’s circle of influence are beginning to ask questions most notably Valeria.  To me Valeria has always been an underrated character, mostly because of her youth despite her precocious intellect. We are treated to some of her cosmic sleuthing, as she and her science division investigate what really happened prior to Sheriff Strange’s death.

It has been some time since writer Jonathan Hickman‘s Fantastic Four run, and this issue made me remember Hickman’s brilliance on it. I may have mentioned this elsewhere but Hickman’s plotting is very intricate, whether or not you enjoy this may depend on personal preference and perhaps patience. During Hickman’s FF run I really enjoyed the long form writing, and foreshadowing, but since his Avengers run and beyond, I feel he’s been encroaching the limits of that. With all the intricate plotting and the timeline flash-forwards, it’s kind of hard as a reader to navigate the context. I did follow the recent New Avengers story, but even as one who followed as best as I could, the panel explaining the metaphysical backdrop (presumably a refresher/intro for new readers) was a bit confusing.

Eagle eyed readers and fans of Hickman’s other series will appreciate some notable characters. For example Nostradamus and Dr Tesla make appearances. This was a real treat for me as I was (and still am) a die hard fan of Hickman’s SHIELD series, which if you haven’t already, you need to stop everything and go check it out. The tone of Hickman’s SHIELD is an intricate Dan Brown-esque journey that dives deep into the mythos of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the larger Marvel Universe by extension. The inclusions of these characters is appropriate in this respect as Secret Wars shares much of the motifs of the series.

There’s an underlying theme of knowledge seeking vs heresy, in this issue that really fleshes out the mythos and intrigue of Secret Wars. Again I am reminded other idyllic utopias showcased in the Marvel U that crumbled so quickly with a small inquiry into the truth of matters. Although at times convoluted and a bit dense narrative wise you can really tell that secret wars has been a labor of love for Hickman. I can’t help but respect that, and personally it fuels my own interest as well. The house of cards is slowly beginning to crumble and I am anxiously awaiting to see how this chapter ends, and shapes the future of the new Marvel Universe we have gotten glimpses of already.

Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: Esad Ribic
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation Buy

The New Marvel Universe. Born Out of Africa and Afrofuturism.

SecretWars_009I’m going to warn you, this post has spoilers. If you haven’t read Secret Wars #9, you might want to do that first.

You sure you don’t care about spoilers?

This is your last warning.

Secret Wars #9 hit shelves this week wrapping up Marvel‘s world shaping event as Mr. Fantastic and Doctor Doom battled it out over the fate of existence. Many have focused on Miles Morales’ introduction in to the Marvel 616 (or Marvel Prime, whatever you want to call it). Or they were focused on the future of the Fantastic Four. Maybe they were focused on Doctor Doom’s face?

While all of those things were interesting, I was more focused on the statement writer Jonathan Hickman made, whether on purpose or unintentionally, as to the cradle of humankind (really the whole Marvel 616 Universe) and its future. Hickman anchored both on the shoulders of a man from Africa, the leader of Wakanda, T’Challa, the Black Panther.

The idea of humankind being birthed, evolving out of Africa, is a relatively new one, tracing back to just 1924, less than 100 years ago. In 1871 Charles Darwin said it was “probable” that Africa was the cradle of humans due to the presence of chimpanzees and gorillas, but he also said there was an extinct ape in Europe, which created some doubt. “Speculation was useless.” In the early 20th Century it was thought that humans evolved somewhere in Europe or Asia. It was a fossil discover in 1924 that changed things, and even then that was disputed for some time. What we take for granted as a given today, is something relatively new.

Secret_Wars_#9_Black_Panther_Infinity_GemIn Secret Wars, Doctor Doom has taken god like power and remade existence in his image creating a tough new reality called Battleworld. The miniseries builds up as the remaining heroes rally to stop Doom. Part of that plan is the Black Panther’s wielding of the Infinity Gauntlet and its gems which have the power over strength and durability, time, teleportation, manipulating one’s soul, alters all of reality, and gives psionic/psychic abilities. Doom initially battles Black Panther and Namor, as Reed Richards gets to the heart of Doom’s power, the Molecule Man. Eventually Doom is distracted, fighting Reed Richards, and as the Molecule Man tears the universe apart, T’Challa uses the Reality Gem to create a new reality, a new Marvel Universe. In his actions he brings Miles Morales to this new world, saves “orphans” such as the Squadron Supreme members, places his nemesis Namor back on the throne of Atlantis, and even heals Doom’s face. The world was remade, and remade better, due to the will and wisdom of an African man.

Secret_Wars_#9_Black_Panther_It_WorkedIf there’s any doubt that T’Challa is responsible for the new Marvel Universe, one just needs to read that first panel after he clenches his fist. His words, “it worked,” with the Infinity Gem no longer present, burnt away from its use indicates what has happened, and he’s responsible.

T’Challa could have cast away the Squadron Supreme, punished Namor, left Doom to rot, or forgotten about Miles, one of the few high-profile African-American superheroes in the Marvel universe. Instead he shows compassion and a fatherly touch befitting his noble position and wise ruling.

T’Challa also clearly knows of Doom’s Battleworld, so this new world was formed around him, he’s the center of this new universe. While he was using the gem, this is the world he shapes and wants to start from, this is his vision for the present and future. It’s not just the present Marvel Universe that Hickman and T’Challa gives us. Hickman takes it one step further. He gives us the future and the possibility that the future of the Marvel universe is built upon Afrofuturism.

Afrofuturism is “a literary and cultural aesthetic that combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity, and magic realism with non-Western cosmologies in order to critique not only the present-day dilemmas of people of color, but also to revise, interrogate, and re-examine the historical events of the past.”

Secret_Wars_#9_AfrofuturismIt’s not just interesting to me that T’Challa, an African ruler births humankind (really the whole universe) by shaping reality with the gem, but it’s also his positioning of Wakanda as the center of our future as a civilization. As he says in the panel on the right, “Great societies are crumbling around us. And the old men who run them are out of ideas. So all eyes turn to you our children… to build us something better.”

It’s clear Marvel is centering the character more with a new high profile comic and an upcoming movie with one of the hottest directors in Hollywood. This also comes after Marvel has stumbled a bit, especially when it comes to inclusion of African-Americans with their All-New, All-Different Marvel launch that has been overwhelmingly male and white when it comes to creators, was accused of cultural appropriation, and according to data may lag in African-American fans.

Secret_Wars_#9_Alpha_FlightIn the few months since the launch of All-New, All-Different Marvel, we’ve seen subtlety that Wakanda plays a major role now in the Marvel Universe. In The Ultimates it was clear there was something big going on, but we’re never really explained exactly what.

It’s laid out clear in Secret Wars #9 that humankind’s future is being built on Wakandan technology. That the new space operation, Alpha Flight, is Wakanda’s project. That it’s Wakandan science fueling it all, especially our expansion in space. Step by step.

Technology is addressed, diaspora is addressed, and done so through science fiction and magical realism. It even addresses Wakanda’s past briefly. In Marvel’s past, it was Tony Stark, and Stark Industries/Enterprises that drove the world’s future, fueling every day technology up to the funding of the Avengers. Now we have a new focus, a new history, a new leader to guide the Marvel Universe, and he’s African. The shift is undeniable, and a bold start for 2016.

Here’s hoping the company sees the groundwork laid out by Hickman, and like T’Challa, uses wisdom to build a brighter future.

Review: Secret Wars #9

SecretWars_009Battleworld teeters on the brink. What will become of this strange patchwork planet? Who lives? Who dies?

Much delayed, and somewhat tarnished with mess up plans, Secret Wars #9 finally hits shelves. Even with that slight tarnish, and the delay, this issue is easily the best finale to a Marvel event in quite some time, and would have been an amazing beginning to a new Marvel Universe.

Written by Jonathan Hickman, with art by Esad Ribic, this oversized issue does a fantastic job at taking a lot of those puzzle pieces we’ve been pondering since the launch of All-New, All-Different Marvel, and making it clear how they fit together.

How did the Marvel Universe get reborn? Why did Miles Morales survive, and what’s happened to his parents? What about the Fantastic Four? How did Doom get transformed? It’s all answered here.

Most of it is exciting, since it’s things we don’t know, and haven’t been spoiled. And even having Doom’s status spoiled, there’s still a subtle aspect to it that still makes it a nice payoff. The battles feel epic, though very scaled down, and Hickman builds to the eventual explosion and rebirth in a controlled way that’s masterful.

Genesis is the word Marvel uses, and there’s something about that genesis, and who’s behind it, that I find fascinating in many ways. It’s something that has me really focused on a particular character’s role and it’s historical implications. Whether that’s on purpose by Hickman or not, I don’t know, but it’s something to discuss.

Esad Ribic’s art is amazing as expected. There’s some jaw dropping visuals here, and the use of white and emptiness is solid. The story was good, the art is more amazing.

I’m sure folks will love or hate this comic. But, it does a fantastic job at wrapping things up, and sets a lot of characters on to their next adventures. It also wraps up Hickman’s impressive run that began so long ago with some huge ideas. This is the culmination of that, and Hickman gives us a Fantastic Four that feels like Marvel’s First Family. I’m excited to see what’s next for them.

The issue was delayed, but it’s worth the wait. Hickman brings together years of ideas and stories, and launches into many decades more to come.

Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: Esad Ribic
Story: 9 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

The Final Battle Begins in Secret Wars #8!

It’s the story that has the world talking. The biggest Marvel event of all time. And it’s rocketing toward it’s cataclysmic conclusion. Marvel is pleased to present Alex Ross’ stunning cover to Secret Wars #8 – the epic, penultimate issue of the blockbuster event! Creators Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic march toward the end of their grand saga as the final battle against God Doom rages on! Battleworld teeters on the brink. The Shield has fallen. Armies march on Doomstadt. As Battleworld gives way to a new Marvel Universe…no one will come out the other side unscathed, if they come out at all. Who lives? Who dies? Find out when the penultimate chapter comes to comic shops!

SECRET WARS #8 (AUG150653)
Cover by ALEX ROSS
FOC – 11/09/15, On-Sale – 12/09/15


NYCC 2015: IDW Announces Transformers: All Hail Optimus

Coming in February, Transformers #50 will see Optimus Prime will declare Earth to be a part of Cybertron’s Council of Worlds—and the Decepticons and the people of Earth won’t take it lying down! The story starts here, but the repercussions will last forever. Transformers fan-favorites John Barber and Andrew Griffith continue their acclaimed run, with celebratory covers by Jonathan HickmanMike ChoiAndrew GriffithCasey W. Coller and a retailer incentive cover by Alex Milne.

Transformers All Hail Optimus

Secret Wars #9, the Event Just Got Bigger

It’s the story that has the whole world on the edge of its seat. The biggest Marvel event of all time. The story that destroyed the Marvel Universe. And if you thought it couldn’t get bigger – you thought wrong. Marvel has announced the expansion of the much delayed blockbuster Secret Wars event with Secret Wars #9 – coming to comic shops later this year!

Chartbusting creators Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic will extend their stay on Battleworld for one more epic issue. Allowing their cataclysmic story to wrap up as intended, this additional issue will bring Secret Wars to its explosive conclusion. Paving the way for the future, be there for the genesis of the All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe.

Like the original Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars, some of those puzzle pieces will hit the Marvel Universe before the event concludes. But if you want to see how they all fit together, you don’t want to miss these last few issues.

Battleworld teeters on the brink. What will become of this strange patchwork planet? Who lives? Who dies? One thing is for certain – nobody will come back from Battleworld the same after SECRET WARS #9 this December!

Cover by ALEX ROSS
On Sale in December!


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