Yep, all five (5) of them. Marvel told the fans they were going to start with more $2.99 and they have delivered, five-fold. Come 2011, you can have your Cap, Wolvie, Hawkeye, more Wolvie, and, ah…Arcade for just $2.99 an issue. Are you happy yet? Are you not entertained? Well, maybe not, but Marvel are telling us to put our collective fanlad money where our big fat mouths are and if these are supported then more may follow. Let’s have a look at the five titles and see what’s worth buying, I know I’m definitely in for one of them.
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Art by a rotating cast including Sergio Cariello, Tom Scioli, Phil Winslade, Kyle Hotz, Harvey Talibao
“From the dark days of World War II to the Heroic Age, witness the brutal battle between Captain America and the immortal evil known as Hydra! How far back has the gruesome group been killing its way to capture the secrets of eternal life? What can Steve Rogers do to halt its sinister spread – when the horrific hordes of the undead rise to stop him? … guest-starring The Falcon, Black Panther, Nomad, Nick Fury and The Avengers!”
This comic had me at HYDRA! I love me some HYDRA but then seeing this comic has a roving list of artists to capture the different art periods of the comic just makes me more intrigued. Seeing Scioli’s take on it all would be worth the price of admission alone. I think this one sounds pretty cool and I am definitely putting my money behind it; I’ve even already ordered it through my LCS, did it weeks ago.
Wolverine and Jubilee – 4 Issue Mini
Written by Kathryn Immonen
Art by Phil Noto
“STRAIGHT OUT OF THE PAGES OF X-MEN AND RIGHT INTO THE JUGULAR! Jubilee is about as far away from the ideal X-Man as it is possible for a 17-year-old minty fresh vampire to be. While the X-Men try to find a way to give her as normal a life as is inhumanly feasible, her decidedly abnormal vampire cravings will not be denied. Between that and her newfound powers, she’s winning the fights but not the popularity contests among most of the other X-Kids. Most...but not all. And just when Jubilee starts to think that there is no place for her anywhere, a group of vampire women make her an offer she can't refuse. It seems like the perfect solution…unless Wolverine has anything to say about it!”
I’ve heard of this Kathryn Immonen person, and every time I hear of her it’s usually with fanlad squees behind it. Here’s an opportunity to see her write two, different, characters that she would most likely have a good voice for. This series seems to be a cool little title and hopefully people will see past the Wolvie saturation and dip their toes in. Would be a shame to see this one missed. I don’t want to hear people complain about the vampire aspect, they should take this one on the creative team being presented.
Hawkeye: Blind Spot – 4 Issue Mini
Written by Jim McCann
Art by TBA
“Get it here: the past, present and future of the world’s greatest archer set to star in the upcomingMarvel Studios’ The Avengers movie! Hawkeye is left blindsided after the events of WIDOWMAKER, with a new vision of the world around him and, in order to move forward with his new life, he must first re-examine how it all began. All new era for the Avenging Archer begins here, as writer Jim McCann (Widowmaker, Return Of The Dapper Men) brings you a Clint Barton you’ve never seen before.!”
McCann was the scribe on Hawkeye & Mockingbird and that seemed to get good reviews, though it was already priced at #2.99. I’m not sure if the grand reviews on that title only started after the decision to can it came down. Let’s hope not and let’s see some reviewers who loved this series jump on now that their favourite archer is back and ready to bring the noise. McCann has proven he gets this character, and loves him, so this should be a whole mess of fun.
Arcade: Death Game – 3 Issue Mini
Written by Paul Tobin
Art by David Baldeon
“When the strange and deadly Arcade decides to rebuild his ruined reputation, he sets his sights on the members of the Avengers Academy and the Young Allies. But when one of his teenage victims escapes, is it a setback for Arcade, or all part of his master plan to turn the entirety of New York into...Murderworld? DEATH GAME starts here!”
An Arcade comic might not be the best addition to test any sort of consumerist numbers. He’s barely a sell as a back up villain but they’ve made him the lead here so maybe it will all work out. The real stars of this comic seem to be the Avengers Academy and the Young Allies. Two youthful groups who have/had their own titles and I seem to remember reviewers loving Young Allies before it got the can so they should be all over this title (not to call them out too bluntly). This sounds interesting, I’ll give it that much.
5 Ronin – 5 Issue Mini
Written by Peter Milligan
Art by a rotating cast including Tomm Coker, Dalibor Talajic, Laurence Campbell, Goran Parlov, Leandro Fernandez
There is no official solicitation on this comic as it ships through March but it is about Wolverine, Psylocke, the Punisher, Hulk, and Deadpool being set in the era of feudal Japan. This is a massive samurai epic and all of its cast will be seeking revenge for something.
I have to admit, this one might surprise some people. It actually sounds pretty good and could very well be worth the investment of some money. It’s a cool collection of lethal characters and it’s an intriguing idea.
This initiative is only going to have any effect on future comic prices if we all man up and actually make the orders. And if we don’t order in advance then the numbers won’t get to Marvel and they might not push forward with this sort of thing ever again.
It feels a little weird that Marvel say they’re willing to give us a shot at seeing how the lower priced comic go but then don’t give us any of the top selling stuff. We get Wolverine, sure, and even a little Deadpool but I’m talking about the real heavy hitters. Where’s the Avengers (and their Academy doesn’t really count as its sales are a far cry from the main titles)? Where’s some Spider-Man? Marvel expects us to see a great rise in sales just because of the price, but never mind they’re throwing yet another, of the many, Cap titles in lead up to the movie. Jubilee has never been a big seller, nor has Arcade! Young Allies just got themselves cancelled and so did Hawkeye.
This feels like Marvel possibility setting us all up to play to their expected tune. Once that happens then they can easily show us graphs and numbers of how they were right and $3.99 titles sell better. I can see it already and it’s kind of frustrating. Of course the more expensive titles sell better, they’re the ones with the big name characters and top tier talent. And more importantly, those are the titles that count, the ones that matter. Minis off to the side are rarely going to challenge the big stuff.
It’s interesting that Marvel hasn’t made a bigger deal of the titles they do have at $2.99 already like most of Jonathan Hickman’s work (FF, Secret Warriors, S.H.I.E.L.D.). I suppose it might look funny to scream about what they already and always had when the fan problem is in the majority of titles that are $3.99, of which Marvel has plenty.
In the end, it just feels off that DC announced a line-wide drop to $2.99 (with content modifications) and Marvel tried to match it and now they’re touting 5 titles. This is a small percentage of the monthly output the House of Ideas usually give us. I’m still happy they have listened to the noise and let us know they are concerned, that’s nice, but this better not be a one-off initiative and when it doesn’t go gangbusters, and it won’t, then they throw up their hands and tell us it’s our faults. We voted with our wallets and we want more expensive comics. That’s a cheap shot…if it works out that way. I shouldn’t put too many words into the mouths of other people.
Perhaps we don’t need these titles to be top sellers. We just need them to do well so we need to all get behind the ones we like. I’ll be getting my HYDRA fix on, what will you be buying? I think there are definitely some good stories coming through in this initiative so let’s hope you get behind it to show Marvel we want more lower priced comic, especially the minis which are notoriously poor value for just 3-5 issues. If you like Cap, Wolverine, Jubilee, Arcade, Avengers Academy, Young Allies, Hawkeye, Deadpool, Hulk, Punisher, or Psylocke then surely there’s something here for you. Get to your LCS and get your order in. I already have.