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Comics 411 03.26.14: Favorite Marvel Superhero Team Edition!
Posted by Steve Gustafson on 03.26.2014


















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Welcome back to the Comics 411! My name is Steve Gustafson and this is a corner of 411mania reserved for those interested in talking comics! As always, I want to thank everyone who took a few minutes to read and comment last week. Check out my Hollywood gossip (and anything else!) Hollywood 5 & 1 and my weekend movie recap The Big Screen Bulletin!

I'm bringing the Spike and Mike's Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation to DC! Presented by Spike & Mike on Thursday, April 10 at 7:30 PM at AMC Loews Georgetown 14 & IMAX (3111 K St NW, Washington, DC, 20007). Tickets are only $10.00 so if you live in the area, come on out and have a great time! Grab your tickets HERE!

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I don't know what to say about this.

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COVER VS COVER!


It's real simple, each week I'll take two covers and you vote on your favorite. Some weeks the covers will be random, some will be themed, some will be classic, and some will be ones you've never seem. Have fun with it.

Last week I put two Black Panther covers. One was old school, one was new school. Which one stood out to you?

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The results came down to this:

Old School 51.28%
New School 48.72%


This poll went back and forth but Old School Black Panther cover inched out the win! I admit that I liked the Old School cover better. Something about the over-the-top headlines and action. This week we celebrate the WTF covers. Comic books have a rich history of supplying covers that make you scratch your head and wonder what was going on with the artist. Take these two covers: Lois Lane as...Cinderella. Superman looking all creeper. What if this was your first exposure to comic books? Then you have Batman and Robin talking about...fashion. Not sure. Which one is more WTF to you?

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READER ROUNDTABLE


Last week was all about Comic Book Doppelgangers. Here's the list and the voting results:

Venom (Spider-Man) 46.33%
Bizarro (Superman) 14.05%
Sabretooth (Wolverine) 12.91%
Sinestro (Green Lantern) 11.52%
Black Adam (Captain Marvel) 8.48%
Professor Zoom (Flash) 3.8%
Abomination (Hulk) 2%
Vengeance (Ghost Rider) 0.51%


Whoa! I thought Sabretooth would have taken this one by a thin margin over Venom. I was way off on that! Venom easily nabs this one with Bizarro making a respectable showing at second. Another surprise was how well Sinestro did. Here's what you all had to say:

APrince66: "Gotta say Venom/Spidey. Mainly because Spidey is an all time favorite, and as soon as Venom was introduced, he became one of my favorite villains. They just go hand in hand. Would Carnage actually fit and actually make it a threesome?"

Boy of Steel: "I'd have to go with Bizarro. He's the doppleganger of dopplegangers. In most versions of the character he's either a weird creation of Superman that's "off" or a clone that, due to Superman's Kryptonian DNA, doesn't quite work out right, with lower intelligence, some physical imperfections (the chalky skin), and stronger powers (but he doesn't realize it). That's damn cool.

This may seem nerdy, but if anyone wants to see a great version of Bizarro, get the second season of the Superboy TV series from the late '80s/early '90s. Yeah, it might be very cheesy in some parts but it's one of the best superhero TV series out there, and it's portrayal of Bizarro is terrific. Gerard Christopher's Superboy is pretty awesome too."

Michael L: "I liked the version o fBizarro that was around briefly in the early 90's as a clone project of Lex Luthor. That version was particularly interesting because he was played as more of a tragic figure than anything else---someone who was only created to help save Luthor's life (as Luthor had essentially cloned himself as his illegitimate son then faked his death). However, Bizarro truly believed he was Superman, but couldn't quite get anything right because of the brain damage due to the imperfect cloning process."

lorddarias: "No mention of Merlyn or doesn't he count because he actually came before Green Arrow as Green Arrow modeled his gimmick after him...?"

Shads: "I know in my heart that Bizzaro is closer to the dictionary definition of doppleganger but I chose Venom anyway. Zaro ha had many incarnations and treatments but I've never really felt they've had the same messed up relation that say Sabretooth and Wolvie or Venom and Spidey have. The symbiote is a jilted lover I was going to say for all intents and purposes but no it's straight up a jilted lover. It thought it was building a life with Pete then when he saw it as a toxic relationship he left it. Since then it has found anyone with a grudge towards him and amped it up. Yet it STILL really wants to be bonded with him and given the chance will instantly dump whomever it is with. That makes the thing creepy. and since it can go to anyone it could try to make any human on the planet into an enemy of Spider-man"

Rey Henry: "you're welcome.
here are a few others:
iron monger (iron man)
major force (capt atom)
deadshot, azrael, hush, man-bat (batman)
gen. zod, doomsday (superman)
ocean master (aquaman)"

CyberVenom: "Here's my top ten. I love this topic!

HM: Kid Marvelman (Marvelman)
10. Zombie Fantastic Four (Ultimate Fantastic Four)
9. Carnage (Venom)
8. Prometheus (Batman)
7. Zoom (Flash)
6. Sinestro (Green Lantern)
5. Sabretooth (Wolverine)
4. Black Adam (Captain Label)
3. Bizarro (Superman)
2. Crime Syndicate of America (JLA)
1. Venom (Spider-Man)"

Craig L: "It's between Bizarro and Venom.

Bizarro is a unique character but from what I've seen/know he's a bit of a one trick pony.

Venom on the other hand is Spider-Man without the moral compass. He used to be a twisted reflection of Spidey. A lethal protector. Plus the character has the bonus of being able to jump from host to host which makes him instantly more dynamic."

armchair theologian: "Sinestro. I feel he does the best of showing how the powers/characteristics of the doppelganger can truly be used for evil. Bizarro: too dumb. Many of the others: too obsessed with killing their doppelganger. That's their only purpose. Sinestro is a legit villain in his own right, and is one of the few things I find interesting about the GL mythos at all."


Another week of excellent insight! Always appreciated! This week we're jumping over to Superhero Teams! Specifically, Marvel superhero teams. I'm pretty sure this will be a two horse race but will throw some others in the mix to make it interesting. I'm not asking who the BEST is, but which team is your FAVORITE! I'm not specifying any team memberships, I'll leave that for you at the bottom.

Fantastic Four
This team has been around since 1961. To most of us, the Fantastic Four, who gained superpowers after exposure to cosmic rays during a scientific mission to outer space, are: Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards), a scientific genius and the leader of the group, who can stretch his body into incredible lengths and shapes; the Invisible Woman (Susan "Sue" Storm), who eventually married Reed, who can render herself invisible and later project powerful force fields; the Human Torch (Johnny Storm), Sue's younger brother, who can generate flames, surround himself with them and fly; and the monstrous Thing (Ben Grimm), their grumpy but benevolent friend, a former college football star and Reed's college roommate as well as a good pilot, who possesses superhuman strength and endurance due to the nature of his stone-like flesh. They've mainly been portrayed as a somewhat dysfunctional, yet loving, family.

The Avengers
They are called Earth's Mightiest Heroes! The Avengers originally consisted of Iron Man, Ant-Man, the Wasp, Thor, and the Hulk. Captain America was discovered, trapped in ice (issue #4), and joined the group after they revived him. A rotating roster became a hallmark, although one theme remained consistent: the Avengers fight "the foes no single superhero can withstand." The team, famous for its battle cry of "Avengers Assemble!", has featured humans, mutants, robots, aliens, supernatural beings, and even former villains.

X-Men
The basic concept of the X-Men is that under a cloud of increasing anti-mutant sentiment, Professor Xavier created a haven at his Westchester mansion to train young mutants to use their powers for the benefit of humanity, and to prove mutants can be heroes. Xavier recruited Cyclops, Iceman,Angel, Beast, and Marvel Girl, calling them "X-Men" because they possess special powers due to their possession of the "X-gene," a gene which normal humans lack and which gives mutants their abilities.

Guardians of the Galaxy
OK. This one is tough with the new fans who just know of the movie and the old school comic fans. The short story: The Guardians of the Galaxy is a group of heroes who opposed the Phalanx conquest of the Kree system (and many who had opposed Annihilus'incursion into their universe), and banded together in an attempt to prevent any further catastrophes from ever occurring. I'll leave it at that.

The Defenders
This "non-team" of individualistic "outsiders," follow their own agendas. The team usually battled mystic and supernatural threats. Its original incarnation was led by Doctor Strange and included the Hulk, Namor, and, eventually, the Silver Surfer.

New Warriors
These young adults made a big splash in 1989! Consisting of the young superheroes Firestar, Marvel Boy, Namorita, Nova and Speedball, all of whom were once featured in solo series or were supporting characters, they added Night Thrasher, an original character to serve as the team's founder and leader, to the mix.

Alpha Flight
The group from Canada.

OK, vote and comment. I'm betting this comes down to the Avengers and X-Men but who knows? Go ahead and list some other teams that warm your heart!

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REVIEWS!


Do YOU want to be a reviewer for COMICS 411? Send me an email at stevethegoose@gmail.com to find out how! Take it away, RobF, Rob Bonnette, and Kye Brown!

Daredevil #1

By RobF


In the spirit of reviewing #1 issues this week we have the highly anticipated Daredevil. Mark Waid and Chris Samnee have moved Hell's Kitchen's favorite son to San Francisco and continued a revival of a once maligned character. While established readers will find that this is a continuation of what came before, new readers will find this to be a very easy jumping-on point for the Man Without Fear.

The issue starts quickly with Waid wasting no time throwing readers into the new setting and problems that now make up Matt Murdock's life in San Francisco. We see Murdock in his new role as a consultant for the police when a little girl is kidnapped. The race is on to save her but there are several obstacles in his way beside the bad guys. DD knows the city of New York better than anyone but in San Francisco Matt is quite literally flying blind. The layout of the city is unfamiliar, and the buildings are too far apart. All of this makes the chase even more entertaining. Another complication is his new law partner Karen McDuffie who takes on an Oracle-like role in helping him around the city via radio. His reliance on her council almost ends in tragedy but in the end the girl is saved. All of these things add to the joyride that is DD #1

Samnee's artwork is a real gem here. The challenge of illustrating a blind man's view of the world is great and he meets the challenge perfectly. It's one of the better portrayals of how he ‘sees' that I think I've seen. The art and storytelling is a welcome throwback to the golden age of comics.

I enjoyed Daredevil more than I ever thought I would. I don't think I missed a thing by not reading previous arcs and I look forward to the next issue.

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Black Widow # 1

By Rob Bonnette


For those unfamiliar, Black Widow is one of the secondary members of the Avengers. She's a master spy/assassin who doesn't have any super powers. This particular series deals with her adventures/missions that take place while she's not working with the Avengers or as a SHIELD operative. The antagonists are not arch-villains like Galactus or Thanos, but terrorists, paramilitary minions of various warlords, kidnappers, etc. There also does not appear, at least in the first few issues, to be any kind of Big Bad down the road for her to contend with. We're only four issues in, so that could change quickly. The character has had her own series before, and has been featured as a supporting character for a long time now. My guess would be that there's a heightened interest thanks to Scarlett Johanson's portrayal in the Avengers related films (Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Captain America: Winter Soldier) which led Marvel to try out another stand alone series . All in all, if you like comics and want a departure from Thor, Iron Man, and the X-men this is a good way to go.

Issue 1 serves as an introduction but not an origin story. Widow narrates the story as it goes along, which helps fill in a lot of details. It starts with her on a job, what appears a rescue of a bad guy from worse guys but quickly turns into something else for the would be rescue; the job itself serves as a demonstration of all the things she works with: deception, disguise, fighting, etc. The way she talks her subject down into coming with her and the surprise she springs on him at the end of it are as surprising to the reader as to the man in danger. The issue then finds her returning to her modest living conditions and lining up her next gig with her manager/handler; it's here that we learn about her real motivations to doing these freelance jobs in between stints helping save the world. From there it's off to her second and final job of the issue, more of a straightforward rescue than the last but not without its own small twist, and then it's back home where we get some more insight into her life outside of work. Altogether it's a good opening issue in my opinion; we need an good introduction to what the character is about and what the series will entail. This does that well, while leaving room to answer more questions later. The character, through her narration, expounds on how she strives to keep away from attachments and that she's doing these jobs as atonement for some evil deeds she committed before. Over the course of the series we will hopefully get some situations that address those matters more fully.

The artwork is not flashy; it's a very toned down style devoid of bright colors. I'm not particularly fond of the current Marvel style but here I think it serves well since we are not dealing with someone who is flying through space and hurling energy bolts at her enemies. All in all, I consider this a good series for people who are interested in the character and want to see her in action outside of the occasional time she gets in an Avengers comic the supporting role she gets in the movies.

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Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Vol. 2

by Kye Brown


Hey there, peeps. I'm Kye Brown. Many of you may know me in the comments as Kyatollah. If you know that, then you know I love comics and comic book movies. There may be two or 3 I haven't seen since X-Men came out. I try to keep up with the books, but I tend to find it easier to pick up the trades. But whether in a single issue or a collection, a good story is a good story. That's what I'm here to talk about.

As Marvel's flagship hero, Spider-Man has been in the pop culture sphere for half a century now, but some of the most interesting developments in his history have come down in the last five years or so. The decision to shift from Sam Raimi's film series to the current one helmed by Marc Webb; the takeover of his identity and life by longtime nemesis Doctor Octopus; the controversy over his animated appearances in Spectacular Spider-Man, Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes and Ultimate Spider-Man… all of these are talking points for fans of the Web-Slinger. However, none of them have had the impact, the attention or the decidedly polarized reaction as the one that boils down to 2 words:

MILES MORALES.

From his creation, the successor to Peter Parker has been a lightning rod of both adoration and scorn. Killing a superhero is usually seen as a sales-spiking stunt, a'la Superman or Captain America, but as death in Marvel's Ultimate Universe tend to be permanent, and Peter Parker had cheated the Reaper at least twice, this turned out to be the high school hero's curtain call. In his wake, we were given a glimpse of the future of Ultimate Spider-Man. A new hero had taken up the webbed mantle, and when we were shown his face, it was dark in complexion. The thought of a Black and Latino Spidey was mind-blowing, for better or worse, depending on who you asked. Some saw it as a progressive take-that to the status quo of mainstream funny books, while others saw it as a spit in the eye of a character's legacy, but for a lot of people, Spider-Man had once again defied the rules of what you can't do in comics. There are still haters out there, but Miles has been embraced by a lot of people, and kept goodwill for Spider-Man going through some trying times for the character. There have even been rumors of transitioning the films from Peter's story to Miles' at some point, and as much love as I have for Peter, I would scale the Sears Tower to see that. So, with 2014 boasting the return of Peter in the 616 Marvel Universe and the movies in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," as well as the upcoming relaunch of our new Webhead's book in "Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man," I thought we could take a look back at the first collected volume in this new chapter of Spider-Man history.

Summary: Miles Morales is a 13-year-old boy living in Brooklyn with his mother Rio and his father Jefferson. He wins a lottery drawing for one of three spots in a charter school, the Brooklyn Visions Academy. Later he goes to visit his uncle, Aaron Davis (unknown to him, the Ultimate Universe's version of the Prowler) and hang out. Fresh off a burglary of the abandoned Oscorp facilities, he unknowingly brought back more than cash and tech in his duffel bag: a spider marked "42" climbs out and bites Miles, who passes out. Coming two and witnessing a fight between his father and uncle, long estranged from each other, Miles freaks out and runs away, discovering some new powers and fearing that he is a mutant (the one thing besides Uncle Aaron that his father hates.) Spilling his guts to his best friend Ganke, who suggests that he may have more in common with Spider-Man than mutants, Miles is horrified that his friend might be right. After rescuing a woman and girl from a burning apartment building, Miles rejects the life of a hero and leaves it to the original Spider-Man. That and his idea of a normal experience at the Academy are shattered when an emergency drill reveals Spidey has been shot in the middle of a "superhero war zone." Miles sneaks out and gets to Forest Hills just in time to see the hero die and learn his name from a heartbroken Gwen Stacy. Guilt ridden for rejecting his powers when he could possibly have helped Peter survive his last battle, Miles attends Peter's funeral, asking Gwen why he fought. One "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility" later, Miles is suited up in a Spider-Man Halloween costume, taking on the likes of Kangaroo, Spider-Woman and Electro while drawing the notice of SHIELD, the Ultimates and the general(ly offended) public.

The first thing that is apparent upon reading this arc is that Miles Morales is at once a different kid from Peter Parker and similar enough to not hate for taking up the mantle of Spider-Man. In fact, the reasons he rejects the call to heroism at first are more than understandable, and we are still given plenty of reasons to like him. It's an adolescent fantast for many to want to have superpowers, but the reality of it freaks Miles out more than a little, and for very real reasons. We know he'll put on the suit by the end of the book, but we want him to WANT to put on the suit. And while we don't put him squarely in the hero column initially, he shows an honest empathy that marks him for something special, from the boldness of scaling a burning building to save innocent people with no disguise whatsoever, to the simple discomfort with the lottery process and trying to keep a relationship with his black sheep uncle.

I also love the paced escalation of this arc, as it reminds me of the first half of the original movie. It's a slow burn getting Miles in the suit and pulling heroic deeds, and it's not without its' pitfalls, much like it was with Peter. (Speaking of which, the nods to USM vol. 1 are very well done, as was the interweaving of the Death of Spider-Man story, both making me want to see Miles cross paths with the Green Goblin soon.)

One great thing about having a new Spider-Man is getting to see a new supporting cast of characters. Both Jefferson Davis and Rio Morales are well-written, even though we don't see much of the latter in this arc. Miles' best bud Ganke is a joy to read, even if I'm still not clear on how to pronounce his name. Aaron (Ultimate Prowler) is an interesting flip on the dynamic of Peter and Ben, and it only gets better from here. And we also get the intro of Dr. Conrad Marcus sets the stage for a new take on a classic Spidey villain I won't spoil here. Some mainstays of the Spider-Man mythos help solidify the new take, and lay the foundation for one of the best superhero successor sagas in comics history.

If I have to have nitpicks, they would be the following: after the third or fourth time we hear the line about Miles' costume being in bad taste, the joke has been exhausted (by the time Nick Fury says it, I find myself groaning.) Also, of all characters for Miles to debut against… the Kangaroo? Is there a joke I'm missing here? That and the lack of Miles' mother after the first issue are about all I can say against it, but they do keep the story from being perfect, if any story ever truly is.

As for the art… BREATHTAKING. Sara Pichelli handles these panels like a heavyweight, helping to add a distinct vision from Bendis' work with the legendary Mark Bagley, without being wholly unfriendly to it. There's a polish and yet a bit of grit, reminiscent of Bryan Hitch's work on the first two volumes of The Ultimates. That cinematic quality gives the story that added flair to set it apart, and by the time we first see Miles in HIS suit, my eyes are begging for more. With assists from David Messina and Justin Ponsor, and Kaare Andrews on cover duty, this is one of the best looking comic books I've seen in quite some time.

All in all, the first arc of Miles Morales' tenure as Ultimate Spider-Man is a strong one. I have the next three trades, all but one issue of the "Spider-Man No More" arc, and every issue of the Spider-Men crossover (I'm waiting for the Cataclysm trades to catch up there,) but I will be following Miles for the long haul. Bendis and Co. impressed me, as I was one of the least receptive to the announcement of the Death of Spider-Man. But Peter went out like a true hero, and thanks to this first arc, Miles came in like one.

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NEWS


Ultimate FF! I don't know why I'm still drawn to the Ultimate Universe? Maybe I'm still waiting for them to realize the potential they have with it. Here's the Press Release Marvel released for Ultimate FF #1:

"This April, witness the birth of a new team of super geniuses the likes of which the Ultimate Universe has never seen in ULTIMATE FF #1 – a mind-bending new series from blockbuster writer Joshua Hale Fialkov and artist Mario Guevara!

"Though they survived the cataclysm, the Earth lay in ruins. And though Galactus and his Gah Lak Tus swarm was defeated – the Ultimate Universe is breaking apart, and fast. The world's greatest minds – Sue Storm, Tony Stark, Sam Wilson and Machine Man must bandtogether to solve problems too big to tackle alone.

"As the new and improved Future Foundation, they are all that stands between us and cosmic level threats that would see the entire universe extinguished.

"But world ending threats are not their only problem! And old foe has returned…and he's joining their team?! Doctor Doom has resurfaced, and he is their only hope to stop the oncoming destruction! But what is Doom's true agenda? And will the FF uncover it before it's too late?

"Don't miss the blockbuster first outing of a new team for a new era. The stakes have never been higher this April in ULTIMATE FF #1!"


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Marvel NOW! If you've been paying attention, you'll notice Marvel Comics likes the term marketing "All-New" and "Marvel NOW!" They have recently announced a number of Diamond sell-outs/second printings over the last several months and that doesn't look to be stopping anytime soon. Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso and Senior VP, Sales & Marketing David Gabriel spoke about their ‘All-New Marvel NOW!' initiative and here are the highlights:

On the appeal of "Marvel NOW!": David Gabriel: "It sends a loud and clear message to fans and retailers that this is something new and worth getting excited about. Whether it's an existing title that made the jump into ‘All-New Marvel NOW!' or completely new titles like Ms. Marvel,All-New Ghost Rider, and Magneto – it tells you that between our covers is a comic that's unlike anything else on the stands. Calling it anything but ‘All-New' would have been a disservice. ‘Marvel NOW! 2' would've sounded like something less or a derivative of the original ‘Marvel NOW!'"

On the power of brands: Gabriel: "We haven't seen many second printings since the start of the first ‘Marvel NOW!' To me, it's less about the brands and more about the strong creative teams Axel and Editorial have put together. With ‘All-New Marvel NOW!,' there was a greater focus on second-tier characters like Captain Marvel, Moon Knight, etc. and new characters like Ms. Marvel. Each title is unique and brings its own voice to the market and the second printings prove that. Since we started ‘All-New Marvel NOW!' we've had nearly 50 second printings in less than three months. To us, that shows the supply isn't meeting the demand. Fans want these books, and they're going in to comic shops to get them. Retailers aren't ordering enough copies to keep them on the shelves."

On surprise successful titles: Gabriel: "Matt Fraction's Hawkeye was definitely an eye-opener. It proved to us that there's a place in traditional superhero comics for titles that are bold, different, and offer something unique. The demand for that book has been huge, and continues to be huge. With ‘All-New Marvel NOW!,' we took a look at that appeal, and took some chances on books that might not be what you'd expect – and we're very happy with the results. Alonso: The success of Hawkeye just confirms my belief that it's all about finding a creative team that has something compelling to say through a character or characters. It was because we thought outside the box in terms of casting, branding – everything – that we ended up with this series. That's the lesson we've learned."

On the use of ‘#1' issues: Gabriel: "Three years ago, before we launched ‘Marvel NOW!', we noticed a lethargy in the industry. It needed something new. Something to get fans excited. Editorial really put their nose to the grindstone and tasked creators to come up with the best possible stories they could. With ‘All-New Marvel NOW!' we wanted to bring that same level of quality, but hone in on some different areas of the Marvel Universe and take some new chances."

Alonso: "Exactly. ‘Marvel NOW!' was a line-wide game of musical chairs amongst our top titles and talent that provided a door into the Marvel Universe for new readers, and a breath of fresh air to old ones. ‘All-New Marvel NOW!' created new doors into that universe through exciting new titles and talent. It added to the line."

On why Marvel is renumbering/launching titles so frequently compared to the past: Gabriel: "We actually spent a lot of time talking about this at our last editorial retreat. People consume their content much differently these days than in the past. Renumbering titles offers us an opportunity to provide readers with an easily digestible chunk of content, not unlike a season of a television show. Renumbering has its critics, but at end of the day we're much more focused on making good stories than where they fit in a longbox. If you look at the numbers, books sell better after a relaunch. And even if the numbers eventually settle back to where they were after a year or two – that's still 2 years of retailers selling more copies and 2 years of more Marvel comics in the hands of fans.

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New DC! DC Comics announced a new series at the DCE Retailer Roadshow, set to debut in July, Star-Spangled War Stories. The series will come form writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, who also co-write All-Star Western, hoping to bring their success with genres outside the regular superhero story to the war. The series will star "G.I. Zombie," a character who fights for his country throughout war after war. He'll be fighting domestic terror in what sounds like a modern day story. No art was released yet, but Scott Hampton will provide for the series.

Palmiotti and his other writing partner, Amanda Conner, will also release an annual-style one-shot for their ongoing Harley Quinn series called Harley Quinn Invades San Diego Comic-Con, also in July. No details were released, but we assume it involves Harley Quinn going to San Diego Comic-Con, officially known as Comic-Con International: San Diego. No artist was announced for the one-shot.

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Flash! Robert Venditti and Van Jensen, the new writers on The Flash, say that although the newly introduced Wally West will "surprise people," it's not "surprise for the sake of surprise." Describing their approach to their run, Jensen and Venditti promised a renewed focus on Barry Allen's detective work as part of the Central City Police Department's crime lab, as well as the "middle-America" elements of The Flash. Here are some highlights from an interview they did on Newsarama:

On the appeal of The Flash: Venditti: "For me, much like a lot of the characters that I've worked on in comics, I didn't grow up reading comics. I don't have a deep background reading them when I was younger, or anything like that. So my knowledge of Flash would be what people would know through general, sort of pop culture immersion, whether it's the Justice Leaguecartoons or the TV show they had back when I was younger. To me, the concept has always just been really cool, because there's this distinct thing about him where he's a guy with a lightning bolt on his chest and he runs fast. And there's something about that — from the moment we're born and we're little kids, we always want to run fast, you know? And he's a character who lives that out. So that's always appealed to me. After I was asked to pitch for the series, I started reading up on the character and getting to know him more — Barry specifically. And there's a lot that I find very appealing. He's a very hopeful character. He's very heroic. He doesn't have that dark, broody side that a lot of comic book characters have. I like the aspect that he works in a crime lab. I've always enjoyed police stories. I think if you read even something likeThe Surrogates, it's generally regarded as sci-fi, but it's much more of a detective story than it is science fiction. So there's a lot about the character I find interesting."

Jensen: "I read more comics than Rob did, growing up, but never read The Flash just because it wasn't really available where I bought comics. But over the years, I've come to appreciate a couple of things about the character — especially, now that I'm writing Barry and inhabiting this world — one of which is Central City is kind of an outlier in the DC Universe. It's a city, but it's more middle America. I grew up on the Plains, in a pretty small town. So it's different, but it's closer to where I grew up than, say, Gotham City or Metropolis. And then, like Rob was saying, everything with the crime lab, and working with the police department is something — especially in recent years — I've identified a lot with, from the work I did as a crime reporter."

On Wally West: Jensen: "We've talked a lot about all the characters, but we've had a lot of really long conversations about Iris and her background. Iris is probably the character that's most exciting for me to explore, because she's a crime reporter at a big newspaper. And that's exactly what I was doing a few years back. So it's a world that I know really well. It's a tough place to inhabit, because, while it's a very exciting job, you're also dealing with tragedy every day. And that has a pretty complex emotional impact on people, or at least it can. And given Iris' background and her troubled family history, as well as a lot going on in her family in the present, it's going to be a lot of stuff that she has to deal with, and a lot of growth that she'll have to go through."

Venditti: "Wally is Iris' nephew. But the circumstances of what that family dynamic is, and how it ties into the story, is all an important piece of how Wally gets introduced. So we don't want to get into any of that just yet."

On the relationship between Wally and Barry: Venditti: "The relationship that Barry has with Wally is hugely important to the first arc. And how that changes throughout the entire arc. Wally is going to be a permanent member of the cast. He's not just going to come into the series and disappear. He's going to be around for a very long time, with a very long-form, long-gain approach to developing his relationship with Barry. Because we are introducing him, in a lot of ways, not just to the DCU, but to all the readers as well. So we're coming in with no assumed knowledge or anything like that. And we're building the relationship between Barry and Wally from the ground up. And it all ties into everything that's been happening in the series up to now. It's all developed completely organically. And I think people are going to be happy with the direction we take it."

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Original Sin! This summer's Original Sin series promises to unveil the darkest secrets of heroes and villains alike, and one character who's been both will finally open up about what made him the man he is today

Beginning in May's Deadpool #29 and running five issues, Marvel plumbs the depths of Deadpool. Most already know of his origins as a test subject for the Weapon Plus program as seen going back to his debut in New Mutants #98 and further developed in recent issues of Deadpool, but this new arc promises to go deeper and unveil Wade Wilson's parents, how they were killed, why they were killed, and by who.

When Newsarama asked Gerry Duggan about the specific secret from the Watcher's files that is revealed, he answered:

"There are two secrets revealed in Deadpool's orbit. The first is one that fans have wondered about for the last year, the second goes back to Deadpool's early days. He will not be privy to either secret, at least right away. Both are big, life-changing secrets."

This brings up a good question: Does Deadpool really need an explanation? Is he left better as a little mysterious?

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