AvX Omnibus Shipping!

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The limited print run of the Avengers vs. X-Men Companion omnibus is in stores nationwide now – and I’ve received my copy from Forbidden Planet International, as you can see…

AvX Omnibus 1

It’s encased in a special box to keep it looking beautiful, wonderfully illustrated with art by Jimmy Cheung.

AvX Omnibus 2

I won’t lie: it’s a pain to open, particularly for someone who obsesses over condition. That strip of cardboard has to be ripped off, I’m afraid. But once you do, you’re greeted with a lovely sight.

AvX Omnibus 3

And don’t worry; the box has a ‘crumple zone’ at the top and bottom to protect the actual omnibus.

AvX Omnibus 4

Regardless of whether the crossover was a success or not, the book is brilliantly presented, a true triumph. Here’s the hardcover, with the sleeve separated:

AvX Omnibus 5

AvX Omnibus 6

Yes, the cover is a stunning close-up of the Phoenix.

So have you picked up the Avengers vs. X-Men Companion omnibus, which includes all the crossover content from last year’s Summer event? Give me your opinions in the comments below!

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News Round-up: January 2013, featuring Thor, Wolverine – and Rare Omnibuses!

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A second Mighty Thor omnibus is due for release in August, carrying on from where the first volume left off.

Thor Omnibus

Many thanks to Rubèn, who found this in the Marvel May to August Preview.

Thor Omnibus blurb

The first omnibus, released in January 2011, collected together Journey Into Mystery #83-120 and Annual #1; this second will continue from Journey Into Mystery #121, relaying the foundations of Thor, Loki, the Warriors Three and the rest of Asgard to readers before the release of the movie sequel, Thor: The Dark World, due out in October in the UK.

The Wolverine is also set to hit cinema screens this year (in July, to be precise), and to coincide, Marvel will release Wolverine by Mark Millar Omnibus, which I will personally be lapping up. With art by John Romita Jr (Thor; X-Men), Steve McNiven (Captain America; The Amazing Spider-man) and Kaare Andrews (Spider-man: Reign; Incredible Hulk), the 576-page book will include the popular Enemy of the State and Old Man Logan storylines. Here’s the official blurb:

He’s the best there is at what he does. And when writer Mark Millar (The Ultimates; Kick-Ass) gets his hands on Wolverine, what he does isn’t very pretty! When the Hand brainwashes Wolverine, he slices and dices his way through friends and foes alike — carving a swath of terror through the Marvel Universe that ultimately results in an X-Man’s death! Finally captured and deprogrammed, Wolverine swears vengeance against his tormentors — and the vengeance of Wolverine is a wonder to behold. Then: Nobody knows what happened the night the heroes fell, but the villains have been calling the shots ever since. Wolverine’s fate is the biggest mystery of all. No one has heard from him for fifty years, and in his place stands an old man called Logan.

Collecting Wolverine (2003) #20- 32, #66- 72 and Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1.

Wolverine Omnibus

With an RRP of $75, expect to pay about £50 when it’s released in July.

And finally… Amazon UK has an influx of older omnibus titles back on sale. The Incredible Hulk Volume 1, collecting Hulk #1-6, Tales to Astonish #59-101, and Incredible Hulk #102, is priced £63.75. Though they’re temporarily out-of-stock, they’re taking orders for The X-Men Omnibus Volume 1 (again, £63.75) and Brubaker’s Captain America Volume 1, for sale at just £47.59. The Avengers Omnibus, meanwhile, is just £48.

X-Men Omnibus

Get over there quickly – I’m sure they’ll sell out pretty fast!

MarvelNOW! Omnibus…?

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Marvel will reportedly publish an omnibus next year collecting the first issue of all their new MarvelNOW! titles.

Marvel NOW

The book, supposedly 688 pages long, will print such comics as Uncanny Avengers #01; Fantastic Four #01; Thor #01; Nova #01 and All-New X-Men #01, featuring writers like Rick Remender, Brian Michael Bendis and Matt Fraction, and artists like Mike Allred, Stuart Immonen and Esad Ribic.

The HC is rumoured to have a cover by Joe Quesada.

All-New X-men

MarvelNOW! is a relaunch of their core titles, shaking up the creative teams. Brian Michael Bendis, for instance, has been on the Avengers titles since c. 2005’s Disassembled – but is now working on All-New X-Men.

I have a few titles on standing order, including Captain America – just knowing John Romita Jr is on the book is enough to guarantee its inclusion in my pull list! – X-Men: Legacy (writer, Si Spurrier, is at the top of his game), and FF (with art that I initially disliked… but now I absolutely love). My surprise purchase, though, is Journey Into Mystery. I can’t even describe how good it is. Just pick it up.

JiM 656

It’ll be a new direction for the omnibus line, but a step which isn’t unheard of for comic fans: DC published a similar collection, with all the first issues of their ‘52’ titles.

The MarvelNOW! Omnibus is expected in June 2013.

“A Vision of Things To Come”: 40% Off Avengers Vs X-Men!

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It may not be classed as an omnibus, but the Avengers Vs. X-Men Companion is both the size and price of a normal Marvel omnibus… so I guess you kind folks will be interested, right?

AvX Companion

Released in May 2013, the HC is a huge 1088 pages long, featuring every Avengers Vs. X-Men tie-in! Naturally, a large RRP comes alongside the large page count: £75.

But if you pre-order it today (Tuesday 4th December 2012), you can claim 40% off, bringing the price down to just £45! All you need to do it get over to Forbidden Planet International.

It looks to be an amazing book. Here’s the blurb and contents:

Every AvX tie-in, collected in one massive volume! When Captain America declares war on the X-Men, how will Generation Hope and the Avengers Academy react to their mentors’ actions? As the Secret Avengers battle the Phoenix Force in space, Iron Fist discovers the connection between K’un Lun and Hope Summers! And when the Avengers try to secure the Jean Grey School, Wolverine must decide where his loyalties lie! But as the Phoenix Force arrives, tipping the scales of battle, the Avengers and X-Men realize the stakes are higher than they knew — and the that fate of the Earth is in their hands.

Collecting Avengers Academy #29-33, Secret Avengers (2010) #26-28, Avengers (2010) #25-30, New Avengers (2010) #24-30, X-Men Legacy (2008) #266-270, Wolverine & The X-Men #9-16 And #18, AvX: Consequences #1-5, Uncanny X-Men (2012) #11-20, and A-Babies Vs. X-Babies #1, written by Christos Gage, Rick Remender, Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron, Kieron Gillen & Skottie Young, pencilled by Tom Grummett, Renato Guedes, Walter Simonson, Mike Deodato Jr., Rafa Sandoval, David Baldeon, Chris Bachalo, Nick Bradshaw, Jorge Molina, Greg Land, Daniel Acuna, Ron Garney, Gurihiru & others, with cover art by Jim Cheung.

AvX HC

The book os the perfect partner of last month’s Avengers Vs. X-Men hardcover, with an RRP of £55.99. (FPInternational has it for £37.51, though!)

Iron Man and X-Force in February – and the end of the Premiere Classics line!

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Two new omnibuses have been announced in Marvel’s November solicitations: X-Force Volume 1 and Iron Man By Michelinie, Layton and Romita Jr. Volume 1.

Is Cable feeling alright?

The first is the biggest surprise, reprinting some of the early X-force stuff by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza, but Marvel might be trying to take advantage of how popular the current Uncanny incarnation of the team is. Newcomers will be surprised at how far they’ve come! Here’s the official blurb:

Beset from all sides by a growing roster of vicious foes, the New Mutants and their mysterious mentor Cable have no choice but to transform into a proactive, butt-kicking, take-no-prisoners mutant strike team! But can the new X-Force survive head-on clashes with Deadpool, the Morlocks, Proteus, Stryfe and his Mutant Liberation Front, the Juggernaut, the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and…S.H.I.E.L.D.? And what secrets are Cable and Domino hiding? It’s high-stakes adventure with all-out action, in-your-face attitude and enormous guns! Nineties’ nostalgia at its finest — guest-starring Spider-Man, the New Warriors, X-Factor and more!

Collecting NEW MUTANTS (1983) #98-100 and ANNUAL #7, X-MEN ANNUAL (1970) #15, X-FACTOR ANNUAL #6, X-FORCE (1991) #1-15, SPIDER-MAN (1990) #16, CABLE: BLOOD & METAL #1-2, and material from NEW WARRIORS ANNUAL #1 and X-FORCE ANNUAL (1992) #1.

848 PGS.

Todd McFarlane joins Liefeld, Nicieza and a few more on writing duties, while artists include Guang Yap, Tom Raney, Mike Mignola, Greg Capullo, John Romita Jr., McFarlane, Mark Bagley, Mark Pacella, Terry Shoemaker, and – of course – Liefeld, who also provides the two omnibus covers. At $99.99, expect this one to have an RRP of about £75 – with Forbidden Planet.co.uk normally offering these titles for £50.25!

Just for fun, here’s the 40 worst Rob Liefeld drawings. Warning: it’s very rude so is suitable only for adults! And here’s its sequel.

One of my mates absolutely hates Liefeld. While he doesn’t make me scratch my own eyes out or anything, I did get annoyed when he recently said that his creation, Deadpool, was so good that the comic would still be popular with the “D-list talent” Marvel are assigning to the Marvel NOW! relaunch. Seriously, Rob: people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

Cover art by Bob Layton

I’m sure many will be looking forward to X-Force, but I’m more excited by the Iron Man Omnibus (mainly as it collects together some of John Romita Jr.’s run on the title!). JRJR is joined by artists like Bob Layton, Sal Buscema, and John Bryne, while writers include Layton, David Michelinie and Bill Mantlo. Here’s the blurb, folks:

Up-and-coming talents David Michelinie, Bob Layton and John Romita Jr. joined forces to take on Marvel’s Golden Avenger in 1978 — and captured lighting in a bottle! Now, their history-making first run is collected in one massive volume! From Tony Stark’s taboo-shattering struggle with alcoholism to Iron Man’s legendary clash with Dr. Doom during King Arthur’s time, this one’s got it all — including Justin Hammer’s introduction; a brutal battle against the Hulk; the menaces of Madame Masque, the Melter, Blizzard, Whiplash, the Dreadnoughts, the Titanium Man and more; and the debut of Tony’s outer-space and stealth armors! Guest-starring Ant-Man, Namor and more!

Collecting IRON MAN (1968) #115-157.

944 PGS.

With covers by JRJR and Bob Layton, the RRP is likely to be £75 – so expect to pay about £50! Thanks to the enormously popular films (Iron Man and Iron Man 2 were great, but wow, did Avengers Assemble knock it out of the park!), the character is massively popular, and this omnibus will collect together the Demon in a Bottle storyline that inspired the second movie.

Fans of John Romita Jr. can also see his latest work in Captain America #01, released in the same month as these books.

November will, of course, be a big month for our favourite comic publisher as they launch the jumping-on-point initiative, Marvel NOW!, with titles like All-New X-Men, Thor: God of Thunder and X-Men: Legacy.

Meanwhile, it’s been confirmed that the Premiere Classic line is ending. Marvel Collected Editions’ Jeph York said:

“Okay, after three months of solicits with no Premiere Classic HCs in them, I should probably end the suspense and make this official: Marvel has ended the Premiere Classic hardcover line.
They’ll still be collecting modern series in Premiere-sized HCs, and the Omnibus, OHC and Masterworks programs are not in danger. But the Premiere Classic line is being put to bed with volume #106.
Sorry, guys. I know quite a few of you loved them.
-Jeph!”

Collected Comics Library’s Chris Marshall suspects that the omnibuses may have something to do with this:

“Maybe the demise of the Marvel Premiere Classic’s can be attributed to the rise of the Omnibus. Marvel has collected a lot of this material and more in the bigger format. For example Thor by Walter Simonson and the recent solicit for the X-Force Omnibus collects a few of the MPC’s with many more comics and special material like sketches, rare art, liner notes and even a new intro! Perhaps consumers have been wise to this and have chosen not to buy the smaller edition in favor of the bigger more expansive book.”

It’s a huge shame, especially as the line has so many dedicated followers. But thankfully, classic stories will always live on…

Review: Ultimate Avengers By Mark Millar Omnibus

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Mark Millar is a controversial figure.

No one can doubt what he’s given to comics and, indeed, films. He changed the Marvel landscape with Civil War, gave us London’s Kapow! convention, and launched CLiNT magazine. Oh, and supplied us with possibly the most violent and swear-ridden comic known to man.

It’s been ten years now since the critically-acclaimed Ultimates hit the shelves, introducing warped versions of the familiar MU Avengers. And in Mark Millar’s latest omnibus collection, we’re introduced to warped versions of the warped versions.

Ultimate Avengers By Mark Millar Omnibus collects the first three volumes of the titular comic book (each comprising of six issues) and Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #1-6 in a beautiful white and gold/green exterior that won’t break your wrist unlike some other omnibuses. And with an RRP of £55.99, it’s pretty reasonably priced, considering that you can typically get a copy for about £35. As ever with the omnibus range, it’s wonderfully presented, with nice glossy finishes, a stand-out, white spine and a few ‘special features’ at the back, like variant covers, sketchbooks and cover ideas; it’s fleeting, but a welcome addition.

It begins three weeks after Ultimatum, an event generally considered as bad as comics get, and immediately sets up the premise of the whole book, even though this won’t become apparent until quite a way in. This first arc ushers in the return of Carlos Pacheco (Avengers Forever; Fantastic Four) to Marvel, and his stunning art echoes the widescreen-work of original Ultimates illustrator, Bryan Hitch. He’s a perfect choice for the book, and, coupled with colourist, Justin Ponsor and a plethora of inkers, gives the volume a fresh and exciting feel. The spreads and flowing layouts really help its pace, which has the feel of a blockbuster movie to it. And this is something Millar is often criticised for.

Ultimate Nick Fury sets out his agenda

I can see it both ways. Yes, comics are a medium of their own right; a medium that doesn’t have to be defined by or likened to others, particularly films. This is the reason Alan Moore doesn’t like to see V for Vendetta and Watchmen on the big screen. However, I also feel that as long as it sparks the imagination, it doesn’t really matter.

We also have to remember that many will be flocking to comics after seeing the big-hitters like Avengers Assemble and The Amazing Spider-Man in cinemas and on DVD, so these ‘widescreen,’ sweeping techniques are well suited as an introduction to the medium. As long as the characters are well-written, the dialogue is snappy, and the plot is interesting and relevant, does it really matter if an issue or storyline has the feel of a movie?

The Ultimate origin of the Red Skull…

And maybe this is an issue with Millar’s Ultimate Avengers. While much of the dialogue is good – “[Spider-Man] can drive a man to suicide in three or four exchanges,” someone remarks – and the characters involving, not all of them are particularly likeable. And this is surely a big problem with heroes you’re supposed to be rooting for. Indeed, some of the pointless deaths that occur hardly make an impact. Captain America and Hawkeye remain the most likeable, especially as the former is the personification of a one-man army, but many of the others are just there as replacements for the original Ultimates line-up. There’s a new Black Widow, a new Hulk (or two), and a new Iron Man (sort of) – and only the latter is remotely successful. In fact, I really hate what Millar’s done with the Hulk: the ‘original’ Hulk is a useless addition, while the ‘Nerd’ Hulk is ridiculous.

‘Nerd’ Hulk vs… Iron Man?

Oh, and in case that wasn’t enough, there’s a new Captain America too. Even though the original’s still there, on the whole. And this new Captain is… uh, the Punisher. Maybe this is why the deaths are meaningless: you know another replacement will be along any minute.

The low point for the team comes in volume two, where they’re overshadowed by an amazing Ghost Rider, awesomely drawn by Leinil Francis Yu (Secret Invasion; Wolverine), as he goes up against Blackthorn. (In fact, his Ghost Rider might be the best rendition I’ve seen!) It’s not that strong a story, mainly due to a ragtag team of Avengers who you know won’t gel. With the original Avengers and Ultimates, there were many arguments and fisticuffs, but you just knew that, in the end, Captain America, Iron Man and Thor would get along. But here, there’s too little chemistry and heart.

Ultimate Ghost Rider. Wow.

However, this isn’t a terrible omnibus, as many expected. Actually there’s a lot to enjoy.

As previously stated, Captain America really kicks butt, particularly in the first arc, which heralds in the first and only appearance of the Ultimate Universe’s Red Skull. The twist on his origin isn’t that surprising, but it’s still pretty cool, and suitably gruesome. The death of Nikolai Laskov is particularly horrible – so naturally, there’s some mindless violence lingering on from Kick-Ass.

The third arc riffs off the huge vampire trend of late, something which Millar has come under criticism for. But it’s actually a great move. Keeping up with trends, and predicting the next ones, will always draw readers in, and it’s something that Marvel – and, indeed, every noteworthy company – has always done. Plus there’s a fantastic Twilight parody.

 I was initially sceptical of Steve Dillon’s artistic contributions to the storyline that introduces us to Blade, but, actually, it’s very fitting. But Leinil Yu makes a welcome return in the final storyline, which pits the Ultimates against the Avengers. There are plenty of surprises throughout, but especially in this concluding tale, which starts off really strong. The addition of Spider-Man seems forced – as the Punisher aptly notes, “where the %&*# did HE come from?!” – but Frank’s guilt is great.

The ‘Hulked-out’ heroes in Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #5 is a bit too silly for my liking, but generally, Millar’s conclusions are really strong. The finale to the third arc is very visual and cinematic – clever too – as is the way the Red Skull is dealt with in the first storyline.

Yes, there are plenty of clichés thrown about, and character depth isn’t at its most fascinating, but there’s still a lot to enjoy here. Well worth thirty-odd quid.

If you want to see Mark Millar at his best, pick up The Ultimates. But if you want him in his “not-at-his-best-but-still-much-better-than-most” mode, order Ultimate Avengers now.

“Secrets & Lies”: 40% off New Avengers!

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Brian Michael Bendis fans will want to go to forbiddenplanet.co.uk before tomorrow – that’s Wednesday 11th April 2012 – to pre-order the upcoming New Avengers omnibus with a 40% discount.

Art by David Finch

The 1208-page book, with a September release date, has an RRP of £95, but by pre-ordering through fp.co.uk, it’ll cost you just £57, plus £1 p+p.

Bendis is aided by Warren Ellis, with art by David Finch, Mike Deodato Jr., Leinil Francis Yu, Olivier Coipel, Jim Cheung, Steve McNiven, Alex Maleev, Dan Jurgens – and then some! The iconic cover is by David Finch.

Wolverine + Civil War = Snikt!

The omnibus is sure to be popular, collecting Avengers #500-503; Avengers Finale;  New Avengers #1-31 and Annual #1; New Avengers And The Fantastic Four #1; Giant-Size Spider-Woman #1; New Avengers: Illuminati  #1; Civil War: The Confession #1; Civil War: The Initiative #1; and New Avengers Most Wanted Files #1.

A fair amount of the story revolves around Civil War, and a novelised version of the huge 2006 event is due in June.

Avengers Assemble!

New Avengers will join a plethora of other Avenger omnibuses, including Avengers: The Crossing and The Avengers by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and coincides with the Avengers movie. Yes,  you can get excited now…

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