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!

“Looking Forward”: 40% Off Iron Man!

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Until Wednesday 4th April 2013, you can pre-order the upcoming Iron Man By Kurt Busiek and Sean Chen Omnibus at a 40% discount, bringing its RRP of £95 down to £57.

Iron Man Omnibus

The 1024-page book is released in September, and, whilst primarily by Busiek, is also written by Mark Waid (Fantastic Four; Daredevil), Dan Jurgens (Thor) and Chris Claremont (X-Men), amongst many others.

Chen is obviously on art duties (as well as providing the cover), but joining him are John Romita Jr. (The Amazing Spider-Man; Avengers), Salvador Larroca (Cable and X-Force; X-Treme X-Men), and Terry Shoemaker (X-Factor; Excalibur).

Here’s the official synopsis:

“It’s a new beginning for Iron Man as Kurt Busiek and Sean Chen reinvent the Armored Avenger! Tony Stark is back, with a new company, Stark Solutions — but the Mandarin plans to destroy Tony’s dreams before they take shape! And if that’s not enough, Iron Man must face Firebrand, Whiplash, M.O.D.O.K., Controller, Fin Fang Foom, Count Nefaria, the Exemplars, Ultimo and the new War Machine — while romancing the beautiful Rumiko Fujikawa and protecting his secret identity! Good thing he’s got Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the Avengers to help him out!”

As he comes face-to-face with the Mandarin, the omnibus will be released soon after Iron Man 3 hits cinema screens worldwide.

Iron Man 3 movie

Iron Man by Busiek and Chen Omnibus collects Iron Man (1998) #1-25, Captain America (1998) #8, Quicksilver #10, Avengers (1998) #7, Iron Man & Captain America Annual 1998, Fantastic Four (1998) #15, Iron Man Annual 1999, Thor (1998) #17, Peter Parker: Spider-Man (1999) #11, Juggernaut: The Eighth Day and Iron Man: The Iron Age #1-2.

The series ran from 1998 to 2004, an 89-issue run that led up to Avengers: Disassembled. So if this one sells well (and I think it will), then we can probably expect at least one further volume in the future!

Iron Man 3

If you want to pre-order at a 40% discount, go to Forbidden Planet International before 4th April. I expect the price will rise to between £60 and £65 after the special offer.

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!)

“Taking Care of Business”: 40% Off West Coast Avengers!

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You can pre-order the upcoming West Coast Avengers omnibus for just £45.00 – a saving of 40% off the RRP of £75!

The offer ends on Wednesday 7th November, and all you have to do is head over to Forbidden Planet International. The offer only applies to the cover by Al Milgrom; the Greg Land cover is available for £50.25, which is what the Milgrom cover is expected to rise to in just over a week’s time.

Here’s the blurb:

“Earth’s Mightiest Heroes head west! Hawkeye splits from the Avengers and sets up shop in California. But the newly recruited members of Avengers ‘franchise’ – including Tigra, Wonder Man, Mockingbird and a new Iron Man – soon find themselves in over their heads! Meanwhile, Ultron and the Grim Reaper target Wonder Man’s “brother,” the Vision – and the Vision’s wife, the Scarlet Witch! Can the West Coasters keep this complex bloodline from getting bloodier? Plus: Both Avengers teams are betrayed from within! Also guest-starring the the Thing, Hank Pym, Firebird and Nick Fury!

Collecting West Coast Avengers (1984) issues #1 to 4, Iron Man Annual #7, Avengers (1963) #250, West Coast Avengers (1985) #1 to 16, Vision And The Scarlet Witch (1985) #1 and 2, Avengers Annual (1967) #15, West Coast Avengers Annual #1, and material from Avengers (1963) #239, #243 and 244 and #246, and Avengers West Coast #100; written by Roger Stern, Bob Harras, Steve Englehart and Danny Fingeroth, and pencilled by Bob Hall, Luke Mcdonnell, Al Milgrom, Richard Howell, Steve Ditko and Mark Bright.”

The 760-page HC will be release in April 2013. You can read more about the West Coast Avengers here.

And thanks to Ruben and Nicolas; I really appreciate you both reading. Please let me know if something else slips under the net!

“Demon in a Bottle!”: 40% Off Iron Man

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Pre-order February’s Iron Man By Michelinie, Layton and Romita Jr Omnibus from Forbiddenplanet.co.uk before Wednesday 12th September 2012, and get a 40% discount off the RRP.

Iron Man #150

Normally £75, the saving brings the 944-page book down to just £45. This is only Cover A, but Cover B is available from just £50.25; Forbiddenplanet.com has it for £51.74 each (though they often get damaged in the post from this particular supplier) – while Amazon UK hasn’t even got it listed yet!

Here’s the blurb:

“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 armours!”

Collecting Iron Man #115- 157, the omnibus features the ground-breaking Demon in a Bottle storyline, which inspired the movie, Iron Man 2. As Bethany Cabe says:

“Can’t you see you’re becoming your own worst enemy? And you’re trying to kill that enemy with a bottle…”

I’m sure this one will be popular…

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…

“The Past is with us Always…”: 40% off Avengers: The Crossing!

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Until Wednesday 7th December 2011, forbiddenplanet.co.uk is offering May 2012’s Avengers: The Crossing Omnibus at a 40% discount!

Mike Deodato Cover

In this timeline-juggling 1990s story, Kang the Conqueror sets the Avengers against Force Works to win a prize no one can imagine. It’s packed full of your favourite heroes, including Iron Man, War Machine, Quicksilver, Hercules, the Vision, Scarlet Witch, Crystal and Hawkeye.

Two covers will be available – with an estimated arrival date of 2nd May 2012 – by Patrick Scherberger and Mike Deodato; the latter of which is on said offer until this 7th December. Just go here:

http://www.forbiddenplanet.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_music_info&products_id=67728

Patrick Scherberger Cover

With an RRP of £75, you can get it for just £45. The Scherberger cover is available for £50.25 – I think the Deodato cover will rise to this price when the offer ends.

Iorn Man #324.

The 792-page omnibus collects Avengers (1963) #390-395, Avengers: The Crossing, Avengers: Timeslide, Iron Man (1968) #319-325, Force Works #16-22, War Machine (1994) #20-25 and Age Of Innocence: The Rebirth Of Iron Man, as written by Bob Harras, Terry Kavanagh, Ben Raab, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.

Amazon.co.uk has the HC on pre-order for £64.11.

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