X-Force, X-Men and Spider-Man Coming in 2014!

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Several omnibuses have been confirmed for release in 2014, including fan-favourite runs like Remender’s Uncanny X-Force and a second Claremont Uncanny X-Men.

It even looks like the omnibus range will expand faster than expected, with at least three being published in April alone…

Muppets Omnibus

(Please note that I haven’t listed all the upcoming omnibuses yet, but I will soon!)

MARCH 2014

• The Muppets By Roger Langridge.

1296 pages. Expected Publication Date: 18th March 2014.

Collecting The Muppet Show (2009) issues #1 to 4, The Muppet Show Comic Book: The Treasure Of Peg-Leg Wilson #1 to 4, The Muppet Show Comic Book #0 through 11 and The Muppets (2012) #1 to 4.

• Uncanny X-Force By Rick Remender

X-Force Omnibus

928 pages. Expected Publication Date: 18th March 2014.

Collecting Uncanny X-Force (2010) issues #1 through to35, #5.1 and #19.1; plus material from Wolverine: Road To Hell #1.

APRIL 2014

• Spider-Man By Roger Stern.

1248 pages. Expected Publication Date: 8th April 2014.

Stern's Spider-Man Omnibus

Collecting The Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #43-61, 85, The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 203, 224-252 & Annual (1964) 16-17 and material from Amazing Spider-Man Annual #15, Spectaular Spider-Man Annual #3, Web Of Spider-Man Annual #3 and What If…? #34.

• Age of Apocalypse Companion.

992 pages. Expected Publication Date: 15th April 2014.

Collecting X-Men Chronicles #1-2, Tales From The Age Of Apocalypse #1-2, X-Man #-1 and #53-54, Blink #1-4, X-Universe #1-2, Exiles (2001) #60-61, X-Men: Age Of Apocalypse #1-6 and One-Shot, What If? (1989) #77 and #81, and What If? X-Men: Age Of Apocalypse — plus material from Hulk: Broken Worlds #2, X-Men Prime, X-Man Annual ’96, X-Men: Endangered Species, Exiles: Days Of Then & Now and Official Handbook Of The Marvel Universe: Age Of Apocalypse.

• The Uncanny X-Men: Volume 2.

912 pages. Expected Publication Date: 29th April 2014.

X-Men Volume 2

Collecting X-Men (1963) #132-141, Annual (1970) #4-5; The Uncanny X-Men (1981) #142-153; Avengers Annual (1967) #10; Marvel Fanfare (1982) #1-4; Marvel Treasury Edition (1974) #26-27; Marvel Team-Up (1972) #100; Bizarre Adventures (1981) #27; Phoenix: The Untold Story (1984) #1.

MAY 2014 – UNKNOWN

JUNE 2014

• Punisher MAX By Jason Aaron.

Expected Publication Date: 17th June 2014.

Contents Unknown as yet, but likely PunisherMAX #1- 22, and possibly 2009’s PunisherMAX X-Mas Special: “And on Earth Peace, Good Will Toward Men.”

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“Old Man Logan”: 40% Off Wolverine!

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You’ve got until tomorrow to pre-order the Wolverine By Mark Millar omnibus at a discounted price of £33.59.

Wolverine Omnibus

The 576-page book is due for release in July 2013, and features the ever-popular Enemy of the State and Old Man Logan storylines, written by Millar (The Ultimates; Kick-Ass), with art by John Romita Jr. (The Amazing Spider-man; Black Panther) and Steve McNiven (Superior; Guardians of the Galaxy).

Simply get over to Forbidden Planet International, and receive the omnibus at a 40% discount from its RRP of £55.99.

After this event, I expect the website to have the omnibus for sale at about £38.00.

In other Wolverine-related news…

Adamantium Collection

• There will be a special Adamantium Collection, which is set to combine some fan-favourite stories featuring Wolverine (though not, I might add, tales included in the Mark Millar omnibus). It’s set to hit shelves in June, just before the film, The Wolverine, will be shown at cinemas worldwide. You can read more about it here. I’ll be taking a closer look at this release soon.

The Adamantium Collection is currently for sale from Forbidden Planet International for £100.50. Obviously this is a massive price for an over-sized book, but it’s still a 33% discount of its UK RRP of £150.00.

• Amazon UK, meanwhile, just about undercut FPInternational with the Wolverine By Jason Aaron omnibus available for £48.00.

• Hearing how a plethora of X-Men stars will be reunited in the next movie, Days of Future Past is massively exciting. James McAvoy! Michael Fassbender! Hugh Jackman! Patrick Stewart! Sir Ian McKellan! Ellen Page! Anna Paquin! Jennifer Lawrence! Plus: Sentinels! This is bound to be incredible, right?!

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.

“O, Bitter Victory!”: 40% off Amazing Spider-man!

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Art for ASM #49 by John Romita.

Stan Lee and John Romita’s run on Amazing Spider-man is a legendary must-read. And from April 2012, you can get ASM #39- 67, Annual #3- 5, Spectacular Spider-man Magazine (1968) #1- 2, and material from Not Brand Echh #2, 6 and 11 in a 968- page omnibus.

With an RRP of £75, the HC also features the art of Don Heck, Larry Lieber, Jim Mooney and Marie Severin, with alternate covers by Romita and Humberto Ramos.

And until Wednesday 23rd November, the Romita cover is available from forbiddenplanet.co.uk for just £45, a saving of 40%! You can get your copy here:

http://www.forbiddenplanet.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_music_info&products_id=67242

The Humberto Ramos cover – a homage to ASM #39 – can be pre-ordered from fp.co.uk for £50.25; the Romita cover is expected to  increase to this price once the promotion is over.

While Amazon.co.uk hasn’t even listed it yet, forbiddenplanet.com has the two covers for £51.74 each.

Though it’s a continuation of 2007’s first ASM omnibus – with the art of Steve Ditko – this second hardcover can be read in isolation, with such milestone issues as “How Green Was My Goblin!” – in which the Green Goblin’s true identity is first revealed – “The Sinister Shocker!” (which introduces one of my favourite villains) and “Spider-man No More!” The latter, in ASM #50, introduced the Kingpin of Crime, Wilson Fisk, a major criminal in the Marvel Universe, and partly inspired the film, Spider-man 2.

Cover art by John Romita.

Personally, it includes some of my favourite issues, so I will definitely have the omnibus in pride of place.  One of the first Spider-man comic storylines I remember is, in fact, from ASM #48- 49, a grim but thrilling tale of a very ill Spider-man facing off against Kraven the Hunter and the new (-ish) Vulture, Brackie Drago.

Coming July 2012...

Of course, the omnibus comes just in time for the release of The Amazing Spider-man film in July 2012, a reboot starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans.

Andrew Garfiled on set with Emma Stone.

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