I always check out the upcoming solicitations for Marvel and DC when they’re first made available. Don’t worry, I’m not trying to see what happens in the books before I can read them. The exercise is more about having an idea of what titles are appearing. Was a book canceled? Is there a new series on the way? Can I expect a rad limited series? It’s all about preparation.
Details about the next big events from DC (Convergence) and Marvel (Secret Wars) are trickling out and, especially if you are a weekly comic store guy like myself, you better get your gameplan ready now.
Ironically, both events deal with each company taking essentially anything that has ever happened in their publishing history and throwing it into a blender (not ironically, of course they’re basically doing the same thing which is nothing new). In Convergence, a mysterious new villain, Telos, takes advantage of Brainiac capturing players from all across time and space in the DCU and pitting them all against each other. Characters from pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths, pre-Zero Hour, and pre-Flashpoint, as well as New 52 characters face off because Brainiac says so.
Secret Wars is the cosmic result of universes colliding and creating one amalgamated “Battleworld”; one world made up of a bunch of slices in time and space of the Marvel Universe. Characters from Civil War, Future Imperfect, Marvel Zombies, Age of Apocalypse, the Ultimate Universe, and countless others now exist on one planet and this one planet is the entire Marvel Universe from now on (wink).
As far as the laid out plans for publishing, lets start with DC. Convergence is taking place strictly during April and May while DC Comics relocates to California, which therefore means that more details are currently available. There is a nine-issue core series (#0 issue plus #1-#8) which will feature the thrust of the story. After that, there are TEN tie-in issues per week, as there will be a total of FORTY two-issue tie-in series printed over two months. Most of them are just slight manipulations of existing monthly books (Covergence: Aquaman, Convergence: Batman), but some will detail the actions of classic characters and teams to show what is happening to them during this multiversal mash-up. If you are looking to grab every issue, you have 88 entries to grab. Like I said; starting preparing now.
And it gets even better because Secret Wars starts on right in the middle of Convergence, with Secret Wars #0 on Free Comic Book Day (May 2nd at participating stores). After that, the event is still veiled in mystery as to what is being published and when. The curtain will slowly get peeled back as the weeks progress, with many clues available at least by May solicitations, which will be provided in the middle of February.
What we do know is that there is a core series, plus three “fill-in” series: Secret Wars: Last Days, Secret Wars: Battleworld, and Secret Wars: Warzones. It sounds as though Last Days obviously details what happens leading up to the event, Battleworld is more of a macro examination of the newly formed Marvel Universe from the existing and vastly different “countries”, and Warzones is their individual stories (the micro examination). The PR person at Marvel said that these are NOT fill-in issues, which basically means they’re fill-in issues. Marvel execs are also saying that “Battleworld” is the Marvel Universe from now on, but that’s probably not true either.
The basic idea of each event is cool and something that we’ve perhaps tried to imagine the outcome. What would happen if the Marvel Zombies invaded the Civil War universe while at the same time Apocalypse and the Age of Apocalypse players spilled over and joined the fight? The JLI, JSA, JLA, and the Crime Syndicate of America walk into a pub located in the Gotham by Gaslight universe…
There’s an agenda at work with these two events, and not just giving us some weird fantasy battle royale. Faithful DC readers are still sour after having the continuity rug pulled out from under them in Flashpoint and the resulting inconsistency with characterizations during the New 52 reboot. Marvel has also worked themselves into a bit of a corner by killing off popular characters, like Wolverine and soon Deadpool. Marvel has had a few soft resets with their characters, such as “Brand New Day” with Spider-Man, but a continuity clean-up may lower the barrier to entry for new readers, which Marvel is clearly trying to attract after the success of their movies.
Things are going to happen and there will most likely be some downsizing in both companies for their characters and continuity. DC will probably take this opportunity to align characters and make things more streamlined, perhaps give a few winks to their faithful readers who have criticized the New 52. Marvel looks to decompress and, while having all of the previous stories still count, emerge from Secret Wars with a fresh start (ie a soft reboot of sorts). They already have the All-New, All-Different Avengers premiering alongside Secret Wars #0 on FCBD and that will mostly realign their popular team for the future of publishing and probably movies as well.
If you are looking to be efficient with your choices for these two high profile events, it’s best to keep an eye on solicitations or announcements for titles. DC’s Convergence is taking the place of their regular books so those are the only books being released during April and May, which is nice. Marvel’s Secret Wars will ostensibly be happening during the same time as some regular books, which Marvel has said will dwindle in number during this time. But again, details are still not quite sketched out.
Essentially, you may want to squirrel away a nice chunk of your tax return for the comics onslaught coming in a few months.
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