Following up on the news that Inhuman would be getting delayed by months, Bleeding Cool is reporting a major bombshell that Matt Fraction will no longer be writing the title citing “creative and editorial differences.” The book was meant to be a reintroduction of the Inhumans in a big way to the Marvel universe under Fraction’s direction but he has been replaced on the title by writer Charles Soule, who is coming up in a big way at the moment penning books like Superman/Wonder Woman, Letter 44, as well as Marvel’s upcoming She-Hulk # 1.
I don’t want to speculate about what sort of creative decisions may have been made with regard to the series that would have caused Fraction to walk, but I’ll stake my reputation on it being Marvel not wanting to dedicate a six issue arc to Chip Zdarsky’s experiences with the terrigen mists that gave him the power to ink and color his own artwork with lavish strokes of his genitals. [*please note that I do not actually believe this except I sort of do and will not redact it until Chip Zdarsky releases a statement otherwise.]
Charles Soule has busted onto the comics scene with a fiery vengeance. His name is popping up all over the place. Last week I lauded his Superman/Wonder Woman # 1 as being one of the best books of the week and a huge surprise in my eyes. He’s slated to write a new She-Hulk book for Marvel and this week his creator-owned book from Oni Press, Letter 44 hits shelves. How does it measure up when compared to his other work?
I will say that the premise is interesting. The idea is that the incoming president recieves a letter from his predecessor outlining the fact that upon taking the job he learned of the existence of an extra-terrestrial craft within the solar system. This of course freaked the man out somewhat hard and his response was to send a team into space to intercept the craft. All of this seems like a great premise for a book. It could really sing if handled correctly. The stumble comes in this instance when Soule insists on making the book an obvious parallel to Barack Obama’s entry into the oval office. The departing president is a not-at-all veiled pastiche of George W. Bush and the book posits that the wars in the middle east were an attempt to battle-harden our troops in the event of hostile alien contact.
Revisionist history doesn’t work when you don’t have the stones to actually utilize history’s characters in a fictional manner. This book could have been really great satire if Barack Obama were the protagonist. But the problem is Soule is writing this book several years too early to utilize his term as president effectively. Better still would have been if Dubya had been our protagonist. Instead we get these effigies that don’t necessarily have the weight we would like for this story.
Now, the art is gorgeous and Albuquerque’s pencils on the page drawing the stars makes me pine for the days of Blue Beetle, but on the whole the first issue fails to live up to the weight of its own premise.
- All-New Invaders by James Robinson
- Secret Avengers gets a new # 1 issue with the new creative team of Ales Kot and Michael Walsh.
- Avengers World by Nick Spencer and Jonathan Hickman with art by Stefano Casseli.
- Avengers Undercover, a replacement for Avengers Arena by Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker
- Loki – Agent of Asgard by Al Ewing and Lee Garbett
- A new Black Widow book by Nate Edmondson and Phil Noto
- She-Hulk by Charles Soule and Javier Pulido
- Silver Surfer by Dan Slott and Mike Allred
- Iron Patriot by Ales Kot and Gary Brown
What are you most looking forward to? Personally, Black Widow and She-Hulk look the most promising and I cannot wait to see the internet explode over Dan Slott’s Silver Surfer. I’m not sure we needed ANOTHER Avengers title to go with Avengers, New Avengers, Avengers Assemble, et. al. But seeing Hickman filtered through Spencer could make for some interesting stories.
I have been more than a little harsh towards DC lately. I feel like they just don’t know how to communicate with their audience in a way that doesn’t come off as condescending anymore. Their PR campaigns and their outreach to the folks that buy, read, and love their books leave a lot to be desired. The publicity for Superman/Wonder Woman for example, just seemed off message from the get-go, as if DC didn’t understand what audience they were reaching to with this one. DiDio’s comparison of trying to appeal to the Twilight audience angered many of DC’s loyal fans, a great example of how out of touch the company is with most of its publications. I think that the books should speak for themselves in most cases, but part of the publishing game is talking up your product and that is one of DC’s recent failings. They just aren’t very good at being their own hype-man.
This is unfortunate considering that Superman/Wonder Woman is a surprisingly well-written, beautifully drawn book. I did not have high hopes for the first issue because the DC hype machine made me feel that I wasn’t in the target audience and that the writing would likely not be in line with what the characters are experiencing in their own titles. I am happy to say that I was proven wrong. Writer Charles Soule, who has been making a name for himself in recent months, gives Diana and Clark some real depth here. Obviously the crux of the story is their relationship, and he uses that coupling as an excuse to better explore the character traits of each of the heroes as individuals. Like a mathmatic equation, we get to see the individual parts that comprise the eventual answer that is their relationship. It isn’t melodrama in the way I was expecting. I am quite impressed with how well everything gels together. The bouncing back and forth between Clark and Diana in their civilian lives and in the midst of a crisis gives the reader varied perspectives that also make the narrative flow smoothly.
Let me also state for the record that this is probably Tony Daniel’s finest work. His pencils are clean and strong with the ink and color work making every panel pop in a way that I haven’t seen from his artwork thus far. I may have been dismissive of him at times, which I now regret because if this is his A-game it is easy to see why he has become a top-tier artist.
Simply put, this is a major home run for DC. One they desperately needed.