The first half of 2023 has been a big relaunch period for Marvel Comics. Thus far we’ve had the Fantastic Four, Doctor Strange, and Avengers seeing a relaunch. Now several other comics will be seeing something similar during the summer with the Hulk and Black Panther getting new creative teams for their respective series relaunch. That is along with Kelly Thompson’s long run on Captain Marvel coming to an end in June. All of that is on top of several events beginning in June that includes Ultimate Invasion. Let’s take a look at the biggest things we learned from Marvel’s June 2023 comic book solicitations.
1) EARTH-616 VS ULTIMATE UNIVERSE WAR BEGINS
Marvel is not holding back from filling 2023 with big events. But even with the large number of events and crossovers Marvel is throwing our way, it’s clear no event bigger than Ultimate Invasion. This is the event that Marvel went all out with announcing to mainstream outlets beyond the normal ones dedicated to comic books. Marvel wants to make sure to have Jonathan Hickman and Bryan Hitch’s Ultimate Invasion be the comic the majority of their fans read.
To Marvel’s credit Ultimate Invasion isn’t coming out of nowhere. Ultimate Invasion is an event that Marvel has been building towards in the background for a while. I went over the key events that led to Ultimate Invasion in “Ultimate Invasion: Marvel Comics Endgame Years In The Making.” As detailed in that article we’ve seen The Maker making various moves to create a new Secret Wars-style event. With Hickman involved, we should see more payoff to the library of work he has done for Marvel. That includes ties to the Council Of Reed Richards. All of this makes Ultimate Invasion Marvel’s biggest event of the summer.
2) KELLY THOMPSON’S ENDS RUN ON CAPTAIN MARVEL
Kelly Thompson’s close to five-year run on Captain Marvel is coming to an end in June. The run has had its fair share of ups and downs. While not every story has been a home run Thompson’s run has overall been solid. Thompson emphasizing Carol Danvers’ connection to the rest of the Marvel Universe has been great to see. Seeing Carol interact with Jessica Drew, Jennifer Takeda, Lauri-Ell and various X-Men and Avengers has made the run standout.
Based on the solicitation for Captain Marvel #50 it appears the issue will serve as both a celebration and wrap-up to Thompson’s run on the series. There are no hints at what comes next. But with a creative run that has gone for fifty issues, it is right for Marvel to allow Thompson’s final issue dedicated to ending her run on a high. What comes next for Carol Danvers beyond being the new leader of the upcoming Avengers series will likely be revealed the closer we get to Captain Marvel #50.
3) IRON MAN HELPS ORCHIS AGAINST THE X-MEN
Of course, things between the X-Men and Avengers will never be great. Marvel loves putting them at odds. And in the upcoming story in the main X-Men series, we will see Iron Man go to war against the team. Because of course, it’s Tony Stark that leads to another Avengers vs X-Men story.
Jokes aside, it does look like Tony Stark’s recent troubles in Invincible Iron Man are going to be impacting the X-Men directly. This is not surprising since Gerry Duggan is writing both Invincible Iron Man and X-Men. Having them connect in some way is good promotion for the new Invincible Iron Man run. Tying things into Orchis using Tony Starks’ Iron Man tech to create new versions of the Sentinels won’t make the X-Men happy on multiple levels.
It does create a question if Marvel will use 2023 to build another Avengers vs X-Men story for 2024. We already saw tensions being high between the teams in last year’s Hellfire Gala and A.X.E.: Judgment Day. Even if it’s Orchis’ fault, the X-Men won’t be happy with how reckless Tony Starks is for letting his tech fall into their enemies’ hands.
4) EVE EWING & CHRIS ALLEN RELAUNCH BLACK PANTHER
To give Black Panther a fresh start of sorts Marvel has tapped Eve Ewing and Chris Allen for the relaunched Black Panther series. While John Ridley’s time on Black Panther was a divisive one it appears the series relaunch will pick up on how Ridley is ending his run. As we learn from Black Panther #1 solicitation, T’Challa will be a king on the run after being marked as a fugitive. This is certainly a very different direction for Black Panther in the modern era.
Eve Ewing has done a lot of great work at Marvel, including the most recent Monica Rambeau: Photon series. From what I’ve seen from Chris Allen’s work on Miles Morales: Spider-Man he is a good artist choice for the direction Ewing is taking Black Panther on.
Speaking of direction, having T’Challa on the run will be a good change of pace for the character. We have gotten a lot of stories of how T’Challa does with all the resources of Wakanda at his disposal. Being placed in a spot where he will have to take a more back-to-basics approach as Black Panther is an interesting one. Hopefully, this means we will see T’Challa operate more as a spy from the shadows.
5) DEATH DEFINES SPIDER-MAN’S FUTURE
Marvel is not holding back in trying to make the next few months of Amazing Spider-Man issues a big deal. Based on the most recent Amazing Spider-Man issue it does appear as though all signs are pointing to Mary Jane Watson dying. MJ is suspiciously absent from the solicitations for June’s Amazing Spider-Man #27 and Amazing Spider-Man #28. With how much the current status of Peter and MJ’s relationship has been emphasized it does stick out that Felicia Hardy is seen more prominent for June’s Amazing Spider-Man issues.
As heavy as that will be to deal for Peter Parker there will be no time to process whoever it is that dies. That is thanks to the new and improved Doctor Octopus making his return as a villain. After so much time trying to claim glory as the Superior Spider-Man, Doc Ock is back to his villainous ways full-time. This is certainly needed with how Marvel keeps trying to push the idea of Norman Osborn being a good person now. With his return, Doctor Octopus shots up to the undisputed #1 villain in Spider-Man’s rogues’ gallery.
6) PHILLIP JOHNSON & NIC KLEIN TAKE ON HULK
The Hulk has been one of the best sellers for Marvel outside of the Spider-Man and X-Men titles. The last two Hulk series in particular have been well-received along with selling well. With where the Incredible Hulk series is at now Al Ewing and Donny Cates have created massive shoes to fill for the next writer.
Which makes the choice of Phillip Kennedy Johnson an interesting one. This won’t be Johnson’s first Marvel series as he has written both Alien and Marvel Zombies: Resurrection series. On the superhero side of things, Johnson has been working on Action Comics for over a year now. That run has had its ups and downs but he has shown talent in writing a powerful character like Superman. How that translates to writing Hulk and Bruce Banner is not 100% clear.
Though Johnson will have big help with Nic Klein as the new Incredible Hulk artist. Klein’s work on Thor has been phenomenal. There is no doubt that a Klein-drawn Incredible Hulk series will look just as good. That should be a big help if Johnson does go for more of an action route to his run on Incredible Hulk.
7) HERALDS OF APOCALYPSE RISE BEFORE THE X-MEN FALL
It was only a matter of time before Apocalypse returned. Apocalypse sent a message to Cyclops for Charles Xavier and Magneto to know he would eventually be back. What we don’t know is what Apocalypse’s return will mean for the future of the X-Men franchise. With the timing of X-Men: Before The Fall – Heralds Of Apocalypse it does appear the return won’t be a complete positive from the Krakoa’s current regime.
The timing is certainly convenient along with the title of Apocalypse spotlight one-shot. With the Fall Of X event right around the corner, things are going to get a whole lot more interesting for the X-Men. It wouldn’t be surprising if we see Apocalypse make his presence known during this year’s Hellfire Gala. Everything is aligning for big changes in the near future for the X-Men. And we can just sit back and enjoy how the Krakoa Era evolves and possibly ends.
8) THOR VS DOCTOR DOOM REVEALS HELA’S ORIGIN
In Torunn Grønbekk’s current Thor storyline we are seeing Thor and Doctor Doom have an epic face-off. With two of Marvel’s biggest characters facing off you know that things won’t be the same afterward. Especially with how we continue to get hints of how close Thor is getting to the future he saw in the vision Black Winter gave him.
Something that is both unexpected and not shocking that is coming out of the Thor vs Doctor Doom battle is the revelations of Hela’s origin. Up until now, we’ve been led to believe Hela is Loki’s daughter. Given that in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Hela is actually the daughter of Odin we could have a hint there at what the revelation of her mysterious origin is.
Marvel does love aligning things so they fit as much of the MCU continuity as possible. Odin being revealed as Hela’s true father is just another move to create that synergy. If that does happen it will be odd that Marvel waited six years after Thor: Ragnarök released to tell Hela’s origin.
9) CARNAGE SHORT REIGN
Well, the “Carnage Reigns” crossover between Miles Morales: Spider-Man and Carnage comics sure didn’t last long. One month after beginning the “Carnage Reigns” crossover will end in June. This is a good thing since the crossover did involve three different comics in Miles Morales: Spider-Man, Carnage, and Red Goblin. It did not need to be more than the eight parts it turned out to be.
The question is what impact will “Carnage Reigns” actually have moving forward? With both the Spider-Man and Venom comic books being big sellers for Marvel this crossover should have some sort of ramifications for the future. Especially with possibly defining what direction Miles Morales will take in the direct aftermath of being involved in his own Maximum Carnage-like event.
10) ROB LIEFELD IS BACK TO WORK ON DEADPOOL
The narrative around Rob Liefeld is always one to pay attention to simply for the drama. For now, it appears Liefeld and Marvel’s relationship is back to being a good one. With that, we are getting a new series by Liefeld as he returns to write and draw the Merc with a Mouth in Deadpool: Badder Blood.
Making this an even bigger Liefeld book is the fact that Deadpool will be teaming up with Cable and Wolverine on a mission to Madripoor. With all these elements in place, Deadpool: Badder Blood appears to be exactly what fans should expect. And if it is just mindless, violent fun you really can’t ask for more from a Deadpool comic with Cable and Wolverine along for the ride.