The 2021 summer looks to continue to be heating up in August as even more major developments take place across the Marvel Universe. One of the bigger things going on is Marvel’s First Family celebrating their 60th anniversary with Fantastic Four #35 being the start. Along with that John Ridley is going to be helming Black Panther along with Juann Cabal, Spider-Man’s Sinister War event reaches its conclusion, the Hellfire Gala aftermath has serious impact on the X-Men, and much more. Let’s look into everything coming from Marvel in August with their new solicitations.
FANTASTIC FOUR CELEBRATE 60TH ANNIVERSARY
As mentioned before, August 2021 marks the 60th anniversary of Marvel’s First Family. To kick off the celebration Dan Slott and Mark Waid are collaborating for the Fantastic Four #35 issue that is marking the occasion. Along with those two writers John Romita Jr. Paul Ranuad, and Jason Loo are handling art duties.
While Dan Slott is certainly a divisive talent he has shown to be able to deliver moments that are big for landmark issues. His best work has honestly come from when he has to tell a full story in one issue. Which is what Fantastic Four #35 looks like it will be as it will set a new foundation for the direction of the Fantastic Four moving forward. It will at least look great as John Romita Jr. looks like he is right at home back in the Marvel Universe based on the teaser images he has drawn for Marvel since his return to the company.
Adding Mark Waid to tell a story in Fantastic Four #35 along with Paul Renaud does add to how this upcoming issue is celebrating the franchise. Waid has one of the iconic runs on Marvel’s First Family. He normally does well when taking on more classic superhero characters that he has a past familiarity with. So the story Waid has planned for Fantastic Four #35 could be a solid one.
JOHN RIDLEY TAKES OVER BLACK PANTHER
One of the fastest rising talents within comic books has been John Ridley. Ridley entered the comic book world with a strong resume writing movie and television shows such as 12 Years a Slave and American Crime. His transition to the comic book world has been seamless as he has delivered stand out reading experiences with his work on The Other History Of The DC Universe and Future State: The Next Batman.
Now Ridley is bringing his talent to Marvel as he is taking over the ongoing adventures of Black Panther. Taking over for the strong run by Ta-Nehisi Coates on the series, Ridley will have a chance to further develop the world of Wakanda. Given that the Alex Ross covers normally tie into the history that writers tap into for the comics they are for it does look as though Ridley will be involving the entire Marvel Universe in his run. That includes possibly utilizing Storm as part of the greater narrative for his Black Panther run. It would make sense given the recent meeting between Black Panther and Storm leaving the pair on an odd note.
Also, further diving into the mythology around Wakanda is a strong place to start out a run. It will give Ridley a chance to explore more of the history that defines T’Challa and his family. This in turn could help those not familiar with Black Panther and Wankada outside of what the Marvel Cinematic Universe has presented thus far a chance to learn more about this world.
Tapping Juann Cabal as the artist joining Ridley on Black Panther is a strong choice. Cabal is one of the artists that Marvel has tapped as part of their Stormbreaker class, the artists seen as the future for the company. Adding Cabal to Black Panther along with Ridley shows that Marvel believes that he is an artist to continue watching. And based on his work on other Marvel comics Cabal will sure deliver great artwork.
SINISTER WAR CONCLUSION SHAKES SPIDER-MAN’S WORLD
Peter Parker has not been having the best time as of late. Ever since the Sin-Eater return story the life of Peter and those close to him has gotten more and more complicated thanks to Kindred. The Sinister War event looks to add to how tough things are for the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man up until the close.
What’ll be interesting to see is how much Kindred actually plays as the main antagonist for Sinister War. Because while the Amazing Spider-Man tie-in issues make it look as though Kindred is the main villain that does not look to be the full case given the main Sinister War mini-series. Based on the covers and solicitation information Doctor Octopus looks to be playing the key role of antagonist for what is taking place. Which adds further fuel to how Doctor Octopus is likely to be back to being a full-time villain after spending much of Dan Slott’s run playing both sides as the Superior Spider-Man/Superior Octopus.
Taking that into account I would not be surprised if Sinister War just acts as another short chapter in the greater Kindred storyline Nick Spencer has built over the course of his run. How much longer Spencer plans on stretching out Kindred as the main antagonist for his run on Amazing Spider-Man is something I do want to find out as we are getting close to 100 issues of this story.
X-MEN HELLFIRE GALA LEADS TO TRIAL OF MAGNETO
The Hellfire Gala looks like it will be an event that changes a lot things for the direction of the X-Men franchise moving forward. That is confirmed with not just the return of the X-Men as a superhero team but Magneto facing the consequences of being blamed for a murder that takes place during the Hellfire Gala. Who was the one killed during the Hellfire Gala is being kept a mystery for now.
Given how the Hellfire Gala is bringing the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and others to attend the Krakoan event the person murder could very well not be a mutant. Especially since the solicitation calls for the murder horrific and something that is splitting opinions on Krakoa it could be a hero with connections with the Avengers or another team. That would certainly complicate things as Krakoa hasn’t done the best job in gaining allies around the world, including in the superhero community.
Magneto being the one that is blamed and put on trial for the murder further complicates things. Magneto has a long history as a villain so he won’t be given the benefit of the doubt outside of Krakoa. And even in Krakoa it’ll be interesting to see who besides Charles Xavier will be on Magneto’s side trying to plead his innocence.
OLD MAN CABLE RETURNS
The Teenage Cable is a character that ran its course with where his arc went. That version of Cable certainly had his moments. Those moments mostly came from the relationship he shared with his family, Scott Summers, Jean Grey, and Rachel Grey. The Summers Family dynamic is always one of the most interesting aspects of the X-Men franchise. But the arc for Teen Cable is done and we can all celebrate the return of the John Connor of the Marvel Universe in old man Cable.
And right away it looks like old man Cable is returning to his old ways of doing things on his own. At the same time Cable seems to be staying away from any sort of family reunion as he is taking his mission to space to take part in the Last Annihilation event. This makes sense since the Teen Cable was established as part of SWORD. Continuing that role for old man Cable gives the character something different to do. It will also further help establish how the X-Men are dealing with space conflicts through SWORD and Cable’s solo adventures.
DEFENDERS RISE UP
Even as his iconic run on Immortal Hulk is reaching its end Al Ewing still has plenty of stories in mind within the Marvel Universe. And Marvel is loading up his work load with even more comic books. Along with writing Immortal Hulk, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the upcoming Cable: Reloaded series, Ewing is also working on Defenders. Three of these titles have a big tie to the Last Annihilation event that he is working on.
With the Defenders it’ll be interesting to see how much their mini-series ties into Last Annihilation. Because while the solicitation promises that it will be a cosmic story we could also see a dive into the magic corner of the Marvel Universe. That is a part of the Marvel Universe that only Strange Academy is currently exploring. Defenders could further tap into all things magic and how it works with the greater cosmic events.
NEW ERA BEGINS FOR BLACK WIDOW
Kelly Thompson and Elena Casgrande have been delivering great stories in their run on Black Widow. The recent issues have been pushing the narrative of Natasha Romanoff creating her own team of super spies. While Natasha has made it clear she is not looking to recreate the Red Room she does certainly have her eye on building something where she can teach others what she knows.
And with Black Widow #10 in August acting as the 50th total issue of a Black Widow solo comic book it could be a good time to debut what Natasha has planned. It would further position Natasha as a character with a legacy that isn’t just about her past. Building towards the future would be something different for Narasha and possibly help her finally let go of how much the Red Room has been part of her character thus far.
ALL-NEW DARKHAWK DEBUTS
Darkhawk is one of the characters that Marvel always seems to try to build hype around as we see him get an ongoing or mini-series every few years. But there is something about the character that has not fully caught on outside of the niche Darkhawk audience.
But now that could all very well change with Kyle Higgins working with Juanan Ramirez on a new Darkhawk mini-series. This new mini-series will feature a new teenage character in the form of Connor Young becoming Darkhawk. Higgins has shown with his work on Power Rangers that he knows how to write compelling teenage characters in larger than life cosmic scale stories. So Higgins could very well be the one to help Darkhawk become a breakout character and build a bigger fanbase around.
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