Marvel delivered their latest solicitations a week early as we learned about what they have planned for the final month of the year. One of the noticeable things that stick out immediately from Marvel’s December 2022 solicitations is the lack of follow-up of the A.X.E.: Judgment Day event. While the Avengers and X-Men franchise continue to go strong the Eternals are nowhere to be found.
But that may be due to Marvel already moving on and having the latest Timeless one-shot define the future of the Marvel Universe in 2023. Along with Spider-Man and X-Men franchises beginning their crossover event, there are a lot of things going on that the Eternals may be forgotten for now. Let’s dive into everything we can expect from Marvel in December 2022 based on their latest comic book solicitations.
NEVER TOO LATE FOR MARVEL’S TIMELESS
The original Timeless one-shot wasn’t the world-changing comic book that Marvel promoted it to be. Timeless was more about teasing what we would see in 2022, much of which came true. Now Marvel is at it again with a new Timeless one-shot that will be written by fast-rising star Jed Mackay with artwork by Salvador Larroca, Greg Land, and Patch Zircher.
Based on the solicitation Marvel is getting ready to go all in on making Kang the Conqueror a major character for 2023 and beyond. This is not at all surprising with how Kang the Conqueror is being set up to be the main antagonist for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Multiverse Saga. That started with Jonathan Majors appearing as Kang in the first season of Loki. Now Jonathan Majors as Kang will also be appearing in a much bigger capacity in the Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania movie set to release in February.
Given all that Marvel is at least trying to get ahead of the game by hyping up Kang the Conqueror, something they haven’t been great at in recent years with the MCU synergy. The question will be what kind of story is Kang the Conqueror being set up to have moving forward? Is it just to be positioned as the main antagonist for Marvel’s 2023 event? Or are there more long-term plans for Kang that stretches all the way through 2025, the final year of the MCU’s Multiverse Saga?
SPIDER-MAN AND X-MEN DRAWN INTO DARK WEB
When the Spider-Man and X-Men crossover event, Dark Web, was announced I was very intrigued at possibly reading it. This would be big since I have not been reading Zeb Wells’ Amazing Spider-Man run after the first issue was a strikeout. But while I was given Wells’ Amazing Spider-Man some consideration to give another shot thanks to the Dark Web crossover event that thinking has already changed. Rather than selling me on Dark Web and some, if not all its tie-ins, Marvel just completely turned me off to the event.
The major reason why is that there is no clear mini-series or checklist of the must-read issues to get what is going on in Dark Web. Instead, Marvel has made a mess of the Dark Web event by not making a clear path to the main comic books of the crossover. The direction they have instead chosen is to make it clear the reader has to read Amazing Spider-Man and all the Dark Web tie-ins to get the story.
It is a terrible decision to not have a dedicated mini-series or split the crossover between the issues of Amazing Spider-Man and X-Men during this period. In not clarifying Marvel accomplished the exact opposite for this new event as now I have no interest in buying 9 comic books that are part of this crossover event in December. There is no way to justify adding this many comic books to my pull list or cutting comic books on my pull list that I’m enjoying just to read Dark Web. Luckily the main X-Men ongoing series is staying away from this event as Marvel decided to have a Dark Web: X-Men mini-series to be part of that event.
TONY STARK BECOMES INVINCIBLE IRON MAN AGAIN
It’s been a long time since I consistently had an Iron Man comic book on my pull list. I’ve given every new Iron Man creative team a chance to grab me but none of them have since Matt Fraction’s run on the franchise. There has been a big disconnect with how Tony Stark has been presented as Iron Man. Tony more than any other Marvel character has been consistently soft rebooted with the same storyline of losing his company and creating a new one in order to maintain his wealth.
That is a cycle that I would hope Gerry Duggan, the new Invincible Iron Man writer, would end. Unfortunately, that does not look to be the case as the solicitation for Invincible Iron Man #1 talks all about the end of Tony Stark’s genius billionaire lifestyle. It’s not a new story whatsoever, no matter how much Duggan and Marvel try to sell it as being a fresh direction for Iron Man.
The only reason I will be giving Invincible Iron Man a shot is because of Duggan being the writer of the series. Duggan has grown a lot as a writer for Marvel. His current X-Men run has been a great mix of classic superhero storytelling with modern sensibilities. I hope Duggan leans into the fun of the Iron Man franchise rather than trying to tell his own version of Demon In A Bottle like every Iron Man writer has done before him.
MONICA RAMBEAU SPOTLIGHT AS PHOTON
Marvel has been taking it slow with bringing Monica Rambeau back as a major player even though it’s been known for years now that she would play a big role in the MCU. Even after Monica appeared in WandaVision we didn’t see much of Monica as Photon outside of guest appearances in Captain Marvel. But now finally Monica is getting the chance to shine just in time for her major role in the upcoming The Marvels movie.
Written by Eve Ewing and Michael Maria, the new Photon mini-series should reestablish her as a cosmic powerhouse and introduce new fans to the world around Monica. That is at least the hope as Monica Rambeau: Photon will likely be positioned as the starting point for her character like many Marvel mini-series timed with a major MCU release are. Hopefully Monica Rambeau: Photon does just that as she is a character with a ton of potential as a solo hero and part of the Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy.
CAN FIRESTAR BE ACCEPTED AS AN X-MEN
One of the most divisive roster decisions for the second X-Men team of the Krakoa Era was Firestar. While she is a mutant Firestar has not had the best relationship with her fellow mutants. Her past, specifically with Emma Frost, damaged the opinion she had of the X-Men, which extended to not working with helping out her fellow mutants even in the Krakoa era. And for a long time, Firestar has been positioned more as an Avenger, similar to Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.
During the Hellfire Gala, we got even more questions about where Firestar’s allegiance is even though she is part of the new X-Men team. A big reason for that questioning is Tony Stark approaching her to act as a spy for him in the X-Men and sell out Krakoa if she sees anything questionable. That certainly did not build any positive outlook for Firestar’s spot on the team for X-Men fans.
Now with the X-Men Annual #1, we will see Firestar get the spotlight as Steve Foxe and Andrea Di Vito will modernize her history with the X-Men franchise. This story is definitely needed since Firestar is coming in more as a brand new character than a long-time part of the X-Men. How this sets up Firestar’s arc in the main X-Men series will be interesting to see.
ABIGAIL BRAND ENDGAME BEGINS
One of the long-term storylines that have been developed during the Krakoa Era for the X-Men franchise is Abigail Brand’s alliance with them. As we learned at the end of the recent SWORD series Abigail Brand is working as a double agent as she is actually working with Orchis to eliminate mutants from the inside. That is something that has been escalating as of late with Abigail Brand not being as careful about her partnership with Krakoa as she originally was.
With all the tension rising Al Ewing will bring this storyline to the forefront as Abigail Brand will begin her endgame in X-Men: Red #9. With how much information she has gained there is no telling what kind of damage Abigail Brand can do now that she is going for her endgame. Vulcan could very well be the biggest wild card given her manipulation of him. Whatever the case is X-Men: Red looks to be continuing to be the must-read series in the franchise.
THOR NEW TITLE: FAMILY BABYSITTER
A writer that Marvel fans should already know is Torunn Grønbekk. Grønbekk is a rising talent working for Marvel as she has worked on some of the best comic books for the company as of late. Grønbekk has done a lot of work with the Thor franchise, having written the recent series starring Jane Foster. She has shown to be extremely talented and Marvel would be wise in giving her more ongoing work as she could do very well on a major franchise.
For now, Grønbekk is going to continue to get a chance to show her skill as a writer as she steps in as the guest writer for a new story arc in the current Thor ongoing. Given Grønbekk’s strong history with the Thor franchise, she is the perfect choice to step in for Donny Cates while continuing all the developments that have been going on in this series.
Based on the solicitation for Thor #29 Grønbekk will be diving into how Thanos will play a major role in Cates’s grand narrative for the series. Thor being the babysitter for his baby sister Laussa it looks like things will get out of control and Thanos will play a role. How that ends up leading to the dark future we saw in Thor’s vision will be interesting to see.
DOCTOR STRANGE RETURNS FROM THE DEAD
If you thought that Stephen Strange would stay dead you were just fooling yourself. It was only a matter of time before Doctor Strange reappeared alive and well. He is too much of a key to what Marvel Studios is doing to not be a major player in the comic books.
The question for Strange #9 is what role Doctor Strange will serve upon his return. Clea has proven herself as the Sorcerer Supreme. And we know Doctor Strange is comfortable with others stepping into the Sorcerer Supreme role as it gives him a bit more freedom. It wouldn’t be surprising if Stephen had Clea continue on her current path. Though his much older look on the cover for Strange #9 could mean we are going to see a lot of tension between Stephen and Clea when the former returns.
DAREDEVIL VS AVENGERS
Leading The Fist together has not been easy for Matt Murdock and Elektra Natchios. They haven’t really gotten started with The Fist’s mission of taking down The Hand. Though that will change fast after Matt learned about the Punisher being part of The Hand. That was a game-changing revelation that could change the way he and Elektra approach taking down The Hand.
Their planning does not appear to be going smoothly as Elektra will be involved with something in Daredevil #6 that could threaten everything they are trying to do with The Fist. Making things worse for Matt and Elektra is that whatever goes down in Daredevil #6 it looks like it will put them into conflict against the Avengers. That would change a lot of what Matt and Elektra have to worry about the Avengers, who likely have no idea what is going on with The Hand which will lead them to make a lot of assumptions as is customary with them.