Marvel Comics February 2023 Solicitations Analysis

Marvel looks to continue to build out the foundation for their 2023 in the first few months of the year. We see that with February the franchise Marvel is specifically leaning on is the X-Men franchise the most. Not only will the X-Men be involved in their own crossover event they will also be involved with major storylines involving Spider-Man and Captain Marvel’s respective ongoing titles. What else does Marvel have planned at the beginning of 2023? Let’s take a look by breaking down the notable things in Marvel 2023 solicitations.


Immoral X-Men #1 Cover
Immoral X-Men #1 cover by Leinil Francis Yu. Credit: Marvel Comics

In the fallout from Sins Of Sinister will be heavily felt by the X-Men franchise as Immortal X-Men, X-Men: Red, and Legion of X are no were to be found in Marvel’s February 2023 solicitations. In their place we have Immoral X-Men, Storm & The Brotherhood Of Mutants, and Nightcrawlers taking their place. Immoral X-Men, Storm & The Brotherhood Of Mutants, and Nightcrawlers are all three issue mini-series with Kieron Gillen, Al Ewing, and Si Spurrier, respectively, are all working on the series replacing their ongoings.

The Sins Of Sinister timeline being told over the course of three mini-series is a great way to explore this new Marvel Universe that’s being created. What makes this even more compelling is that we will be seeing X-Men such as Emma Frost, Storm, Nightcrawler, and Wolverine in new roles. Because of the genetic alterations Sinister is making and clones he has created we’ll see what really happens if Mister Sinister truly ran with his full plans.

While both Storm & The Brotherhood Of Mutants and Nightcrawlers sound great the series that immediately caught my attention was Immoral X-Men. The cover alone with Emma Frost pinning Mister Sinister down while having a chain tightly wrapped around his neck is a statement maker. Seeing what a more killer Emma Frost will do sells me on that series alone. It then extends to the other two series in this direction as it appears Sins Of Sinister is creating one of the darker Marvel Universe timelines we have seen.


Dark Web Finale #1 cover
Dark Web Finale #1 cover by Adam Kubert. Credit: Marvel Comics

While Dark Web is an event that stars Spider-Man and the X-Men the final issue of the event promises to change New York City when all is said and done. Now this isn’t something new for a major crossover. We’ve seen many events promise to change the current landscape of New York City in the past.

That is not to say Dark Web Finale can’t have an impact on the current state of New York City. Marvel isn’t helping any by having both Amazing Spider-Man and X-Men titles that release after Dark Web Finale don’t seem to deal with the direct aftermath. The Amazing Spider-Man issue after Dark Web even has Peter Parker and Felicia Hardy taking off on a vacation. That is not the best thing to show Dark Web’s greater importance.

This further indicates that Marvel really has no plan for changes they’ve made with a lot of their big events. Because if they did we would see things like Luke Cage being the Mayor of New York City post Devil’s Reign or whatever happens in Dark Web immediately addressed. It’s a shame because there is a lot of story possibilities that Marvel just continues to fail to follow-up on, just ask the Eternals who are nowhere to be found post-A.X.E.: Judgment Day.


X-Men #19 and Captain Marvel #46 connected cover by Juan Frigeri. Credit: Marvel Comics

There is no time for the X-Men to rest and deal with what is going on with Krakoa. After the A.X.E.: Judgment Day and Dark Web crossover events the X-Men are being placed in another big crossover. This time the X-Men will be teaming up with Captain Marvel to deal with the latest deal with the Brood latest plans to takeover the Marvel Universe.

More than anything this is another example of how Marvel is really leaning on the X-Men’s popularity to help other franchises out. Say what you want about how various X-Men titles are selling but its clear Marvel wants the X-Men’s popularity to help franchises like the Avengers and Eternals. This latest crossover with Captain Marvel is yet another example.

Though to their credit this isn’t coming out of nowhere. The Brood have been a threat the X-Men have been dealing with for a long time. They even went up against the Brood during Jonathan Hickman’s run. With the X-Men franchise being more involved in galactic politics and conflicts the Brood are a classic threat for them to go up against. And Captain Marvel is someone that makes sense to help the X-Men out on this as she should be positioned to be involved in things going on outside of Earth as well. This storyline should further help get Captain Marvel involved with how things are changing outside of Earth.


Avengers: End Times - Marvel Tales #1 Cover
Avengers: End Times – Marvel Tales #1 cover by Nick Bradshaw. Credit: Marvel Comics

After spending years away working on various DC Comics and indie projects Brian Michael Bendis is returning to Marvel Comics with Avengers: End Times – Marvel Tales. By the looks of it Brian Bendis isn’t returning to Marvel on a full-time basis like he was before. Rather this is more of a freelance thing for now. It may be that we see Bendis going the Grant Morrison, Jonathan Hickman, and Geoff Johns route of working on special projects that may or may not be in their own continuity.

Based on the solicitation Avengers: End Times – Marvel Tales it is not exactly clear. That is because while it teases a new Avengers story in a new continuity there is also talks about reprinting the final issues of Bendis’ Avengers run. Hopefully if this is really an anthology series that Bendis is telling new Avengers stories with various artist there isn’t this reliance on reprints. That would hamper the entire experience. It would also make the $7.99 price tag completely unacceptable when you can easily find the issues reprinted in Avengers: End Times – Marvel Tales in the Marvel Unlimited subscription service.


Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain #1 cover
Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain #1 cover by Erica D’Urso. Credit: Marvel Comics

Since House of X and Powers of X one character that has benefited the most from the latest X-Men direction is Betsy Braddock. Betsy has starred as the lead in several team titles and was even a star in the Swords of X event. In that time Betsy has broken away from being known as Psylocke, since Kwannon now has full control of her body again, and has become the new Captain Britain.

Now it looks like all the character building has led to Betsy Braddock getting her own solo title. This will be the real test for Betsy Braddock’s character if she can lead her own solo title. There is no Excalibur or other legacy X-Men title to help sell this new series. Though we will Rachel Summers and Captain Avalon be part of the supporting cast based on the cover. So there will still be the X-Men ties.


Bishop: War College #1 cover
Bishop: War College #1 cover by Ken Lashley. Credit: Marvel Comics

A character that the X-Men editors and others in charge of the franchise direction have really failed has been Bishop. At the end of Jonathan Hickman’s run it appeared as though Bishop was set up to be a major player after taking Cyclops position as Captain Commander of Krakoa. That meant not only is Bishop the leader of Krakoa’s War Captains but had as much power in the mutant country as the members of the Quiet Council. That is something the X-Men editors have failed to follow up on even in recent big X-Men events.

Now it looks as though the X-Men editors are going to give Bishop the spotlight he has long been overdue to receive with a new mini-series titled Bishop: War College. Bishop: War College will feature Armor, Surge, Cam Long, Aura Charles, and Amass as students that Bishop will be training to be a new core X-Men team with any one of them possibly be a War Captain-in-training for Krakoa.

This is a great use of Bishop’s character as we get to see him mentor the next generation of X-Men while continuing his role as Captain Commander. What all of this ends up leading to is something I am very intrigued by.


Fantastic Four #4 cover
Fantastic Four #4 cover by Alex Ross. Credit: Marvel Comics

At the end of Fantastic Four #1 we learned that Reed Richards did something so catastrophic that the crater left in the middle of New York City turned everyone against the Fantastic Four. The next two issues of Fantastic Four will be spent on showing us what is going on with Johnny Storm, Reed Richards, and Sue Storm. Now we know we will finally learn what happened to turn everyone against the Fantastic Four in February.

What we likely learn in the next few issues is what the attitude towards the Fantastic Four really are. Because in Fantastic Four Ben Grimm and Alicia Masters-Grimm were able to get away from all that thanks to the Groundhog Day adventure they went on. Seeing what the real impact of whatever Reed Richards did is going to be very interesting to see play out.

What standing the Fantastic Four have within the Marvel Universe is something I also hope we find out. Because showing the Avengers, X-Men, and others response to what Reed did will add more importance to this story. Especially with all the other bigger things going on having that connection to other events will make the story better.


The Invincible Iron Man #3 cover
The Invincible Iron Man #3 cover by Kael Ngu. Credit: Marvel Comics

Gerry Duggan does not appear to be holding anything back with how he is starting his Iron Man run. Because starting with The Invincible Iron Man #3 a Tony Stark: Murder storyline will begin as Tony is being blamed for someone’s death. Setting up this big mystery right away is a good way for Duggan to show that he is not just going down the Demon In A Bottle route for Iron Man. We’ve seen that storyline recycled far too often.

Based on the cover Duggan appears to be giving Tony a possible Walter White-like storyline. Whether that means we will see Tony acting more like a villain with what he is doing does catch my interest. We’ve seen Tony make a lot of questionable moves in the past but they’ve largely been played off as part of his superhero direction. If what Tony does makes everything about him change that would be new.

Though this does seem to be a trend with many Marvel heroes as of late. We are seeing with Spider-Man and Fantastic Four that they have been placed in spots where they aren’t seen favorably by others. Iron Man joining that trend does create a question as to what greater story that Marvel is creating in 2023.


Red Goblin #1 cover
Red Goblin #1 cover by InHyuk Lee. Credit: Marvel Comics

If it wasn’t enough that Peter Parker is now using Green Goblin tech as Spider-Man, Dr. Kafka turning into Queen Goblin, Hobgoblin returing, and Norman Osborn becoming Gold Goblin we have Normie Osborn being transformed into Red Goblin. That’s right, the young Normie Osborn is following in his grandfather and father’s footsteps by becoming the Red Goblin. All ensuring the horrible Green Goblin legacy will go on to live strong in the Osborn family.

To be fair to Red Goblin creative team, Alex Paknadel and Jan Bazaldua, this is a storyline for Normie Osborn that has been in development for a long time. Starting in the Parker Industries era and followed up in the King In Black event, we’ve seen that Normie Osborn has part of the Carnage symbiote within him. So Red Goblin is finally paying off a sub-plot that has long been in development within the various Spider-Man comic books.

But while that can say that it does not make fans overlook the fact that Marvel is driving the Green Goblin into the ground more than ever. And that is without the actual Green Goblin around. It reads as if Marvel noticed how much DC Comics is driving Joker into the ground, deciding to do the same thing with Green Goblin. With all they are doing with the Green Goblin legacy they are truly robbing making whenever Norman obviously returns to that villain role have no impact whatsoever. And even if Norman never returns as Green Goblin there is a lot damage being done to any related character with how many Goblin characters are around now.