With the holidays upon us Marvel released their March 2022 solicitations a bit earlier than normal for monthly comic book solicitations. And as we saw with their January and February 2022 solicitations it, March is a month of endings and new beginnings. The entire Q1 2022 for Marvel appears to be setting the stage for what the rest of the year will be for Spider-Man, X-Men, Avengers, and other major franchises.
TEAMS CHANGING AS THE IMMORTAL X-MEN RISE
With Jonathan Hickman’s run on the X-Men franchise coming to an end in January with Inferno #4 Marvel has slowly unveiled what their plans for the X-Men will be. March gives us our best look at the post-Hickman era for the franchise in the form of what is being dubbed “The Second Krakoan Age of X-Men: Destiny of X” direction begins. Unlike how past epic runs on the X-Men have been, such as Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run, Marvel will be continuing the Krakoa direction for the franchise. It is just getting something of a reset as the impact of Inferno, Trial of Magneto, and X Lives Of Wolvernie/X Deaths Of Wolverine all will have a big impact on the way the franchise will go.
March begins this The Second Krakoan Age of X-Men: Destiny Of X direction as the entire X-Men line is relaunched except for the core X-Men team book. All other X-Men titles that we’ve had running post-House of X/Powers of X are either getting relaunched or replaced by other titles. Comics like Marauders and X-Force will continue on while new titles like Legion of X and X-Men: Red will launch in place of other comics.
The most notable new title that is launching for the first wave in March is Immortal X-Men by the creative team of Kieron Gillen and Lucas Werneck. This will be the first title that will completely focus on the Quiet Council of Krakoa. And due to the events of Inferno and Trial of Magneto we know that the Quiet Council is no longer the same when they first started. The biggest noticeable change looks to be the fact that Magneto will no longer be a member of the Quiet Council. That is a big shift given how important the relationship between Charles Xavier and Magneto has been in guiding where Krakoa has gone. This could mean we see Magneto become an outside player in Immortal X-Men or part of another title, possibly bringing back what his previous base of Asteroid M.
PEGGY CARTER AND MILES MORALES EXPLORE CAPTAIN AMERICA LEGACY
As I get older exploring the legacy of a character is something that has fascinated me as a fan. Especially with how long so many characters that have been around for 60+ years I find it cool to examine what their legacy means through other characters. Whether its other current characters stepping up in the iconic roles or new characters assuming the mantle, it speaks to the importance of a character’s legacy that it continues on even if they aren’t around.
Which is why it is so interesting to see how Marvel has chosen to tap into the Captain America character through various mini-series. We are still without an ongoing Captain America series since the previous volume ended earlier this year. And that is the case in the first part of 2022. In the place of an ongoing Captain America series we are seeing Peggy Carter and Miles Morales exploring what it means to pick up the shield.
For Peggy Carter her Captain Carter version will finally get her own mini-series. We all know this was going to happen given the success of the Captain Carter character from the What If…? Disney+ animated series. Giving her character a mini-series just further drives home how much of breakout character Peggy Carter has become thanks to the MCU and Hayley Atwell’s performance.
With Miles Morales it is interesting that out of all the character variant covers we recently got celebrating his character that the Captain America version will be getting a one-shot. The costume reminds me a lot of Bucky Barnes’ Captain America costume. I like this type of one-shot where Miles destiny in every world isn’t directly tied to becoming Spider-Man or a some version of that hero. Seeing Miles become Captain America is a way to explore the character and the Captain America legacy in a different way.
DAVID MICHELINIE RETURNS TO VENOM
When it comes to the creators I credit for making me a comic book fan David Michelinie is right up there. Michelinie’s work on Amazing Spider-Man and Iron Man is what made sure that the interest I got from the 90s animated cartoons continued on as I discovered the comic book form. Even now going back to Michelinie’s other work there is an iconic feel to the way he wrote so many different Marvel characters.
Which is why seeing Michelinie return to Marvel and one of his original creations of Venom something that immediately caught my eye. Michelinie’s Venom is one of my favorite versions of the character. With Venom becoming increasingly popular as the months go by it is great that Michelinie is returning to write a new story involving the character.
This move will only help the profile of the Venom franchise, which is growing as Ram V’s run on the franchise will expand as he will also be working on a Carnage series. This is one of those titles that you knew it was only a matter of time Marvel would launch. Especially after the most recent Venom movie featuring the character so prominently a Carnage series was a no doubt. It’ll be interesting to see how Ram V coordinates the work he will do on both Venom and Carnage as his run progresses.
CLEA BECOMES NEW SORCERER SUPREME
The direction for Doctor Strange is an interesting one. Because with the current Death of Doctor Strange Marvel planned on the event to coincide with the November 5, 2021 release date for Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness. But like most things in this pandemic era Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness was delayed to May 6, 2022. While the movie was delayed Marvel didn’t delay their comic book plans for Doctor Strange.
Now because of that we find the Doctor Strange franchise entering a 2022 without Stephen Strange in the Marvel Universe. Now in his place Clea, Stephen Strange’s former disciple and love interest, will be assuming the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme in a new Strange title by Jed Mackay and Marcelo Ferreira. As a creative team Marvel put together an excellent one for Strange. Jed Mackay’s work on Black Cat was excellent and Marcelo Ferreira’s artwork is always consistently well done. So I’m not worried about the creative direction. Marvel editorial is another question.
Given the timing of this new Strange title with Clea as the series lead Marvel can’t simply make her a temporary replacement with Stephan Strange miraculously returning the by the time Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness releases. If Marvel wants to make this move work and genuinely elevate Clea’s character as the new Sorcerer Supreme they need to show commitment to the direction.
PUNISHER NEW LOGO
Rokk already detailed his thoughts on the new Punisher logo that Marvel will debut for the new Frank Castle series. Now I’ll admit I’m never against a logo revamp if the logo keeps to the core of what makes the original so iconic. And you won’t find many comic book logos more iconic in design than Punisher’s. The problem with the new logo Marvel has debut for Punisher is that it looks like a generic clip art version of the logo. The immediate feeling I get from the logo is that it will be temporary and Frank Castle will go back to his original logo after a story arc or two.
That said, if there is one writer I have confidence in writing an excellent Punisher series is Jason Aaron. While I haven’t been wild about his work on the Avengers, when it comes to solo comic book series Aaron is the best around that is in Marvel’s creative line-up. His Punisher will no doubt bring the excellent quality of what previous creators have done with titles starring Frank Castle.
WOMEN OF MARVEL ONE-SHOT
Before I get on my soapbox for the bigger picture I do have to give Marvel credit for assembling a great amount of creative talent for their Women Of Marvel one-shot in March 2022. Mirka Andolfo, Jordie Bellaire, and Preeti Chhibber are great writers and Zoe Thorogood, Jen Bartel, and Marguerite Sauvage is always consistently some of the best comic book artwork around. So I have no doubt these creators and others providing stories for Women of Marvel will make this one-shot as well done as the stories we got throughout 2021 in Marvel Voices.
That said, at some point Marvel has to do more than just giving us these one-shots that showcase the all these great characters. Much like Marvel Voices, Women of Marvel just highlights how many excellent characters Marvel has that could be major players in their universe and carry their own titles. The grace period for getting the pat on the back for these types of one-shots is long over. If Marvel wants to actually show dedication to elevating characters featured in these one-shots we should see more effort put into promoting them in solo ongoings or mini-series. Marvel has way too many great characters and creative talent that can be tapped to elevate the entire Marvel Universe with a greater library of excellent comic books.
END OF AMAZING SPIDER-MAN BEYOND ERA
The biggest surprise that has come out of Marvel’s March 2022 solicitations is learning that the Amazing Spider-Man Beyond era will end after only six months. While six months does feel like a short time the Spider-Man Beyond Board of Zeb Wells, Saladin Ahmed, Cody Ziglar, Kelly Thompson, and Patrick Gleason did more than 20 issues for their run in its current form. That is more than the majority of comic books get to tell their big direction for a character or universe.
With the end of the Spider-Man Beyond direction Zeb Wells, Saladin Ahmed, Cody Ziglar, Kelly Thompson, and Patrick Gleason will be concluding things with Peter Parker and Ben Reilly facing off. If the solicitations are to be believe it looks like they will be positioning Peter as the antagonist while Ben is the protagonist for this fight. Which honestly will not work out well for Ben Reilly given that at the end of the day Peter Parker is so beloved.
What’ll be interesting to see is whoever comes out still being Spider-Man when the Beyond direction is done is who the creative team will be in April for Amazing Spider-Man. Given the suddenness for the conclusion of the Spider-Man Beyond direction this creative team that Marvel has scheduled for Amazing Spider-Man has to be a big one. Whoever it is Amazing Spider-Man is certainly a title to keep an eye on in 2022.
DEVIL’S REIGN DRAMATIC END
It looks like one of the stories that will quietly end in March will be Devil’s Reign. Marvel doesn’t seem to be making a big deal out of the end of Devil’s Reign. At least not as big of deal as one would expect from the conclusion of a big blockbuster event. Which I’m not sure speaks to how big the other things Marvel has planned in March or just how they view Devil’s Reign as not as big as fans of the event believe it to be.
Whatever the case maybe it’ll be interesting to see how Devil’s Reign will conclude. Afterall the ending for Devil’s Reign could have long lasting effects on the Marvel Universe, moreso than usual Marvel blockbuster events. That is particularly the case with what the status quo for Wilson Fisk will be. Depending on how Devil’s Reign ends we could see Wilson Fisk fast tracked to becoming the new President of the United State, return to being the Kingpin of Crime, or something else entirely. Fans of the Marvel Universe certainly should keep an eye out for how Devil’s Reign ending could impact many titles moving forward.
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