December will be a big month for Marvel. For the X-Men franchise we will see the Fall of X storyline start to wrap up to make way for Fall of the House of X and Rise of the Powers of X in 2024. Then with Spider-Man we will see the latest Gang War that will take over New York City begin. With Marvel’s two big franchises leading the way this strong what else should we expect in December? Find out with our breakdown of the biggest takeaways from Marvel’s December 2023 comic book solicitations
TIME RUNS OUT FOR MOON KNIGHT
For the first time since starting Timeless one-shots to end the year Jed Mackay won’t be writing it. Mackay wrote the first two Timeless but now former Captain America writers Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly are taking over writing duties for the one-shot.
What makes this change so notable is the lead character this time around isn’t Kang the Conquerer. Rather we will get a pair of leads in Moon Knight and Power Man, who somehow has the powers of Setry, Hulk, and Iron Fist. The choice of Luke Cage in particular stands out as Marvel has not done anything with the character since Brian Bendis left the company.
The Timeless 2023 one-shot is also being timed with Marvel teasing the death of Marc Spector’s Moon Knight. We see that tease in two ways. One with Moon Kight #30, the final issue of the volume, speaking on Marc Spector’s life being in danger. Then with the new Vengeance of the Moon Knight series first issue teasing a new person will become the Fist of Khonshu. With how much Marvel loves replacing their iconic heroes there is little doubt that they are transforming Moon Knight to be a mantle character.
SPIDER-MAN GANG WAR BEGINS
After over a year of build the Gang War storyline that Zeb Wells has been building towards a secondary main plot in his Amazing Spider-Man run will begin. Marvel’s approach for Spider-Man events has been trending to not being contained to Amazing Spider-Man or a specific event mini-series. As with the Amazing Spider-Man and X-Men crossover, Dark Web, last year Marvel is going with a non-linear approach for Gang War.
The story will be told over the course of multiple comics. Both the Amazing Spider-Man and Miles Morales: Spider-Man ongoing comics will be involved. Then we have new Daredevil, Shang-Chi, Spider-Woman, and Luck Cage mini-series that will also tie-in to Gang War.
With this approach Marvel clearly wants Gang War to making the comics for Shang-Chi, Spider-Woman, and Luck Cage comics to sell better than they normal do. Amazing Spider-Man has been a strong seller with Miles Morales: Spider-Man also consistently selling well, as seen in the available comic book sales rankings. If Gang Wars catches on maybe all its tie-ins have a shot. Though that’s not something I’ll be holding on to hope for given how Zeb Wells’ Amazing Spider-Man has gone.
X-MEN FALL OF X FINAL STAGES
The Fall of X storyline has been a game changer for the Krakoa Era of the X-Men. Everything has been leading to the end of Krakoa, which Marvel recently confirmed with the announcement of Fall of the House of X and Rise of the Powers of X series for 2024. Which makes the X-Men franchise’s solicitations for December standout even more. Across the board most of the ongoings appear to be ending their story arcs and all Fall of X mini-series final issues release in December.
Given the timing December will solidify the foundation for what Fall of the House of X and Rise of the Powers of X will be in 2024. The solicitations for X-Force #47 particularly stand out. With X-Force #47 there is the mention of Quentin Quirre making a big discovery about 2023’s Hellfire Gala. This could play a key part of the direction post-Fall of X.
Then there is the solicitation of X-Men #29 where we see Doctor Doom assembling his own X-Men of Latveria. Given the timing of the debut of Doctor Doom’s X-Men the Fantastic Four villain could be set-up to play a big role in Fall of the House of X and Rise of the Powers of X. Which is something that has been teased since Hickman’s X-Men run. There was an emphasis on Doctor Doom hating what Krakoa is doing. With what Orchis accomplished we could see Doctor Doom team up with the organization to fully annihilate Krakoa.
THOR CORPS ASSEMBLE
Over the years one solo ongoing series that has had a big event feel with every issue is Thor’s series. Jason Aaron’s run really defined the modern day epic scope for the character. That continued with Donny Cates run. Now Al Ewing is taking things his predecessors did to the next level with the introduction of the Thor Corps.
Not are Jane Foster Thor, Beta Ray Bill, and Loki included on the team but we also see the Storm version of Thor. That is some impressive power that Thor has assemble for his own personal superhero team. Given the Thor Corps power level it further elevates the larger than life threat that the Elder God of Thunder poses to the Marvel Universe. It really does put into question of what will happen if the Thor Corps aren’t enough to stop the Elder God of Thunder than who can?
UNCANNY AVENGERS LEARN CAPTAIN KRAKOA IDENTITY
Staying on the Fall of X train, one of the big things that will happen in December is the reveal of who Captain Krakoa is. This has been a mystery since the X-Men’s Free Comic Book Day 2023 issue. In that comic book the new Captain Krakoa made his presence known with his attempted murder of Cyclops and burning down the X-Men’s Treehouse headquarters. Since then Captain Krakoa has been the lead villain in the Uncanny Avengers mini-series.
Now with the final issue of Uncanny Avengers we will learn who Captain Krakoa is. Given the look of the back of Captain Krakoa’s unmasked head the character that comes to mind is the Captain Hydra version of Steve Rogers. That development would further tie into Captain America doing more to help the X-Men this time around. And Marvel loves recycling characters even if they are from a heavily disliked storyline. There are very few characters other than Captain Hydra Steve Rogers’ wish to forget more. Which makes him perfect for who Captain Krakoa turns out to be.
SPIDER-GWEN SMASHING RETURN
After spending time in the main Earth-616 Marvel Universe it looks like Spider-Gwen will be returning to her universe in Earth-65 with a brand new mini-series. Titled Spider-Gwen Smash, this new Gwen Stacy mini-series is ditching all the Spider-Verse adventuring for a band trip. That’s right, the Mary Janes are back and ready to take their music on the road.
It’s going to be refreshing to see Spider-Gwen back on Earth-65. While its been cool to see her interact with Peter Parker and Miles Morales that has run its course. Which has been obvious with how Marvel has quickly gone away from the who Gwen attending Earth-616 Empire State University angle over a year ago.
Melissa Flores has already proven with her Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Dead Lucky series that she is one of the most talent writers in the industry. Marvel tapping her to write Spider-Gwen Smash is a no brainer. This will hopefully be the first of many Marvel comics that she will write in the future.
BUCKY BARNES LEADS NEW THUNDERBOLTS
Coming off their Captain America run, Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing are being given the chance to continue that work through their new Thunderbolts mini-series. From a creative standpoint, Kelly and Lanzing’s Captain America run was not a commercial success. The reviews were also average for their run. So the expectations are low for this new Thunderbolts series.
As with Sentry, the thing Thunderbolts has going for them is that it is a four issue mini-series. Marvel reducing lengths of mini-series to four issues is a smart plan. This hopefully means Thunderbolts will focus on telling a cool espionage mission for the team.
This new Thunderbolts roster is at least impressive. Having a roster of Bucky Barnes, Black Widow, White Widow, Sharon Carter’s Destroyer, Red Guardian, U.S. Agent, and Shang-Chi is a great line-up. They are all badass fighters in the own right and have espionage training as well. Hopefully that cool spy thriller is the direction the Thunderbolts go with.
SENTRY CORP RISE UP
Of all the characters in their library Sentry is arguably the hero who Marvel have failed to get to catch on with their fans. Marvel has consistently tried to make Sentry into something of their version of Superman for two decades now. Nothing Marvel has done, including making Sentry part of the Avengers has worked.
Given all the failure it looks like since Bob Reynolds Setry has been a failure its time to try something different. And by different Marvel means doing the mantle swap thing. Though this time rather than a new Sentry we are getting a group of new Sentry heroes.
From initial impressions the greatest strength for this Sentry series will be that it is only four issues. So that hopefully means Jason Loo and Luigi Zagaria tell a focused story that cuts out all the fat we normally see from Marvel mini-series.