Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rick Remender's Marvel Universe

Rick Remender has quickly become a favorite writer of mine in Marvel Comics. I cautiously jumped on board for his Uncanny X-Force series - and found out in the first issue what an amazing writer he was. He brings a level of weirdness mixed with realism to his stories - coupled with entertaining and emotionally fulfilling characters. Remender took on a second title, Venom, re-inventing the character as a government super-agent. Both series so far have just been incredible, in both depth and scope.

Now Remender has been given a new title - Secret Avengers. Along with phenomenal artist Gabriel Hardman (off his successful stint on "Hulk"), the two are set to take over the series this January, with a "Point One" issue serving to welcome new fans.

The series originally focused on Steve Rogers' group of clandestine super-heroes, pro-actively tackling threats to the world. Since having to take on the mantle of Captain America again - working dangerous secretive ops isn't feasible, so Hawkeye is being put in charge of the group.

Having Hawkeye lead the team seems like a nice twist. It's also very advantageous, as with the upcoming Avengers movie Hawkeye is going to be getting a bit more attention, along with any title he's on. (He's also having a costume-change, to match him more to the movie-look. But beyond that, it's still the same Hawkeye.)

Already, at the New York Comic Con, Remender is talking about some VERY ambitious plans for the series. (Click here for the article) Captain Britain is going to joining the team - and along with him, the entire Omni-verse, and all the history that goes along with that, will be dealt with.

Already in Uncanny X-Force, which has already seen it's fair share of Alternate-Reality adventures, will see the Captain Britain Corps make an appearance.

Since this is going to be a super-powered secret agent series, characters with covert and stealth experience are going to be important - so Venom instantly seems like an easy choice.

So far from preview art, it looks like a number of characters from Steve Rogers' team are still going to be onboard -- Antman, Beast, Valkyire, and Black Widow remain. I don't know what the preview art, showing a Human Torch, is suppose to mean. It could be the robot human torch, or an alternate reality version of the now dead Johnny Storm. (Though, knowing Marvel, that might not be the case for very long.)

Instantly I just love this cast - especially Beast, who Remender has shown he can writer very well, having tackled the alternate reality Dark Beast in Uncanny X-Force. This feels like such good news - as it's yet another series Remender is going to be able to use as a vehicle to do stories the other main titles usually can't. While all the titles, I think, have only coincidently taken on similar themes of secret super-hero black ops - it's a theme that Remender has constantly taken full advantage of - simply giving us stories that are well worth your money.

The future for Uncanny X-Force, while bleak at the moment, knee deep in the Dark Angel Saga, has a bright future ahead, as the series has become a fan favorite smash success. With Wolverine drawing a line in the sand between him and the increasingly libertarian Cyclops, the new "Wolverine and the X-Men" series promises to make Uncanny X-Force (Wolverine's special ops team) very important going ahead.

In the pages of Venom Flash Thompson has been tackling a heroic struggle against himself, as he tries to battle the addictive and destructive effects of using the Venom Symbiote.

Recently the Venom series tied in significantly with the Spider-Man cross over "Spider Island". Flash was tasked with finding a cure for the out-breaking rocking Manhattan (where everyone is turning into Spiders), and found Anti-Venom (Eddie Brock, former host for the Symbiote) having the cure to the disease. Anti-Venom sought to cure Flash of the Symbiote's influence, but Eddie soon found himself being once again consumed by it. Even though, for his own well being getting rid of the symbiote would be the best thing for Flash - he still has a mission to accomplish, so like taking another shot of heroin, he convinces the symbiote to bond with him again.

The theme of addiction is prevalent in the series, as among the super-heroic spy missions it remains Flash's greatest adversary. His former problem of turning to alcohol is another factor due to come up.

I can't wait to see what Remender has planned in the pages of Secret Avengers. With the movie coming, which I'm sure if going to be a big hit, I hope that helps bolster the series - and allow Remender to remain writing such great series.

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