I have something new on shelves almost every week. And so, each week, I'll update this page with covers and a few words on the new releases so you can know what to look for. As always, thank you for reading!
It’s a three-book Wednesday for me! Poe Dameron #26, Daredevil #601, and CURSE WORDS #13! I feel like they should declare a national holiday every Wednesday when an issue of Curse Words hits, but apparently not enough people in the executive or legislative branches agree with me. That’s fine, though – we’ve still got the judicial. That’s right… we can sue! Take it all the way to the Supreme Court! The fact that you still have to go to school or work on a day when Curse Words comes out is a national disgrace, a violation of your rights, and I WON’T STAND FOR IT.
So, yeah, uh, stay tuned on that. I’m on it.
But lawsuits take time, so for the moment, let’s just talk about what’s out today. (As always, click on any image in the post to purchase the issue from Midtown Comics, the amazing NYC shop that's been my LCS for ages.) First up, Poe Dameron #26! Written by me, art by the ever-amazing Angel Unzueta, colors by Arif Prianto, letters by Joe Caramagna and this killer cover by Phil Noto:
This issue begins the next story arc in the series, “The Awakening.” While the series so far was set before The Force Awakens, this issue finally moves our book into movie territory. And, actually… past it. A bunch of this arc (which lasts through #31) is actually set after The Last Jedi, and so is our first glimpse at a post-Episode VIII Star Wars Galaxy. I believe this is the first SW-related storytelling to be set after TLJ, and it’s pretty exciting to be the fellow who’s working in that space. There are three primary points to “The Awakening” story: (i) that little glimpse post-VIII (which includes things like Poe, Rey and Finn all hanging out, more Leia, and PORGS), (ii) filling in some holes in the story that The Force Awakens didn’t examine, or looking at them from a new perspective, and (iii) finally answering the question as to what the hell Snap Wexley, Jess Pava, Karé Kun and Suralinda Javos were up to during The Last Jedi.
I was actually pretty shocked when I got the approval for this, because we’re working in an area of Star Wars that’s still the unknown future… but hey, I’m not going to second-guess it. It’s a blast, I’m lucky to be able to do it, and I hope you enjoy!
Now… Daredevil #601! Part One of “Mayor Murdock,” with art by someone I’m so excited to be working with, Mike Henderson. Colors by Matt Milla and letters from Clayton Cowles, both of whom have been with the book since Issue 1 of this run. Cover here by Chris Sprouse.
If you read Daredevil #600 (you read DD #600, right?) you know that Matt Murdock has suddenly and unexpectedly become the mayor of New York after Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, ran into a little trouble in the shape of about a hundred arrows sticking out of him. Matt found out about this after he’d been handcuffed and stashed in the back of a NYPD paddywagon (as Daredevil), as he overhears desperate police radio calls for help due to what seems to be a ninja invasion of New York. Now what?
Well, that’s #601. It’s the start of a five-part story, and the idea is to position Murdock as something like a “wartime mayor” while New York’s under siege. It’s super-fast-paced and intense, and a little strange, in some ways. It pulls on threads laid down from the very start of my run on the title, and I think longtime readers will be pretty excited (short-term readers, too!) The trick with a long run on a book – and Daredevil looks like it’ll be my longest run on anything, surpassing my work on Inhuman-related books as well as Letter 44 – is to keep reinventing the story, flipping it on its ear while making it all seem of a piece, consistent. I spent a while last night working out the details for what I think is the rest of what I’d like to do on the book. It’s a lot, though – never fear. (Just like Daredevil!)
And finally, at long last… CURSE WORDS #13!!! Part three of “The Hole Damned World,” written by me, with art/cover from Ryan Browne, colors by Addison Duke and letters by Chris Crank!
There's an amazing variant cover by Kaijumax's Zander Cannon, too, featuring newly-minted serpentaur Botchko and his hugely discomfited Battle Swine.
The story ramps up to a new level of complensity (that’s a word I created just for you, a portmanteau of “complexity” and “intensity” that means “complex intensity”) here, with our “hero” Wizord and his ex Ruby Stitch dealing with the after-effects of a session of magic-battle-fueled-pickle-slipping, Jacques Zacques continuing his search for his missing sons in the Hole World, and more from everyone’s favorite little talking platypus-who-just-turned-into-a-quokka Margaret. Curse Words issues are always interesting, because they need to work on a number of levels. We need jokes. We need opportunities for Ryan Browne to draw awe-inspiring, strange things and a bunch of visual gags. We need that weird sense of relatable poignancy amid the general insanity and dickish wizards. We need to ensure that the readers feel like the story is building to something in this arc, and we need to ensure that the book feels like it’s building to something as well. I think lucky number #13 is a good example of all of that working like a charm.
By the way, Ryan and I ran the numbers, and as long as things continue as they are, we seem to have our budget for the whole planned run. Now, that does not mean you should trade-wait, or take it off your pull list – we need every copy sold – but it does mean you can invest your time and spirit into Curse Words and know that you’ll get a full story when all is said and done. Let me also note that EVERY ISSUE COMES OUT ON TIME.
That’s it for this week – but a few quick things… first, I’m getting ready to send out my monthly newsletter fairly soon, so sign up for that, if you haven’t (links at the bottom of every page on the site.) Second, next week… man oh man. Huge. The HUNT FOR WOLVERINE begins at last, the $1 Image First version of Curse Words #1 is out (a perfect chance to try the series if you haven’t) and it’s a Vader-palooza, with both Darth Vader #15 out as well as the second trade, collecting issues 7-12 “Legacy’s End.” I’ll be in Austin, TX next Wednesday for a signing at Book People, too… details on the ongoing book tour for my novel The Oracle Year are at the Oracle Year page on the site. See you soon!
Well, that was one hell of a week. THE ORACLE YEAR could not have come into the world more strongly, and a lot of that’s down to you guys – everyone who talked it up, posted photos on Instagram and Twitter, and everything else you did to get the word out. Sales and reviews are very strong as we move into the second week of the book being out in the world, which is fantastic. If you read it and liked it, please consider leaving a review at Amazon (even just a star-rating helps a bunch, or a few sentences.) Here’s the link for that – it’s very easy: https://www.amazon.com/Oracle-Year-Novel-Charles-Soule/dp/0062686631
In many ways, the book’s journey is just beginning – keeping the buzz going is a big part of the job now, and anything you’re willing to do to help would be huge.
But let’s talk about the book that’s out this week! It’s DARTH VADER #14, part two of “The Burning Seas,” the huge story set on Mon Cala. Interior art from Giuseppe Camuncoli and Daniele Orlandini, colors by David Curiel, letters by Joe Caramagna, and the truly incredible cover’s by Cammo and Elia Bonetti:
If you haven’t already put it together, this story is half of something like a loose crossover with the “Mutiny at Mon Cala” arc running in the STAR WARS series written by Kieron Gillen. I’m looking at Mon Cala before the Rebellion formed, just after the Empire took power, and he’s taking a look at it a few decades later. You’ll see character arcs revisited and in some places completed, and other connectivity between the stories. This happened sort of organically, but once we both realized we wanted to tell a story set on the water world, we started talking about how we could link the stories up. That said, my arc and Kieron’s are distinct and satisfying in and of themselves – but why not read both, right? The more good Star Wars the better.
Vader #14 is the second chapter of my five-part tale, which means this is the spot where I start complicating and intensifying the threads laid down in #13. We meet the mysterious Jedi we saw n the last page of last issue and learn more about him, and we see King Lee-Char and his Mon Calamari and Quarren allies take their first big steps toward their larger destinies in the great galactic conflicts that will last for many decades to come. Oh, and Ackbar’s in it.
Personally, I feel like the Mon Calamari’s story is one of the great non-Jedi-related sagas of this part of the Star Wars timeline – it’s hugely dramatic, if you don’t know how it all works out – and getting to explore it is incredibly fun. If you read it, let me know what you think!
Next week = huge. We’ve got Poe Dameron #26, which begins the “Awakenings” arc set in part after The Last Jedi, we’ve got Daredevil #601 which begins the truly epic “Mayor Murdock” story, and best of all, we’ve got CURSE WORDS #13, part three of “The Hole Damned World,” our series third arc. You guys… IT’S ALL HAPPENING!! See you then!
This one might be a bit brief – I’m writing while I’m on a plane to Dallas for the first out-of-town leg of my book tour for my novel THE ORACLE YEAR, which was just released yesterday. Such a wonderful day… enormous support from all corners, great reviews, and I even had the unique pleasure of going to a bookstore, seeing my very own novel on the new releases table, and picking it up. It all culminated in a fantastic release party at Greenlight Books in Brooklyn with friends, family and fans (who are also friends and family!)
Things look really good for the book, but in many ways, the work’s just beginning. It’s out, people can buy it and read it… now the trick is getting folks to do that. If you haven’t given it a shot yet, please consider it. There are order links over at the Oracle Year page on this site, as well as at www.oracleyear.com. The novel was selected as an Amazon Best Book of the Month for April as well as their Spotlight Debut, an Indie Next pick and much more.
I’ll be traveling all around the country to support the book over the rest of the year – some of it’s at conventions, some of it’s at dedicated bookstore signings, or as part of the Wizard Van 2, The Vannening tour for Curse Words Ryan Browne and I are planning for this summer (details on that soon!) For now, here’s the list of tour stops I have planned. Up-to-date information will always be available at the Appearances page on this site, too.
So, that’s the Oracle Year, which is huge – but it’s not all I have out this week. There’s also Astonishing X-Men #10, with art by the incredible ACO.
Colors are by Rachelle Rosenberg and letters, as always, by Clayton Cowles. This is part four of Act II of my Astonishing storyline, “A Man Called X.” It advances the story of my team of X-Men fighting Proteus, and it’s an issue I’ve been looking forward to since the beginning of the series. If you don’t know the way AXM works, each issue has a different artist and colorist, so they all have their own vibe and feel. It’s all part of the same overarching story, but it’s given me a chance to (a) work with some incredible artists I love and (b) tailor scripts to the strengths of each individual team.
ACO, the artist for this issue, has an extremely unique style. It’s like pop art (I mean, all comics are pop art, but this is really pop art) – every page is a poster, almost. The compositions are always incredibly dynamic and powerful, full of motion and intensity and light. So, as a writer, how do you harness that to tell a story? Not just any story, either, but chapter 10 of a 12-part tale, with lots of things that have happened before this issue with which it should feel consistent, some crucial bits to be laid down here, and some major threads to be laid down before I wrap my story up in issues 11-12.
The answer? You don’t “harness” anything. You write a script that lets your incredible sparkling unicorn of an artist do what he does best, and buckle in to see what comes back pages-wise. In this case, I decided to follow the immortal advice laid down in many Godzilla films, and “let them fight.” AXM 10 is mostly a battle sequence, with all of the various team members getting their moments to shine as they try to take down Proteus. You wouldn’t use a Ferrari to push a snowplow, and you don’t use ACO for talking-head scenes.
What this means, as the writer, is that there’s still a bunch of work to be done once the pages come in, because while I gave ACO the thrust of the various things that were happening and dialogue, there was still a bunch of adjustment required to make it all work. It was interesting – it felt like a translation experience, seeing the story through his eyes as opposed to mine, how he saw it all unfolding. Really fun, and I think the results speak for themselves.
NEXT WEEK: Probably more nattering on from me about THE ORACLE YEAR, and also, DARTH VADER #14! That’s an awesome one. See you back here then!
At long last, over five decades in the making, it’s Daredevil #600! The very first issue of Daredevil appeared in April 1964, and if you add up every issue released since then under all the various creative teams (from Stan Lee and Bill Everett all the way to me and Ron Garney today), you get six hundred issues. Pretty amazing, and I don’t know if there’s another character in superhero comics with the same set of incredible writers and artists in his background – Frank Miller, David Mazzuchelli, Brian Bendis, Alex Maleev, Ann Nocenti, Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark, Paolo Rivera, Marcos Martin, Chris Samnee, Mark Waid, Andy Diggle, Steve Gerber, Marv Wolfman, Kevin Smith, Wally Wood, Gene Colan, Klaus Janson, Joe Quesada, Lee Weeks, Roger McKenzie, Roy Thomas, Joe Orlando, John Romita Sr., Goran Sudzuka and MANY MANY MORE.
Getting to work on Daredevil at all is a huge privilege, and getting to write a milestone century-mark issue, even moreso. Issue 600 wraps up the “Mayor Fisk” story that’s been running in the series since DD #595, and ends with a massive twist that will propel the book in some super cool new directions. The story also marks the end of Ron Garney’s run on the title – he started this volume of the book with me all the way back in 2015, and helped define the darker, gritty look and feel of Daredevil during this chapter in Matt Murdock’s long story. I love working with Ron. He’s a true collaborator, but also uncompromising in all the right ways – which is what you need if you’re going to make something special, I think. Mike Henderson will pick up the art duties on the book with #601, and he’s doing amazing work – but that’s a story for another time. Today, it’s about 600!
There are a ton of variant covers for this issue. Here’s the main one, and then some of my favorites, including the one Adi Granov did, that you can’t get in stores, only from us.
Why did I decide to tell the story this way, as opposed to any of the others I could have chosen? For example, these century issues often work as jam pieces, with earlier artists and writers from the title coming in to do little bits and pieces of a larger story, as a tribute to the legacy of all those folks. Those are often amazing, but I wanted to do something different here – I wanted to create an issue of Daredevil that has everything I think great DD stories often have. Four elements: (1) Daredevil fighting on behalf of the city he loves; (2) Daredevil also fighting to save himself against desperate odds; (3) Daredevil failing spectacularly in some way, or getting hit by a massive tragedy that’s basically his fault; (4) somehow rising above that to succeed at (1), often while losing at (2) to do it.
Guest stars are also cool, and DD 600’s got plenty. Heroes: Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Knights both Moon and Misty, Echo and Blindspot… and villains: Kingpin, Muse, Diamondback, Black Cat, the Owl, Hammerhead, and more. I wanted this story to feel like a culmination of the amazing street-level superhero ecosystem – that was always the stuff I loved reading these books when I was younger.
And then… that ending. I don’t want to talk about it here yet, because it’s a huge spoiler, but rest assured that I’ve been building to this and planning for it since Issue 1, and you won’t believe where this story goes. Hope you enjoy, and let me know what you think!
NEXT WEEK: OH MY GOD THE ORACLE YEAR IS FINALLY OUT! You’ve been seeing me post and tweet and use every other avenue I can to get the word out about my first novel, and next Tuesday, April 3, it’ll finally arrive. I’m sure I’ve got some comics and stuff happening too, but this is the biggie for me. Years and years in the making. I hope you’ll check it out, and please head over to the book’s website for more information and to pre-order. I’ll also be taking over the HarperCollins Twitter account next Monday from 2-3 PM Eastern Time to predict people’s futures live, so check in there if you have questions you want answered!
Just one book out from me this week, but it's a doozy - Poe Dameron #25. Here's the amazing cover by Phil Noto, with no trade dress so you can get the full effect (and as always, click through if you want to pick it up):
Poe #25 is designed to feel like a wrap-up of many threads we've been playing with in the series since all the way back in Poe Dameron #1 many moons ago. In that first issue, Leia Organa gave Poe a mission to track down Lor San Tekka, wherever he might be in the galaxy. Now, at last, we get to see how that plays out. There's also a sad-but-wonderful moment that becomes even more sad-but-wonderful when seen in light of The Last Jedi, but I'll let you read the issue first and then you can tell me what you think.
I did an interview about the series so far for Marvel.com, which you can read here, if you're so inclined. What that interview doesn't say, though, is that we didn't know when the series began that it would go this far. It was originally greenlit for a lower number of issues, and then expanded once we saw the response from readers and fans. As someone who loves Star Wars and has loved writing about this cast - not just Poe, but BB-8, the rest of Black Squadron and the characters who first saw life in these pages (Agent Terex, the dastardly, doomed Malarus, poor Oddy Muva, never totally trustworthy but awesome anyway Suralinda Javos and more) - let me say thank you to so many of you for reading and buying this book. Not just that, but talking to me about it at shows, on Twitter, in emails, etc. It means a lot. This book is still here because of you, and we're able to take chances with it and tell big stories because of you.
Even better - it doesn't end here! Still some big surprises to come. Poe Dameron #26 flashes forward in time - and if the story we see in #25 is set just before The Force Awakens, you can probably guess where we're going - straight into Episode VII. It's not exactly how you think, though, and the way we're telling the story is extremely cool and I can't believe I get to do it.
So, enjoy Poe #25 today, and tell me what you think! Next week brings a huge issue for me, DAREDEVIL #600!!! I'll be signing it at AwesomeCon in Washington DC next Friday afternoon only, from 2-4 PM, including a special Adi Granov variant version with three amazing covers you can check out here.
And finally, just because we're only two weeks out from the pub date of my first novel THE ORACLE YEAR, and I'm in constant shill mode - why not check out the book's page at www.oracleyear.com , where you can get lots of information about pre-orders, the bonus I'm doing for people who order the book ahead of time, and more. See you soon!
It's been a few weeks since I last updated, because I didn't have anything new on the shelves last week (March 7.) This week, though - three books! Darth Vader #13, which begins a huge new story arc, Astonishing X-Men #9, continuing Charles Xavier's rocky post-reincarnation reintroduction to reality, and of course, the biggie, the ne plus ultra... CURSE WORDS #12!!!
A few words on each below, and as always, each image is a link to a spot where you can buy that cover, if you so choose. Let's start with CURSE WORDS, since it is objectively the best.
CURSE WORDS #12 has three covers - the A cover by series artist and gentleman scholar Ryan Browne, the B cover by scholarly gentleman Buster Moody and the C cover, a gorgeous beast of a thing by gorgeous beast Ryan Browne - a wraparound, logoless poster cover that shows most of the main Curse Words cast and is crammed full of "hidden Simons" for you to find. If you didn't know, Ryan hides his strange, ridiculous cat in every issue of Curse Words, sometimes more than once. Here, he's taken that questionable practice to an extreme and stuffed Simons all over the place. The wraparound is part of a special celebration of artists during all of March by Image, and our cover stands in some great company along similar wraparounds by Jamie McKelvie (Wicked + Divine), Esad Ribic (Vs.) and many more. Here's the Buster Moody cover:
And the stunning wraparound, which really is best experienced in real life:
Now, what's going on in this issue? Well, it's part two of "The Hole Damned World," the book's third story arc. We follow Jacques Zacques deeper into his hellish tour of the hellish hell dimension that is the Hole World, homeland of Wizord, Ruby Stitch, Margaret and many of our other terrible, wonderful characters. Wizord gets really mad. We have a massive, super fun magical battle with a surprise twist ending, and... Margaret changes forms again! You won't want to miss it. Ryan Browne and I were both at Emerald City Comicon a few weeks ago, and we were thrilled at all the love this book was getting. People enjoy funny, dark books about a family of wizards in NYC - who knew? If you haven't tried CURSE WORDS yet, you can check it out here - give it a try!
Darth Vader #13, with art by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Daniele Orlandini, colors by David Curiel and letters by Joe Caramagna, begins a new arc entitled "The Burning Seas." The story flash-forwards from where we left off in Vader #12, to a point about three years into the reign of Emperor Palpatine. So, we get some awesome new additions to the Imperial arsenal (Star Destroyers, Stormtroopers and such), and a Vader who has settled fully into his role as Jedi-Hunter Supreme and head of the Inquisitorius. Those folks have settled down a bit too from how we last saw them - they're a lean, mean fighting force. No one messes with them, and no one messes with Vader.
The arc is set on one of my favorite planets in all of Star Wars, the water world of Mon Cala that's home to one of the best characters in all of Star Wars, Admiral Ackbar. He's not an admiral yet in this story, though - just the head of the royal guar for King Lee Char, a character we saw coronated back in the Clone Wars TV series. This arc has some of my deepest continuity cuts, calling back to all sorts of Prequel-era stuff as well as Rebels-era things - it's a lot of fun, and (a) helps to set up the galactic importance of the Mon Calamari in the wars to come, and (b) dovetails very neatly with what's going on right now in the Star Wars comic being written by Kieron Gillen, too. I hope you'll check it out!
Astonishing X-Men #9 - drawn by Matteo Buffagni, colors by Giada Marchisio, and letters, as always, by Clayton Cowles. We're getting deeper into the battle with Proteus here, and he reveals his ultimate plan (or at least some of it.) The X-Men books have often been a vehicle for commentary on the current state of affairs in the world, and this issue is a bit of that, #10 even moreso. What even is reality these days?
So there you have it, three books from me this week, and I think they're all pretty great. If you have a chance to check any of them out, please let me know what you think!
It's the most exciting week of the year - well, one of them - because we're coming up on Emerald City Comicon! It's one of my favorite shows, out in Seattle, and I do it pretty much every year. This year I'll be at table A11, right next to my Curse Words compatriot Ryan Browne at A12, and we'll be slinging books at you all weekend. For the moment, though, let's talk about what you can get from me in your local comic shop this week - two books: Darth Vader #12 and Letter 44 Vol. 6 (which wraps up that long-running sci-fi series.)
Away we go!
Darth Vader #12 - written by me, art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, colors by David Curiel and letters by Joe Caramagna.
This issue is part two of two of the "Rule of Five" story, which also ends the second volume of the story. It's designed to be sort of a punctuation mark, just as Issue 6 was. This volume has been focused, in part, on Vader finding his place within the larger Empire, and #12 locks that down, to a degree. After this... well, wait and see, but we'll have a little bit of a status quo shift that will allow the book to look at other aspects of Vader's dark, murderous trek through the Star Wars universe. Hope you'll stick around!
And here we have the end of an era - the final volume of my creator-owned scifi series with Oni Press, Letter 44. All issues here drawn by Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque, who was on the series from Issue 1, all the way back in 2013.
The series came out in floppies, too, and the last issue hit in July of 2017, so some of you already know how it ends. Let's just say that I'm extremely proud of this series and what we accomplished with it - it's the story of a US President who learns on the day of his inauguration about a secret alien presence in our solar system, and tracks his decisions from that point as well as the story of a manned mission sent up to make contact. It's won some awards, and we worked very hard on it - I wouldn't necessarily start with Volume 6 if you haven't been reading the series, but Volume 1 is available right here, and for just $10!
That's it for this week - next week brings... nothing! For the first time in a while, I don't have anything out next week. I'm sure it won't last. In the meantime, check out the page for my upcoming novel THE ORACLE YEAR, pre-order it if you haven't, and see you in Seattle!
These are going up a touch late, because I was traveling overseas last week and wasn't really able to get much keyboard time (which, honestly, isn't a bad thing), but I had some cool books out last week - worth discussing. I had a bunch in the Astonishing X-Men world, both the 8th issue in the series as well as the collected edition of the "Life of X" arc (Issues 1-6.) I also had Daredevil #599, the second-to-last chapter in the "Mayor Fisk" story. A few words on each... (maybe a little less than usual, because I want to get to this week's releases in a second too.)
Let's start with Daredevil #599. I can't believe we're almost to the end of the "Mayor Fisk" story, which will hit next month with Daredevil #600. This issue is all about ramping up the conflicts, pushing us to the moment where we can't wait to see how it all wraps up. It was tough to plot this one, because there are a ton of threads to balance, but the key for me was realizing how tough it would be for Daredevil, with his super-hearing, to live in a city where the name of his number-one adversary was on everyone's lips. It's supposed to mirror, to a degree, the way Twitter, the news and similar media sources just seem to be almost aggressive these days. We become part of other people's discussions whether we want that or not.
#600 is just a few weeks away - man, I can't wait. That issue, like this one, will be drawn by the amazing Ron Garney, with colors by Matt Milla and letters by Clayton Cowles, all stalwarts of the run.
Astonishing X-Men #8! Written by me, art by Paolo Siqueira, inks by Walden Wong and Roberto Poggi, colors by Edgar Delgado and letters by, once again, the amazing Clayton Cowles. Cover by Mike Deodato, Jr. who's just been doing amazing work recently, I think.
This issue starts to deepen the story of Proteus and X (the recently returned from the dead Charles Xavier - but younger, different, a bit darker.) In particular, it was fun to dig into Proteus' backstory. I don't want to spoil too much of what happens here, but sometimes when you run the numbers on the original stories, things get weird. It's always good to do your homework, especially with the X-Men. It tends to inform whatever you're writing in cool, unexpected ways. When I really broke Proteus apart and looked at his earliest stories... man, it's pretty tragic. It opened up his story for me, which is always good - it made him a person, instead of a cookie-cutter villain.
I saw some chatter online that not everyone is sure about X - not sure what his deal is, not sure if they like him yet. Fair enough. All I'll say is that we're in part 8 of a 12-issue story, 2/3 of the way through. You're supposed to be a little unsure. Wait and see - that's all I'll say.
The first volume of my Astonishing X-Men series, which collected issues 1-6, the entire "Life of X" storyline, which describes how Charles Xavier comes back to life, and what he's been up to since he died. (Only in the X-Men could such a sentence make sense.) So many great artists here - every issue a different penciller. We started with Jim Cheung, then Mike Deodato Jr., Ed McGuinness, Carlos Pacheco, Ramon Rosanas and finally Mike del Mundo. You'd think that would feel scattershot - it doesn't, really. Each issue has its own focus, but builds to a larger story. It works, and man, these folks can draw pretty.
The cast of the book (it's not really a team, as you'll see, more a group of mutants thrown together by circumstance) includes Old Man Logan, Mystique, Rogue, Gambit, Bishop, Archangel, Fantomex and Psylocke. I hadn't written some of these characters before, and it was fun to figure out ways to bring them forward while staying true to what we've seen before. I'm particularly proud of what we did with Bishop, making him sort of an endless sentinel against the apocalypse. ALL the apocalypses. I'd love to write him more going forward.
That's it for the stuff on shelves now. On February 28 (tomorrow, as I write this,) I'll have Darth Vader #12 and the final collection of my sci-fi epic Letter 44, Vol 6: "The End." Lots still happening as we move toward the release of my novel THE ORACLE YEAR on April 3, too - head over to the novel's page on the site for pre-order information, bonuses, giveaways, etc.
I have three books out this week, all of which I'm very excited about! CURSE WORDS #11 is a big deal, the start of the next story arc, but there's also a new DARTH VADER issue on the shelves and a new POE DAMERON. Some thoughts on each below, and we'll start with CURSE WORDS...
It's CURSE WORDS #11! The cover on the left is by the series artist and co-creator Ryan Browne, showing the delightful Margaret (currently, but not always, a platypus) in dire straits. The one on the right is the stunning variant by our friend Tula Lotay, showing Ruby Stitch doing what she loves most - PARTYING. Click through the image to find purchase links for both.
This issue begins the third arc on the series, "The Hole Damned World," which is designed to provide some backstory on the crazy hellworld from which Ruby, Margaret and the other main character of the Curse Words triumvirate - Wizord the wizard - all hail. This arc has a throughline I like a lot, with a number of characters on parallel searches, and the ending should be a hammerblow on about ten different levels. I'm truly, truly happy with where all of this is going.
If you're already reading Curse Words, THANK YOU - you're a hero. If you're not, well, this is a great time to start. The first two trades are out everywhere, and then you can just pick this one up today and you'll be all caught up. Hope you do! There's (hopefully) some really cool news coming about Curse Words - you'll want to be the person who can tell everyone you were reading this book way back when.
DARTH VADER #11! The start of a two-part arc entitled "The Rule of Five." You may not know this, but there's a famous rule in Sith mythology called "The Rule of Two," which states that there can only be two full Sith at a time, an apprentice and a master. So... five? What the hell does that mean? I know, and you will too - if you read this and Vader #12 when it hits in about a month.
What we have here is Vader going off with a new Inquisitor (evil dark-Force-using Jedi hunter) named Ninth Sister to investigate a possible Jedi sighting out at a sort of Star Wars roadhouse in the middle of nowhere. When he gets there, it becomes pretty clear that he's the target - someone put out a bounty on him.
That's all well and good, lots of great Vader moments, but this issue also hides the secret origin of another character I really like, who first appeared in the Lando miniseries I did with Alex Maleev in 2015. If you haven't read that, give it a shot! People seem to like it.
POE DAMERON #24! We're rapidly approaching the finish line on the "Legend Found" arc in Poe, which revolves around the team's search for missing Force explorer Lor San Tekka. This book is set just before The Force Awakens, so the idea is that it's setting up the situation by which Poe knows to head to Jakku to meet Lor at the start of the movie to get the map to Luke Skywalker.
It's been a fun ride getting to this point, and one of my favorite parts has been the creation of a character named Agent Terex. He was originally a Stormtrooper in the Empire, then became a crime lord when the Empire fell, but joined right up with the First Order once they appeared, because he thought they'd bring back the glory days of the Empire. It... hasn't worked out that way for him, and Terex's gradual disillusionment and character shifts as he realized that the First Order would never love him like the Empire did have been a joy to write. I love a lot about this book, but Terex, from Issue 1, has always been one of my favorite bits.
So, this issue, Poe #24, is my tribute to this evil SOB. He's not a good guy, but he's a good bad guy, and it's been tough to watch some of the things he's gone through. Here, though... well, an alternate title for this issue could be "Terex Gets His Groove Back," and I wouldn't have it any other way.
That's this week! Next week, more big books - Daredevil #599 ("MAYOR FISK" part 5 of 6), Astonishing X-Men #8, and the collection of issues 1-6 of Astonishing X-Men, the "Life of X" story. Not to mention, of course... we tick ever closer to the release of my novel THE ORACLE YEAR on April 3. I'll be doing a number of signings and appearances over the spring and summer for it, so make sure you click over to the calendar page, and of course, hit up www.oracleyear.com for more information about the book, pre-ordering, the pre-order bonus (I'll predict your future!) and more. Goodreads.com and HarperCollins are actually running a giveaway this month for galleys of the novel - 15 copies will be sent out, and it's free to enter. You can do that here!
One main release from me today: DAREDEVIL #598 - but also some reprints and a very cool poster. Before I mention those, let's talk ol' Hornhead! Daredevil #598 is the fourth chapter in the MAYOR FISK epic that began with the series' return to "legacy" numbering with Daredevil #595, and is all building to the huge Daredevil #600 next month. This issue makes the return of Ron Garney on interior art - and also the buildup to his final issue on the title (for now, at least) with #600. Ron announced this on Twitter last night, so I think it's fair to talk about it a little bit.
The signature runs on characters aren't marked by just a writer, usually. It's a team, always a team, just like any comic, signature or not. I knew coming into Daredevil how important it would be to work with an artist who wouldn't see things my way - but who would see Daredevil their way, and would interpret my plots through that lens. I've been doing this a while now, and I think the best comics come from a situation where every person on the book, from writer to penciller to colors to letters to design to editing... adds their own creative input, their own storytelling, each choice a chisel mark on the finished sculpture. If everything's in sync, you get a great comic, and every once in a while a masterpiece. I think Ron and I (and Matt Milla and Clayton Cowles) pulled off some great comics.
I'll miss Ron a bunch on Daredevil, but we'll be working together on something else very soon (like very) and I'm sure there will be more down the road. I'm not leaving the title any time soon - there's a story #600 sets up that I think Daredevil fans will love, and then more cool things after that. The next artist after Ron is Mike Henderson, and he's doing incredible work.
But here - #598! Back in the "Dark Art" story that ran through DD #10-14, Ron and I created a character named Muse, a serial killer artist who gave Daredevil and his apprentice Blindspot an extremely tough time - to put it mildly. Muse is back in full force here, only appropriate since Ron was the first person to ever draw him. He's an element of chaos in the political chess game being played by Mayor Wilson Fisk and his recently appointed Deputy Matt Murdock. There's a Muse scene that ends this issue that I think is one of the creepiest things I've written (and I did a run on Swamp Thing!) Everything's getting darker and more intense for Daredevil, and I hope you'll check it out.
In addition to Daredevil #598, the second print of Daredevil #596 is on shelves today, so if you missed it the first time around, here's your chance. The second print of Astonishing X-Men #7 hits as well, which begins the second act of that story, entitled "A Man Called X." It's a new story arc that begins with the return of the long-dead Charles Xavier to our world. If you're an X-fan, you won't want to miss it. And finally, for one last bit of Daredevil, check out this incredible poster Alex Ross did to celebrate the upcoming release of Daredevil #600:
AMAZING. You can click on the poster to order it, if you're so inclined.
That's it for this week. Next week is huge, though, with CURSE WORDS #11 - the triumphant beginning of the third story arc - as well as Darth Vader #11 and Poe Dameron #24. Massive! Also, because I can't end one of these without talking about my upcoming novel THE ORACLE YEAR, we're doing a giveaway of fifteen advance copies of the book over on Goodreads.com. Super easy to enter and win, but it only lasts this month, so don't wait! CLICK HERE!
Just one book out from me today, the collected edition of an event book I wrote with my friend Jeff Lemire, which ran through the early part of 2017: Inhumans vs. X-Men, or as we and pretty much everyone else called it, IvX. It's a bunch of material, seven issues of an epic battle between Marvel's Merry Mutants and the Inhumans, an extended family of immensely powerful superpowered folks. #0 was written entirely by me and drawn by Kenneth Rocafort, with colors by Dan Brown and letters by Clayton Cowles. Jeff and I co-wrote #1-6. Leinil Yu penciled and Gerry Alanguilan inked #1,2 and 6, Javier Garron drew #3-5, and David Curiel colored and Clayon lettered all of #1-6. Amazing work from everyone.
This was a big story, sort of a one-two punch with another book that came out just before it called Death of X. DoX and IvX, together, make up one big, eleven-issue epic that was designed to wrap up several years of storytelling that spun out from much earlier Marvel Universe events: Infinity and Secret Wars, primarily. Does it sound complicated? IT WAS. This wasn't my first big Marvel story, but it was the first that involved this many moving parts, and had to hit so many targets - characters needed to die in satisfying ways, years-long arcs needed to pay off, and it was what we call a "hero vs. hero" story, which meant we had to be very careful about the way some of these characters acted. It was supposed to feel intractable, like these were good people who had been forced to the brink because of essential truths about their existence. They didn't want to go to war... but war doesn't care what you want.
If you missed IvX when it hit shelves last year, or didn't pick up the beautifully designed hardcover that came out in July and is still available, give it a shot. Despite everything I said above, Jeff and I wrote both Death of X and IvX to work on their own. You don't need to have read everything else to make sense of them - it's just a big, fun super-powered epic.
So, that's it for me this week. Two sort of light weeks in a row, but it all starts to ramp up again next week, with Daredevil #598, an incredible Alex Ross-painted poster for Daredevil #600, and second prints of both Daredevil #596 and Astonishing X-Men #7. LOTS of good stuff happening in February. And if you haven't checked out/pre-ordered my novel THE ORACLE YEAR yet in order to get your own prediction of the future from me... head on over!
Just one book out this week - Poe Dameron #23! Featuring a stunning Phil Noto cover and interiors from Angel Unzueta, colors by Arif Prianto and letters by Joe Caramagna, this issue is an action-packed installment that brings us one step closer to the resolution of Black Squadron's search for famed Force Explorer Lor San Tekka. That story started all the way back in Issue #1, so it's neat to finally be getting to pay it off. And for those asking... no, the Poe Dameron comic doesn't end with #25. Stick around - really, really cool things to come.