This week’s Marvel Rundown is small but mighty! With only a handful of releases from the House of Ideas this week, the publisher made sure to make at least one of them a can’t-miss with the release of the Incoming! one-shot. The issue, by a star-studded creative team of dozens of writers and artists, paves the way for upcoming storylines in the new year. Does the issue tell a satisfying story in its own right?
We’ve got a review round-up for that title, plus a Rapid Rundown of Marvel’s other newest offerings, all ahead in the latest edition of The Marvel Rundown!
Written by Al Ewing, Chip Zdarksy, Kelly Thompson, Jason Aaron, Matthew Rosenberg, Greg Pak, Eve L. Ewing, Ed Brisson, Donny Cates, Saladin Ahmed, Tini Howard, Jonathan Hickman, and Dan Slott
Illustrated by Humberto Ramos, Jorge Fornés, Mattia De Iulis, Carmen Carnero, Andrea Sorrentino, R.B. Silva, Annie Wu, Kim Jacinto, Joe Bennet, Aaron Kuder, Ryan Stegman, Javier Garrón, Jim Cheung, Luciano Vecchio, Francesco Manna, and Carlos Pacheco
Inked by Humberto Ramos, Jorge Fornés, Mattia De Iulis, Carmen Carnero, Andrea Sorrentino, R.B. Silva, Annie Wu, Kim Jacinto, Ruy José, Aaron Kuder, Ryan Stegman, Javier Garron, Jim Cheung, Luciano Vecchio, Francesco Manna, and Rafael Fonteriz
Colored by Edgar Delgado, Jordie Bellaire, Mattia De Iulis, Rachelle Rosenberg, Jay David Ramos, Israel Silva, Tríona Farrell, Espen Grundetjern, Dono Sánchez-Almara, Michael Garland, David Curiel, Romulo Fajardo Jr., Marte Gracia, and Morry Hollowell
Lettered by VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover by Patrick Gleason & Marte Gracia
Samantha Puc: I have so much Marvel Event Fatigue that even seeing teasers for Incoming! made me weary, even though I love a good murder mystery. That said, diving into this oversized issue was a real joy — perhaps because of how meta it is. There are references to events past, as well as storms brewing in other series, from Captain Marvel to Strikeforce to Valkyrie: Jane Foster. A locked-room murder mystery can easily fit into the overall canon of the Marvel Universe, which it does here, helped along by the creative teams involved in a hefty number of the publisher’s current ongoing series.
It’s often quite jarring to read comics where the narrative transitions from creative team to creative team, but Incoming! works surprisingly well for me. Perhaps it’s the transition from place to place, or just narrator to narrator, but I had an easy time following each piece of the story and never felt like I’d been led astray by any particularly unwieldy changeovers.
I don’t know how satisfying the ending was, but I’m at least intrigued for how the events in Incoming! will affect 2020 storylines at Marvel. There are plenty of elements to pick apart in this issue, to dissect under a microscope and speculate over. That’s really all I want in a murder mystery, so ultimately, I’m content. I’ll also admit that the ending gave me hope for more focus on two of my favorite characters in the Marvel U, so here’s hoping no one screws them up. If you’re keeping up with multiple Marvel series right now and want to know how they’re sure to connect in upcoming events, I highly suggest you at least give Incoming! a STRONG BROWSE.
Joe Grunenwald: After the year notable for realm wars and symbiote carnage, for houses of X and powers of 10, and for 80th anniversary celebrations, Marvel rounds out 2019 with one more over-stuffed, tease-filled one-shot. Incoming! #1 brings together threads from the preceding year, and establishes new threats and directions for the heroes of the Marvel U for 2020. The issue owes equally to previous one-shots like Marvel Legacy and Marvel Comics #1000, with a dose of the competition’s Countdown to Infinite Crisis added for good measure, all to varying degrees of success.
As a tease for things to come, Incoming! functions fine. There are several new elements added to the mix for the Marvel U, from a politician on a gung-ho crusade to regulate the activities of the nation’s young superheroes, to an awakened Knull making its way across the universe for Earth (as initially teased at the end of Absolute Carnage), to the murder mystery investigation that acts as a throughline for the issue. Incoming! only really develops that last bit, though, and it ultimately doesn’t amount to much for readers who aren’t knowledgable about the long-term lore of the Marvel U.
The mystery is investigated by the Masked Raider, a character introduced in Marvel #1000 and who’s had little-to-no development since, and centering this massive issue on a character who is essentially a cypher did little to draw in this reader, even if the Raider is interacting with established heroes throughout. The other teases for upcoming events are fine, but they’re not much more than that, with no real meat to them. The tease in the final pages of the issue will only have impact for readers who are familiar with the character at the center of it; otherwise it just feels like more of the same. Earth has already survived the war of the ten realms, so who cares about an impending war with just one big army?
At the end of the day, Incoming! #1 is a $10 ad for what’s to come from Marvel in 2020. It’s a tour of the Marvel U that doesn’t get much beyond the surface on any of the characters or conflicts it glimpses. The events of this book are sure to be recapped in the titles of the heroes impacted by them. If you’re a completist, you’re going to buy this regardless of what I say. Otherwise I’d call this one an easy SKIP, and suggest you spend that ten bucks on something else.
Final Verdict: It’s a split decision! Sam gives Incoming! #1 a STRONG BROWSE, while Joe says you should SKIP it altogether!
- Doctor Strange #1
- Stephen Strange is back in his element as the latest Doctor Strange relaunch establishes a new profession and status quo for the sorcerer supreme. Writer Mark Waid does first issues like very few others in the business, and in this issue he picks up where he left off with the previous run while still crafting an accessible entry point for the character. Artists Kev Walker and Java Tartaglia bring a slightly more cartoony look to the series than the previous run, which works well for the big action and mystical imagery of the issue. If you’re at all interested in what’s going on in the magic side of the Marvel U, this issue’s worth a read. — JG
- Stephen Strange is one of the most powerful sorcerers in the galaxy, and now Marvel wants to make sure you remember that Dr. Strange is also one of the most skilled surgeons to ever live. The debut issue, written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Kev Walker, is a hilarious, fast-paced opener that showcases just how Stephen deals with the duel pressures of being a major figure in both the medical and magical communities. Waid has already proven that he is highly capable of revamping major characters—just look at his run on Daredevil if you don’t believe me—and I’m extremely confident he and his creative confidants can pull off the same kind of home run with this new series. — NK
- Spider-Ham #1
- An un-kosher, but surprisingly refreshing, holiday reading treat! — AF
- I just want comics to be fun, and Spider-Ham #1 is immensely fun. Writer Zeb Wells uses Ham’s many recent appearances in multiversal Spider-stories as a jumping-off point for some really funny interactions between Spider-Ham and the fellow heroes of his world. The visuals from Will Robson and Erick Arciniega are spot-on, capturing the zany feel of the original Spider-Ham series and the visual flair of Ham’s look in the Into the Spider-Verse film. This is probably Marvel’s best book this week. — JG
- Venom #21
- The next Venom epic begins in the wake of the last one, as Eddie Brock encounters new issues on top of the ones he’s already dealing with post-Absolute Carnage. Donny Cates‘s writing for Eddie is, as always, solid throughout, though his scripting of some of the other notable heroes who put in appearances felt a bit off. Artist Mark Bagley‘s work is as strong as ever, and his storytelling is second-to-none. As someone who hasn’t been following Venom regularly, I’m interested to see where the “Venom Island” story goes. — JG
Next week, new eras begin for Thor and Star Wars!