Jonathan Hickman


Jonathan Hickman Comes To DC Comics For Rebirth

Ahead of this weekend’s big DC Comics Rebirth announcement at WonderCon, it’s learned Jonathan Hickman has come over to the direct competition.

Hickman tweeted out the “answer is yes” to DC editors and teased he would love to destroy another superhero universe.

Jonathan Hickman penned the 2013 Infinity event series for Marvel and recently Secret Wars.

Hickman’s Marvel contract has been up, and no new Marvel titles from the writer have been announced.


Advanced Review: Secret Wars #1

Fans have been clamoring over all the buzz regarding Marvel’s attempt at “re-creating” it’s universes for months. They have been clogging up chat rooms and drooling over the chance to see some of their favorite storylines from the past come blazing back to life throughout the Secret Wars event. I personally cannot wait to see the new take on Inferno, but I digress. Even though the hype is through the roof for this event, it is the first issue that sets the tone and will drive fans to comic shops in droves. Sadly, I was hoping for more than what Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic are bringing to the table.

I LOVE an epic tale that throws caution to the wind and has you on the edge of your seat throughout the tale. That is what I was expecting here, and it just never got to that level of excitement. The entire book, from start to finish, is one giant battle that comes across as having way too many moving parts to feel like a cohesive tale. It is just a jumble of explosions and falling debris with commentary by opposing Reed Richards’ that tries to form itself into some semblance of a story. Even the prolific yammering of Doom as potential bookends to the tale just couldn’t hold this story together enough for me to enjoy it as an actual, singular tale that is supposed to launch Marvel into a new era.

And yes, there are some great scenes in this book! There are a number of character deaths that were unexpected and shocking, there is a “fastball special’ sequence that I NEVER would have thought I would see, and there is a particular scene by a gun wielding man that I thought was absolutely brilliant. But all in all, these scattered scenes do not make up the entirety of the book, and there is too much emphasis on fitting the utter destruction of two worlds into this single issue to actually build up a great story.

Fans of the Avengers books will enjoy Hickman’s eventual “payoff’ that he has been building up to for the past few years, but for those fans who want to buy this book to see what is going to happen to the Marvel Universe, they will be utterly lost! Absolutely NOTHING is explained to the reader, you are thrust face-first into utter chaos, and the only options you have are to hold on or close the book and move on. Unfortunately, Hickman has made this book impossible for new readers to feel connected to at all, when the whole point of this event comic is to draw new readers into a brand new Marvel U!

If you have been enjoying Hickman’s run on Avengers then you will love this book. But if you are someone looking for a cohesive, enthralling story that launches into an epic new direction for Marvel, you will be left wanting more.

As of this issue, if my hard earned dollar had a choice of going to a bunch of domes “converging” or two worlds colliding – it would be nestled safely “under the dome!”


NYCC: Secret Wars 2015 Announced

Next May will see Marvel Comics revisit Secret Wars, which will be written by Jonathan Hickman with art by Esad Ribic.

Marvel announced the news outside the New York Comic-Con with the following teaser image.

The new Secret Wars story will be a year-long event and begin following the Avengers “Time Runs Out” storyline.

The original Secret Wars, a 12 issue series, debuted in 1984 and saw The Beyonder teleport a group of heroes to battle a group of villains in “Battleworld.”




More Marvel Reboot Evidence: Avengers Getting Cancelled

All roads lead to next May, at least that is what Marvel has been seemingly teasing. 

In addition to what looks to be the Fantastic Four getting cancelled as well as the death of Wolverine, now it’s become known that next April’s issue of Avengers #44 will be its last.

Retailers were told about a Final Issue Variant (via Bleeding Cool) for Avengers #44, which looks to be released next April, a month before something big happens to the Marvel U.

Everything looks to begin this September in “Time Runs Out” as Hickman’s Avengers issues jump forward in time eight months.

Marvel previously teased “Time Runs Out” at a Diamond Retailer convention, with it speculated the new event will be a Marvel Comics reboot. It was also teased that “it” will happen in May 2015 that will force Marvel to do something the company has never done in its 75 years.  

More than likely Avengers will get relaunched in some fashion is our guess.




Review: Avengers #30 (Hickman and Yu)

Following a great issue of Avengers that really worked, here in Avengers #30 we have an example of when writer Jonathan Hickman’s long-term plotting just does not seem to work.

After the brief conflict between Cap and the Avengers and Tony Stark and his armors, which I relished, this jaunt into the future with the Future Hawkeye (chip on his shoulder, shades of Cap’s Kooky Quartet!) and holier-than-thou hero iterations really leaves me flat, especially after those Pym-less “New” Avengers from the world now fused with 616 Earth. How many storm hammers are there??

Of course, the packaging for this cosmic confusion is great, and I could not be happier that Leinil Yu has returned to pencil these event tie-ins. His pencils are stellar and his storytelling is first rate, especially when teamed with the inks of Gerry Alanguilan.

But you have to open any package at some point, and this issue of Avengers was hardly worth its price tag, IMHO.

I love Hickman’s storytelling and long-range plots, but there is definitely something missing in Avengers #30. I think it is the story.


Marvel Comics Announces “Time Runs Out” Avengers Event

We first got a sneak peek at the next Avengers event at the Diamond Retailer Summit at Las Vegas, and now Marvel Comics has officially announced “Time Runs Out.”

This September sees Jonathan Hickman time-jump Avengers #35 and New Avengers #24 eight months into the future.

Each issue will be double-sized as well.

“After the cataclysmic events of the Avengers tie-in to Original Sin and the revelation as to what the Illuminati has been up to all this time, we jump the storyline ahead to the moment where time runs out for everybody,” Marvel Senior VP – Executive Editor Tom Brevoort revealed to “In addition to setting the table for the astonishing climax of Jonathan Hickman’s run, we’ll also be providing a glimpse into the immediate future of our characters and what changes await them over the course of the next eight months of publishing. This isn’t some maybe-future; this is the real deal, what’s awaiting the Marvel Universe in the coming year.” 

Marvel also teased that the time-jump will feature a new roster of teams, and that the issues will tie into something coming in May 2015, which has previously said will force Marvel to do “something the company has never done in its 75 years.”

The following covers for Avengers #35, illustrated by Jim Cheung, and New Avengers #24, with art by Mike Deodato, were also revealed.

Avengers #25; cover art by Jim Cheung:



New Avengers #24; art by Gabriele dell’Otto:



Review: Avengers #29 (Hickman)

Avengers writer and cosmic opus architect Jonathan Hickman has taken us so far into the future, apparently, that we are back in the Marvel past. Cap, as we knew he would, has discovered he has been the mind puppet of the Illuminati, and it is Civil War all over again, Cap vs. IronMan. And still, we do not know which side is right and which side is wrong.

If you are familiar with the way Hickman writes his long-term stories, you know this was a direction he was obviously heading from some early flashbacks of Cap while he and Stark are first building the extant Avengers Machine. What was less obvious was what had happened and how, all of a sudden, we only had ONE Assembler rubbing elbows with Black Bolt, Reed Richards and Namor.

There is a hefty dose of recap here that is probably not needed, but there is also excitement, the thrill that happens when two symbols of right go at each other and, with that suspense of disbelief, it seems to the fanboy inside us something BIG is gonna happen, something that may be permanent.

As usual, Leinil Yu does the same great job he did during the Infinity side stories. I must say the art bar on this Avengers book has remained excessively high.

Hickman’s cosmic opus continues, and I could not be happier!


Review: Avengers #28 (Hickman)

It finally happened.

I knew if they left Robert Bruce Banner AS Banner long enough, he would return to the brilliant guy he was before Rick Jones took a jeep ride in the gamma bomb test site.

And he has done it. RBB has caught on to what Anthony Stark has going, why the “Avengers Machine” is designed the way it is, going all the way back to writer Jonathan Hickman’s first Avengers issues and, ta-da, the REAL beauty of the long form he uses in telling SF tales via monthly comic book installments.

I am loving it all!

There may be a few more talking heads here than some would like, but that does not mean the tension is not so thick you couldn’t cut it with a knife. Hickman has me spellbound at each word of these two men, two of the smartest this Marvel U. has to offer, as they discuss recent developments in both Avengers and New Avengers.

And Banner knows the band is back together, that Stark has not only been lying to his Avengers teammates but has re-formed the Illuminati. How? It is so simple as to be extremely satisfying.

Now comes another “event,” Original Sin, but if the Avengers sides are as good as they were during Infinity – heck, HALF as good – it is an event I welcome. Unlike most, Hickman has a great way of working into these things. Even Bendis came up short here.

Of course, the art by Salvador Larroca is to die for. Every panel – whether it be a busting-out Hulk or an angered Banner, plunging (what IS in that brief case??) into his arm – is poetry.

All in all, the “Avengers Machine” is rolling along well this month, and I cannot wait to see where it is headed.


Review: Avengers #27 (Hickman)

Avengers #27 is a mixed bag, and only the inclusion of a representation of All-New Invaders #1 makes it worth the four buck price tag at all.

After excellent issues following Infinity-plus, Jonathan Hickman kind of spins his wheels this time, really one of the first times it seems like his massive space saga is being stretched out.

As interesting as it was to see Banner vs. Banner in a shower or the inner workings of A.I.M., really nothing happens this issue. And unlike some of those wonderful “relax” stories we read, like that recently in Mighty Avengers, this story – if you can call it that, rather than just pieces of a whole not sewn together – goes nowhere. Fast.

I really had high hopes when I saw that cover, harkening back to those great Adaptoid stories of olde. Unfortunately we have the other-dimensional Avengers here and the A.I.M. suped-up Adaptoids, and neither group really do anything of interest. At least, to me.

I like using bedrock villains like A.I.M. in modern day stories, but frankly the story with Sam and Bobby playing cards with the scientists and then Bobby hiring them off one by one as security was infinite-ly better.

Saving grace: The art by Salvador Larroca is brilliantly wonderful, but storywise, Avengers #27… meh.

A shame.


Review: Avengers #26 (Hickman)

The All-New Avengers (the original team plus Cap from another world) continue to press dominance on Earth as they face off against a threat from deep in the history of our team.

Jonathan Hickman digs back into Avengers history for the answer to some of what the scientists have been up to on AIM Island. The result from secret experiments taken on our assemblers during a moment of weakness months ago is updated Adaptoids! It will freak you out to watch Adaptoid Spidey swinging Thor’s hammer, even more so when he attacks the otherworldly Thunder God.

As we already know, one of the All-News doesn’t make it out of their battle with the Adaptoids. Meanwhile, the AIM experiment goes better than expected as the Adaptoids … well, adapt beyond expectations to become self-aware.

Hickman continues his long-term story here, answering some questions while planting other seeds. This is gonna be one great omnibus someday, lol.

And like last issue, little is seen of the 616 Avengers. Maria Hill has them all in for questioning at the Helicarrier. Hickman does have some great comedy moments during these panels.

Everyone looks great because of the continuing tradition of marvelous art on this title. Salvador Larroca renders the figures of everyone perfectly, whether modern day assembler or old school. And if he had fun comparing and contrasting today’s Thor and Iron Man with that of yesterday, think what fun the Adaptoids must have been with different features of each Avenger on one and another.

This book continues to get better and better, and Hickman at the helm means quality at the time of reading.


Review: Avengers World #2

Just like in Avengers #5, Smasher’s issue of Avengers World, #2, is a sentimental one about the girl behind the Shi’ar mask. I am enjoying this expansion of the Jonathan Hickman Avengers machine because it allows more room for character as well as that long-brewing long-term sci-fi saga Hickman is working on.

While the plot and design might be Hickman, the character and feel of the story is pure Nick Spencer. Read any of his works and you know what characters you are dealing with, and Spencer as a writer is better at character voices than almost any writer today.

Everything is here: Grampa, Captain Terror and those scientists from AIM that are so hard-working that they appear both here and Avengers this week. And you really do not feel a break in continuity between the two magazines. Wanna have fun? Read Avengers #5 and then Avengers World #2 back to back. Fun!

I was sorry we didn’t see more of Sam and Bobby this issue, but I am enjoying the hell out of Cap and Bruce Banner’s time together. Different chemistry than Bruce and Tony Stark, but still hysterical.

The art by Stefano Caselli is beauty itself, and reflects some of the oddities of the bombs sent by Ex Nihilio back in Avengers #1 with that alien-ness on AIM Island.

Avengers and Avengers World made quite a little combo package this week. Thanks, House of Ideas!


Review: Avengers #25 (Hickman)

Remember when those scientists on AIM Island pulled a new Hyperion out of the ether and he later became a member of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers? Well, they are at it again, and the scientists this time find … well, the original Avengers (plus Cap).

Avengers #25 brings us a retread of sorts of All-New X-Men, and it is to Marvel’s credit that they joke about it in the solicits. Because it really isn’t. No, these Avengers seem to be from an alternate Earth, not our own timeline like the original X-Men, and they also seem to have a Squadron Supreme mentality in that their own Earth’s populace must have worshipped them as gods. (“Thor” actually expects that on our world, and is confused when he does not get it.)

These new Avengers are prepared to give “instruction” to the folks of Earth-616 (Marvel Earth) and, somewhere between their arrival and its discovery by SHIELD, Ant-Man (Hank Pym) dies. With a corpse on her hand, Maria Hill calls in our Assemblers and asks where they have been in the past few hours.

Already we have the confusion that is, I think, leading to something much bigger down the way regarding last issue’s “Planet Bullet,” now merged with the Earth, and the female Iron Man from the future … or is that “a” future?

I love that Jonathan Hickman is sticking to the threads of this massive sci-fi story he is writing long-term and yet letting the characters breath and remind us who they are (although to tell the truth, the REAL Avengers only appear on one page this issue).

The art, as has been the norm for this title since its relaunch, is breath-taking under the expert hands of Salvador Larroca. It is interesting to compare the two splash pages, one with the original Avengers from an alternate Earth and one with the 616 Avengers, our own. Note the costume style differences.

As usual, this is a Hickman issue of Avengers that leaves you wanting more. How lucky are we that Avengers World #2 is also on sale this week?  


Review: Avengers World #1

When you ask anyone who followed the Infinity event and its side Avengers stories to fruition what might have been missing, the answer will come in one word: characterization.

Thus, Avengers World #1 where writers Jonathan Hickman and (mainly) Nick Spencer play Gardner Fox (or, if you will, Len Wein) by breaking the mega-team into smaller squads in order to give us a number of adventures and bring us some sterling characterization with some unsuspected characters.

Lesson learned: Excitement and adventure can come with characters acting like themselves.

Not a lot of setup in this #1; I guess Infinity and the Hickman Avengers have accomplished that.

No, the star of this show is the beautiful and highly-detailed work of the master of team comics, Stefano Caselli. Even the great King Kirby sometimes had one hero looking like the other, and Rich Buckler was the worst during his FF run. Here, everyone has their own face, their own character, their own expressions and the voice accompanying the art by Spencer is right-on.

I look for Avengers World to be a great character supplement to the plot-driven Avengers. This World is off to a great start!


Review: Avengers #24.NOW (Hickman)

With the latest issue of Avengers, the reader gets something unique: a #1 issue AND a #24 issue all in one. Actually, this is #24 but #24.NOW, which is Marvel’s way of saying this is a relaunch without a relaunch.

Infinity is definitely behind us, and this double-sized issue has the feel of what it is: a mag to lure the uninitiated and much-valued “new reader” to the book and to the company. For us old standbys from the 1970s, we get a continuation of sorts of Jonathan Hickman’s long-term cosmic story that will probably tie into things from Infinity and more before we are over with, knowing the scribe. And that is how I am liking my Marvel Cosmic All-New NOW!

We begin with a touch of Thomas, as the Avengers relax atop their Manhattan tower and actually show a little character. Thor barbecuing hot dogs? Hulk carefully carrying pies? Never thought I would see the day.

Quite swiftly, our tranquility is interrupted as the Iron Man from 3030 buzzes in to warn grandfather Tony and the Assemblers of danger ahead: A rogue planet that may or may not have been shot at Earth.

Meanwhile, Shellhead and Winghead work to reinvent their Avengers Machine, to make it function more efficiently (even though they were victorious over the Builders and Thanos). I suspect we will NOT be seeing a lot of Wolverine and Spidey in these pages for awhile, and that may be good as well.

With an army of artists, this book still looks damn good, I must say, having the same feel as when it started out in #1 (the REAL #1). That consistency has been one thing that has helped Hickman carry out such a complex story. I really think he may have had a hard time were Don Heck and Sal Buscema still at the drawing board (although Sal did a great job with Walt Simonson on Thor, and on Defenders).

If this is the first issue of Hickman’s Avengers Project, Act 2, book me for a front row seat. Great issue!


Review: Infinity #6

I don’t like to use the term “textbook” in reviews. Textbook seems to be the epitome of the usual. And believe me, there is nothing usual about Infinity #6, the climactic ending of this fall’s blockbuster space opus.

Like Roy Thomas, Jim Starlin and Keith Giffen before him, Jonathan Hickman has created a superhero science fiction story that will last the test of time and be dubbed one of the classics of Marvel stories. In this era of the “event,” we have seldom seen its like in satisfying episodes, tie-ins and now conclusion.

Everything about Infinity has been good, and especially its ending chapter, issue #6.

The Avengers loom large in this issue, as they should. This has been and was planned to be an Avengers story, although it has become so much more.

Once again, a Marvel writer has brought to life the cosmic denizens of the complex universe created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Even though this was not written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, it was a pleasure to see characters they have handled and others come to life again in this very complex space story. We also witnessed how you can involve Earth in a cosmic stiry without it being “Earth-centric.”

Hickman focuses on the big but also the small in this issue. There is great character, but also great battle with major ramifications. There are moments for those that have their own magazines, as well as those that have been unique to this saga.

Everyone, everything has its moments. And we have satisfyingly conclusions that can only lead to more and better space-oriented stories, or such is the hope of we Marvel Cosmic fans.

For example, in the last few panels we can see the unrest in the Kree Empire which will lead to a refurbishing of the Invaders super team. Likewise, the Skrulls have a new emperor and Annihilus has a new world. And majorly, the Inhumans …! What is next for these developments?

As a fan of Marvel Cosmic, I’m genuinely going to miss Infinity and the issues of Avengers it has been tied to. While Hickman is scheduled to go on and compose great cosmic wonders in the pages of Avengers, there’s been a certain cohesiveness and sheer joy about Infinity, the Builders and Thanos.

Issue #6 is a genuinely satisfying conclusion which can only lead to better things and more Avengers worlds. I cannot wait to climb aboard that spaceship!

Job well done, Mr. Hickman and associates.

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