Marvel gives us a preview of seven of its most anticipated stories for 2012.

Written by Ed Brubaker and pencils by Javier Pulido, Behold the Watcher is the opening story as well as the principle tale on which all the others are based. Members of the Unseen Force enter the Watcher’s (a godlike being) domain searching for information about the past, present and future. The Unseen Force wishes to steal the knowledge the Watcher possesses and kill him. It is unclear why they want knowledge of the varying time lines but it seems it is to alter some future or past event. The retro artwork was done hastily and looks childish. The grand scale of the story seems intriguing though.

Next you have Nova Harbinger, drawn by Ed McGuiness and written by Jeph Loeb. In it Nova attempts to warn Terrax and the planet he protects that the White Phoenix Force will destroy the planet unless they evacuate. Some good artwork by McGuiness courtesy of some intense action scenes covers the weak dialogue. It looks like fun but maybe Loeb should revise his tone, teenage retorts don’t work when entire worlds are destroyed.

Third up is the one story that was the most gripping, Age of Apocalypse: The Myth of Man. Writer, David Lapham’s tale seems to take place in the future after humanity has been wiped out by mutants. As it turns out there are still some human rebels lurking around and under the leadership of The Red Prophet (William Stryker) have formed a guerilla movement whose sole purpose is to bring down mutant rule and avenge the destruction of the human race. Murky and gritty artwork by Robert De La Torre boosts the appeal of this book even more so.

Another promising publication is Scarlet Spider. Kaine, a clone of Peter Parker has decided to run away from all his troubles. He heads south for the border but against his better judgment decides to intervene at a bank robbery. The better half of him holds sway against the monster that lurks inside. Ryan Stegman’s cartoony artwork is a bit light for the subject matter but looks so smooth and clean you end up loving it. Marvel needs some great story lines to reinvigorate the company and this tidbit of Christ Yost has to live up to expectation.

From the ‘promising’ we move over to the ‘what do we make of this?’ Coldmoon and Dragon Fire: Ying and Yang is not all that original…fire and ice…hmmm. The Taiji Corporation has been rearing these two teenage siblings all their lives with neither of them aware of the others existence. Together they become more than the sum of their parts and create a molecular force unheard of. The two escape and team up with the Avengers to bring down the evil company. Maybe writer, Fred Van Lente and artist, Salvador Lorroca have an ace up their sleeve and ‘wow’ us with ongoing publications.

Doctor Strange: The Shaman of Greenwich Village is quite interesting. Doctor Strange stumbles across village nut and local historian, Notebooks Joe and finds out that the vagrant never sleeps. Perplexed, Strange decides to enter Joe’s dreams and discovers that Joe has been asleep the whole time, even when ‘awake’. While in the dream Doctor Strange comes across something that could affect his future. It will be quite interesting to see how Matt Fraction handles the character of Strange as he is not your average run of the mill persona.

The last story is, The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Spiderman and Hawkeye are hunted by Ultron’s robots and the entire human race seems to be under threat. Dense action breakdowns by Bryan Hitch and brilliant art effects make this one a juicy foretaste of what’s to come. Brian Bendis seems to locate this story in the future as well.

How the writers integrate the entire arc together will prove whether or not Marvel can bounce back in the creative department.



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