Comic Rack: Bendis Leaves Avengers, Venom Takes Over, and The Return of the Scarlet Spider!

What’s this? Another brand new comic feature here on Grizzly Bomb? But Supascoot, we already have Hero Express and The Griz Bin, why on earth would we need another one? Well, why not? Hero Express covers the movies, The Griz Bin covers the web, so we need something to cover the actual comics!

Welcome to Comic Rack! Your weekly look at all the comic news from across the industry!

Bendis Leaving the Avengers! – (Newsarama)

Brian Michael Bendis has been the driving force behind the Avengers for years. He Disassembled them, he made them New and Mighty, and he showed us the Dark side of the team as well. Carrying them through the Heroic Age and Fear Itself, it seems like Bendis’ run would never end. Well, its going to end. Here’s what he had to say about it:

“I’m going to wrap up ‘Avengers’ and ‘New Avengers.’ At the same time the first storyline of ‘Avengers Assemble’ will be done. It’s a good time to move on to other things. Before I go, though, I’m ending things big. I’m in countdown mode. You know when you’re watching a show like ‘Breaking Bad,’ and every episode feels like the second to last episode? That’s where I’m at. I’ve been on the Avengers longer than anybody in the history of the book. When you take everything into account, I’ve written over 200 issues. I’m very, very proud of that, and what we have coming up this summer gives me the opportunity to go out on a high note. I know enough about showbiz to know that’s a great time to go.

When Bendis says it’s ending big, you better believe its ending big. This man killed Peter Parker. Sure it was the Ultimate version, but he totally killed him. He killed Hawkeye! Then he brought him back but the damage was done. This guy means business. Watch out Avengers.

Avengers vs. X-Men: Its About Time! – (SuperHeroHype)

Both teams have dealt with a lot these past few years. The X-Men are fractured, the Avengers are still dealing with Norman Osborn and H.A.M.M.E.R. (read about that here) so obviously there’s never been a better time for these two teams to come together. Except they’re just gonna beat the shit out of each other instead.

This April, The Avengers and the X-Men—the two most popular franchises in comics history—go to war! Marvel is proud to announce AVENGERS VS X-MEN, a landmark 12-issue pop culture event bringing together the world’s greatest super heroes—Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Magneto and more—for an unforgettable battle beginning in April 2012.

AVENGERS VS X-MEN is written by a team of the top-selling authors in the comic book industry today: Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron, Jonathan Hickman, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction. This unprecedented assembly of acclaimed writers is joined by a trio of the industry’s superstar artists: John Romita Jr., Olivier Coipel and Adam Kubert. The Avengers and X-Men have learned that the all-powerful embodiment of both death and rebirth known as the Phoenix Force is on a crash course for Earth…and it needs a new host to unleash its immeasurable power. But what is the shocking decision tied to the Phoenix’s return that will pit the Avengers against the X-Men? And when good friends become bitter enemies, what does this mean for the future of the Marvel Universe?

The Phoenix? but wait… Haven’t I seen something about that? Oh, right:

Well, that explains that. This image has been floating around for a bit, and now we know why.

Venom Runs Muck Across The Marvel Universe – (Marvel)

One of my favorite characters to watch lately is Flash Thompson AKA Venom. A character that’s been behind the scenes of any Spidey comic, he’s really been coming into his own as the government’s secret agent. So it makes sense that next year he infects the Marvel U with a healthy heaping of variant covers.

Captain America #7 by Mike Perkins

You can find the variants with X-Men #23, Wolverine & the X-Men #4, Venom #12 (yes an issue of Venom still gets a Venom Variant), Captain America #7, Defenders #2, FF #14, and Secret Avengers #21 to name a few. But that’s not all Venom will be getting up to in the new year.

Secret Avengers: New Creative Team, New Lineup, More Venom! – (Newsarama)

A rising star in the Marvel U takes over the Secret Avengers and brings about some big changes. Rick Remender and Gabriel Hardman bring us a cast of heroes that would normally never work together, but chances are he’s going to make it epic. This cast includes Hawkeye as leader, Venom, Captain Britain, Giant Man, and returning members Beast, Valkyrie and Black Widow.

Next year, critically acclaimed creators Rick Remender (Uncanny X-Force) & Gabriel Hardman (Hulk) take readers deep under cover in Secret Avengers! Captain America has tasked Hawkeye with putting together a brand new team, ushering in a new era for the Secret Avengers. When the call is put out for heroes to save the Marvel Universe from its most dangerous foes, the biggest powerhouses will answer.  America’s Secret Soldier – Venom, The UK’s premiere super hero – Captain Britain, Founding Avenger – Giant-Man and more will join ranks to create a team that will have fans everywhere demanding more. Packed to the brim with action, intrigue, insurmountable odds AND covers by legendary artist Arthur Adams, no fan can miss this!

“Our opening arc will have a big secret war, a big secret new world, a big secret new race, a big team death, a big secret team betrayal, and begin a secret affair. High stakes, intrigue, and tons of character drama as we unearth the mystery surrounding familiar automaton villains reimagined as members of a new species–The Descendants!” exclaimed Remender. “I’m a tremendous fan of Gabe’s work; he’s one of the best storytellers in the business, always puts clarity first, while still managing engaging and dynamic action. I’m beyond excited to have him joining me on Secret Avengers. And having Art Adams on covers is truly a dream come true.”

And still, Venom is not done making the rounds.

‘Circle of Four’ Looks Like The New FF – (CBR)

Remember a long, long, long time ago when the Fantastic Four disappeared and a group of heroes vowed to fill their place? This team was comprised of Hulk, Wolverine, Ghost Rider and Spider-Man. Awesome right? Well, it didn’t last long. But it looks like Remender (we’ve spoken of him before) is uniting the next generation in ‘Circle of Four’, which teams up Venom, Red Hulk, X-23 and the new Ghost Rider.

February’s “Venom” #13 is the first chapter of the “Circle of Four” event by Remender and artist Tony Moore, which sees Flash Thompson arrive in Las Vegas for the beginning of a special 6-part story line guest-starring Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze, the Red Hulk and X-23. The story line was inspired by Walt Simonson and Art Adams’ “Fantastic Four” arc from the early ’90s which saw Spider-Man, The Hulk, Wolverine and Ghost Rider coming together to briefly form a new incarnation of the FF.

“This thing has gone through so many changes. Originally it was going to be Jason Aaron and me doing this. Then Jason took on another project and couldn’t, so we got lucky that Rob Williams [“Ghost Rider”] and Jeff Parker [“Hulk”] had time to become involved. The three of us got on the phone with editor Jeanine Schaefer and developed the plot into like a 130-page story. It’s a big, epic tale,” Remender said. “Everybody agreed that pinning it on the ‘Venom’ series proper was the right way to do it because it feeds out of so many things that are being built up in ‘Venom;’ his road trip to Las Vegas, why Crime Master sent him there, what he finds when he’s there, and Rulk chasing him. The big reveal that he uncovers is that Vegas is the site of a power struggle taking place between Mephisto and Blackheart for control of Earth. I just love that, in the midst of all these threats, Flash can actually handle what he unearths [and it’s] that, ‘Oh the Devil and his son are trying to take over the planet.’

There’s a huge amount of Venom info at the link, so be sure to check it out!

The Return of the Scarlet Spider – (CBR)

Yes, Scarlet Spider is back. But its not Ben Reilly. If anyone remembers the Clone Saga from the ’90s then you know exactly who Scarlet Spider and Ben Reilly are, which also means you know who Kaine is. Now Kaine is a disfigured clone that just won’t die. Even when it seemed he found his end in the Grim Hunt which brought Kraven the Hunter back to life, he’s still alive and kicking. After his life changing turn in ‘Spider Island’ he’s back… and wearing red:

Kaine, the unstable clone of Peter Parker first seen in the infamous “Clone Saga,” received a new lease on life thanks to the events of “Spider-Island.” With his body no longer rapidly degenerating, Kaine takes up the mantle of the Scarlet Spider—first held by Spider-Clone Ben Reilly—and considers what sort of hero he wants to be. After a debut outing in the “Point One” anthology, Kaine’s ongoing “Scarlet Spider” series debuts in January, written by Chris Yost with art by Ryan Stegman.

Kaine was not always meant to get his own series, Wacker said, but thought it sounded like a good idea to spin out of “Spider-Island.” “Plus, I just like the name,” he said.

“This is a guy who used to be semi-crazy, a full-on supervillain, but now he’s cured,” Yost said. Kaine goes on the road for “a journey of self discovery,” now that he’s not crazy and covered in scars.

“This is a guy who, for his entire life since he was born in a test tube, was dying, and now he’s not,” Yost added.

Wacker said that Kaine knowing he was going to die was somewhat freeing but, “now that he knows, oh shit, I might have to stick around for a while, he might have to deal with the consequences of his past actions.”

Variant by Mark Bagley

Stegman said it was “intimidating” to redesign the costume, doing away with the “beloved hoodie,” but Wacker said that Stegman approached the job with enthusiasm. Yost added, “this is something that Ryan clearly put a lot of thought into—this is a character that will be around for a while.”

Unlike Peter Parker, Kaine’s body language is not “over the top animated,” and bears more marks of age. “He’s been through more—not that Peter hasn’t, but he’s been through the rough stuff,” Stegman said. Wacker added that, while Peter is in his mid-20s, Kaine is probably in his mid-30s.

I grew up on the Clone Saga. Then I stopped reading comics because of the Clone Saga. But I always loved Scarlet Spider, and am indeed curious to see what becomes of this new direction for Kaine. Check here for a preview of the first issue.

Next edition we’ll take a look at the other side of the pond and cover some DC New 52 News!

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