In commemoration of the this weekend’s premiere of Marvel’s The Avengers (and as part of our month long Standard Deviations series dedicated to the team), we’re taking a look at some past sets of variants shipped to coincide with the premieres of the solo movies featuring the Avengers’ “Big Three:” Iron Man, Thor and Captain America. The trend of shipping variants throughout the week’s leading up to Marvel’s big screen releases began with 2009′s Wolverine: Origins. As a result, no such cover events coincided the original Iron Man movie in 2008. In this edition, we begin with the May 2010 “Iron Man by Design” variants that shipped to coincide with Iron Man 2.
Two weeks ago we took a look at 2011′s Marvel Comics’ 50th Anniversary homage variants and I couldn’t help but mention 2009′s “70th Anniversary” set. You read those numbers correctly: 70th anniversary in 2009, 50th anniversary in 2011. Using an “any excuse for a celebration” approach, the publisher decided to cobble together its history as Marvel (dating back to 1961), Atlas (operating from 1951 to 1957), and Timely (operating from 1939 to 1950) and whether you love or hate the decision, it led to some beautiful cover art from Marko Djurjevic.
While I’ll admit to a certain amount of fondness for the Hulk, Captain America and Iron Fist, for the most part I’ve never really been a fan of the Marvel Universe in general. So you can imagine my surprise at the number of Marvel toys I purchased over the last week at Walmart. This story actually starts a few weeks ago when I stumbled upon a display of balls. The display promised that each ball opened like one of those plastic eggs you see around Easter time and that within them would be a tiny Marvel figure. The line is called Marvel Heroics and among the photographs on the display were Captain America and Hulk. The balls were priced at just $.97 so I figured I’d buy one. At that price, why not!?
Wednesday saw the release of Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness’s Avengers: X-Sanction #1 (look for our review of the issue here). The book features the return of the X-Men’s Cable that was teased at this year’s San Diego Comic Con and is the first appearance of the character after his noble death during X-Men: Second Coming. As a fan of Cable, I have very mixed feelings about his resurrection, but with the recent announcement of next Summer’s blockbuster Avengers vs. X-Men series this series’ importance has seemingly increased. As a high profile book, Marvel has seen fit to ship seven different covers for the first issue ranging in price from its $3.99 cover price to over $200 from Midtown Comics’ online store.
More variants are planned for each issue of the series and we’ll have updates here they ship.
Kieron Gillen and Carlos Pacheco’s introduction to the new volume of Uncanny X-Men is a solid first issue that gives a good idea of what to expect from the series: universe class threats, incredible displays of power and the X-Men striving to become Earth’s mightiest heroes. This comes along with their interpersonal struggles as Cyclops has assembled a team of former (and perhaps future) super-villains each powerful enough to go toe-to-toe with teams of heroes on their own if they chose. Much like last week’s Wolverine and the X-Men #1, there is some silliness, but here it is coupled with a lot more action and the reemergence of an old threat with some new tricks.
Spoilers for Uncanny X-Men Volume 2 #1 will follow.