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Comics Relief: ARCHIE Comes To A Devilish End, Marvel Reveals Variant Cover for Final AVENGERS Issue, & THE SPIRIT Returns

Hello comic book superfans, and welcome to today’s edition of Comics Relief! We’ve got a good amount of cool news going into the weekend, including the return of a a couple of heroes from the pulp era of adventure, a look at the “final” issue of The Avengers, and the story of the coolest young superhero fan you’ll hear about all year. But first, Archie is coming to an end soon, with a rather ominous number serving as his swan song issue…

Archie Set To End With Issue #666

After both Action Comics and Detective Comics got rebooted to #1 with the advent of the New 52 back in 2011, that left Archie as the longest running American comic book. Now Archie is getting rebooted too, with an all-new direction and a fresh #1 issue, which means the old one is coming to an end…with issue #666.

I’ve got to say, that’s an ominous number to end on. Does the reboot happen because Satan comes to Riverdale? Was the Devil really Archie all along? (That bright red hair should have been a dead giveaway.) Of course, it appears to just be a coincidence, but I feel like it at least deserves some kind of devilish variant cover or something, right? Oh well, the crazies on YouTube will no doubt have several Illuminati/Satanic Cult conspiracy videos about this regardless. Archie #666 promises to be a look back at the history of Archie and his pals, and is set to come out in June. [Comics Alliance]

11 Year Old Superfan Asks DC For More Representation, And Becomes A Hero Herself

A truly awesome 11-year-old comics fan by the name of Rowan Hansen got a fair share of media attention last month for her letter asking DC Comics to “please do something” about the lack of comics, movies, and toys featuring female superheroes. DC actually responded, tweeting, “We agree, we’re working hard to create more superhero fun for girls!” On an episode this week of NBC’s Today, they featured a segment about Rowan’s letter, and the producers presented her with a huge assortment of DC items as a symbol of DC’s “commitment to fulfill their promise.” Maybe the coolest gift though was a framed drawing of Rowan as a superhero.

Although Rowan was obviously thrilled at all the free swag and the awesome picture, she made it clear her goal of getting more female superheroes is far from over: “It was really, really cool, ’cause they’re so big and important people; but I thought ‘I don’t want people to think, Oh, yeah, OK, they responded to her. Now it’s over.’ I want people to keep trying to make this happen, ’cause it’s really important to me.” How awesome is this kid?

To be fair, DC has made some serious strides in making new superhero series featuring women lately, but when it comes to toys and licensed products, their track record is appalling; just walk into your local Target or Wal-Mart, and almost all the Justice League licensed products feature the core members displayed on them- except for Wonder Woman. The message here is “girls, superheroes aren’t for you, and boys, you shouldn’t look up to women as role models or heroes.” This kind of nonsense needs to STOP. I’m talkin’ to you too Marvel. [Today via CBR]

Marvel Previews Variant Cover For Avengers #44, The “Final” Issue Before The New Marvel Universe

Avengers #44 will be the final issue of the Jonathan Hickman iteration of the flagship series, and if Marvel is to be taken on their word, it’s also the last issue of Avengers before the birth of an all-new Marvel Universe as a result of Secret Wars. To celebrate, the publisher is releasing a special variant cover featuring the classic team, as drawn by artist Jim Cheung.

Here’s how Marvel describes the last issue: “This April, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes face extinction. As Secret Wars and the final incursion looms, our heroes stand shoulder to shoulder for their cataclysmic end. Today, Marvel is pleased to present your look at superstar artist Jim Cheung’s Final Issue Variant to Avengers #44 – the last, epic issue!” [Newsarama]

Matt Wagner Brings Back The Spirit To Dynamite Entertainment

Creator Matt Wagner, creator of legendary comics like Grendel and Mage, has been announced by Dynamite Entertainment as writing an all-new series featuring Will Eisner’s classic noir hero The Spirit, just in time for his 75th Anniversary. Set to launch this July at San Diego Comic-Con, The Spirit will be getting his own ongoing series by Wagner in the Fall. The Spirit #1 launch issue will feature cover artwork from all-star illustrators Alex Ross, Eric Powell, and also series writer Matt Wagner himself.

In a statement from Matt Wagner, he says “I discovered The Spirit via the black-and-white, magazine-sized reprints of the mid-70s. It was the first time that I truly perceived sequential narrative as a legitimate art form, of the immense creative power of a comic-artist in his prime; I can honestly say that seeing and experiencing The Spirit in my formative years ultimately led to my career as a comics author. It’s such an immense thrill and a professional honor to have the chance to contribute to Will Eisner’s legacy on the milestone 75th anniversary of his most influential and iconic character.” [Dynamite Entertainment]


Mark Waid Set To Write The Avenger

Nope, not the team of Marvel heroes, but The Avenger, singular. Aside from Wagner’s upcoming The Spirit, Dynamite Entertainment is also re-launching another hero from the classic era. Mark Waid was just announced to write the new Justice, Inc.: The Avenger series. Together with artist Ronilson Freire, Waid will expand the universe of pulp heroes at Dynamite that includes The Shadow and Doc Savage. The new series will debut with a #1 issue in June 2015 and focus on wealthy industrialist Richard Henry Benson, “the tragic, relentless vigilante and master of disguise known as The Avenger.”

In a statement, Waid says, “Moreso than The Shadow, moreso than Doc Savage, the Avenger has always, always been my favorite pulp hero, and I’ve been aching to write this story since I was eleven years old. What a blast! Having the opportunity to dive into the psyche of a crimefighter as unique as Benson has been a lifelong dream — I’ve been thinking about what his life and mind would be like ever since I read my first Avenger paperback back in the day.” [Newsarama]

Peter David To Come Back To The Hulk For Secret Wars?

Writer Peter David’s run on The Incredible Hulk lasted over a decade, and was the defining run for the Green/Gray Goliath in the modern era. One of his most beloved Hulk stories, Future Imperfect, featured the Hulk a hundred years into the future, after nuclear war has killed almost all of Earth’s heroes. This future version of the Hulk, driven insane by the radiation and now calling himself the Maestro, has seized control of the world. He also has the intelligence of Bruce Banner and the absorbed radiation has significantly enhanced his strength. It was announced last year that the world of Future Imperfect would return in 2015, in what we know now to presumably be one of the worlds in Battleworld in the Secret Wars event.

In an interview with CBR, David mentions bringing back the Maestro for the 2099 world. When asked why he was bringing him back, he said “Because I’m working on an upcoming project featuring the character, I decided this would be a good time to bring him back into the Marvel Universe. And since I knew that Miguel was returning to 2099, it seemed a good time to bring him in.” The “other project” is almost certainly Future Imperfect, although I guess we’ll have to wait and see. [Bleeding Cool]

Buffy & ___: Happy Ending After All These Years? SPOILERS For Buffy Season 10

Fans of Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer know that over the course of seven seasons of television, Buffy had three great loves in her life: the vampires Angel, the human soldier Riley Finn (the “Jan Brady” of Buffy’s boyfriends), and the most controversial of them all, the vampire Spike. Why controversial? Well, Buffy was in a particularly self-loathing mode when she entered into an affair with the literally soulless and evil Spike, and when she attempted to break it off, there was an attempted sexual assault, which prompted Spike to go to the ends of the Earth to get a soul and become a good person worthy of Buffy.

Despite achieving his goal, becoming a good guy, and even saving the world, Joss Whedon thought it sent a bad message to have a girl get together with the man who attempted to rape her, even if he was almost a totally different person now, so on the show the two never had a physical relationship again. Until now that is. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 issue #12, released this week, Buffy and Spike finally get together again in the biblical sense. Although not written by Whedon, it is “executive produced” by him, so he had to approve it. Surely this will cause controversy in the still vocal online Buffy fandom. Also revealed in issue #12 is that Scooby Gang member Andrew Wells is gay. But who didn’t know that?


Have a favorite comics news item this week? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Coyote says:

    Q. Who killed “The Spirit” ?
    A. Frank Miller