As revealed in an ad included in this week’s new releases, Marvel Comics is getting back into the Jonathan Hickman game, with the superstar writer’s long-rumored return to the publisher being announced for July 2019. But the big question is, what is he writing?
We’re going to find out for sure this Saturday at 4PM Central Time during Marvel’s Next Big Thing panel at C2E2. Until then fans are full of guesses thanks to the above teaser released last week. To tide fans over until the announcement, we speculate on the likely candidates, from wild guess, to the most likely.
A few fans are guessing that Hickman is returning to one of the two properties he made his biggest mark on in the past. It’s pretty unlikely though given A) Both current runs of FF and Avengers are still pretty new, B) Hickman seemed to give a very definitive concluding statement to his take on both properties at the end of Secret Wars, and C) neither title fits the tease at all. It’s possible but unlikely.
So let’s be honest here, Spider-Man doesn’t fit the tease very well either. But there have been plenty of Spider-Man stories about evolution, and ever since 2001, the idea of the Spider-totems has sort of established the spiders as a mythological species. Pair that with Nick Spencer’s current Amazing Spider-Man run reaching #25 in July (a number Spencer hasn’t written past at Marvel before) and Hickman’s well-received take on Spider-Man while writing FF and Avengers, it’s a possibility. Still not very likely, but possible.
Now we get into the much more likely options. For the redefining Hickman has done to Marvel’s seminal spy/law enforcement organization, he really hasn’t done much with the organization itself in the modern day. The closest would be Secret Warriors, but that series took place entirely while SHIELD was disbanded and replaced by Norman Osborn’s HAMMER. With the super-spy organization currently nonexistent, a series chronicling their return in the midst of some sort of war between species would be a lot of fun.
So this is an interesting one that’s getting a LOT of attention. The Eternals are basically the only Marvel property that the Secret Wars saga really didn’t touch much, so Hickman is totally fresh to them, AND the property has a film coming in the next couple of years. However, Jason Aaron’s current Avengers run, well, killed them all and downloaded the extent of their knowledge into Tony Stark’s brain. That all seems like a set-up for a future Avengers storyline, but it could be a tease for a revival of Jack Kirby’s classic concept. So… maybe.
This is the possibility that most people are latching on to, and the evidence is pretty strong. The Age of X-Man event is wrapping up in July, prompting speculation of an X-line relaunch that month. However, Matthew Rosenberg’s Uncanny X-Men run really is just gaining momentum, and it seems like odd timing to cut it off at the knees. Also, if the new era of X-Men launches in July, that would be a PACKED month for the franchise, as it appears Rosenberg’s run would wrap up, Age of X-Man would conclude AND the line relaunches. It’s very possible, but the timeline is TIGHT.
Now hear me out. In the last entry, I was speaking of the entire franchise, and here I’m talking a specific title. Giving Hickman Astonishing X-Men, while the rest of the line relaunches could be interesting. There are currently four past volumes of Astonishing, and each one was an event/prestige title. Hickman getting a prestige/standalone X-Men team book, separate but connected to the rest of the line would be a total “have your cake and eat it too” move that wouldn’t surprise me.
Now… here’s where I’m personally putting my bets. The Inhumans as a concept has been resting since the end of Donny Cates’ Death of the Inhumans which seems to set up a new destiny for the heroes. After Marvel’s push of them for the last decade, they needed the break. However, it’s a great opportunity for a superstar creator to come in and put them back in the spotlight, and center them in the Marvel Universe once again.
Some combination of the above
Let’s not forget Hickman’s history with Marvel. He’s basically written two titles concurrently every time he’s been writing for them, from Fantastic Four/Secret Warriors, to FF/Fantastic Four, to Avengers/New Avengers. Giving him two linked titles is pretty much his brand at the publisher, and linking, say, the resurgence of SHIELD to the return of the X-Men from the Age of X-Man, or the Inhumans returning to Earth could be an event story worth talking about.
Regardless of what it is exactly, fans are already excited to see the writer return to Marvel. And I’m right there with them.