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Marvel Relaunches THE DEFENDERS with Bendis and the Netflix Heroes

Marvel Relaunches THE DEFENDERS with Bendis and the Netflix Heroes

Hello comic book fangirls and fanboys, to your mid-week edition of Comics Relief! It’s a Marvel Comics heavy column today, as the publisher has three big announcements this week regarding new series launches. Read on for all the details.

Marvel Announces the Return of The Defenders

We knew it was only a matter of time before The Defenders got their own comic book title from Marvel once again. Now it’s official: writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist David Marquez are re-launching the classic Marvel team, with the exact same line-up of members as the upcoming Netflix series: Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones and Daredevil. Corporate synergy at its finest folks.

In a statement, Bendis said “I wanted do a sprawling, Godfather-like epic at the street level of the Marvel Universe, Really putting our hooks down and creating a modern, elaborate organized crime story that is different than what has gone before, but builds on everything that has happened to these characters, as individuals or as a team, and putting them in the hardest battle for the street that anyone can imagine.”

“You will get Jessica Jones looking out her window, street-level, and my return to Daredevil, which will be different than what I and Alex did before,” Bendis continued. “And Luke and Danny—characters that I have a strong affinity for. I spent most of the oughts being mocked for the love of Luke Cage. Now that Luke Cage is a household name, I just sit back in my chair and laugh and laugh.” Defenders #1 is scheduled to debut in June, after a preview to be released on Free Comic Book Day in May. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Guardians of the Galaxy Gets All-New Creative Team

With Brian Bendis starting a new Defenders title, he had to leave an old title behind, which means he will no longer be writing Guardians of the Galaxy for Marvel. So naturally, Marvel is relaunching the title as All-New Guardians of the Galaxy with writer Gerry Duggan and artist Aaron Kuder. The new book will be released twice a month, with guest artists filling-in on smaller stories that focus on the individual team members, in-between arcs drawn by Kuder.

Marvel’s official description of the new series is as follows: “Star-Lord. Gamora. Drax. Rocket Raccoon. Groot. Reunited and it feels so good! After an extended stay on this mudball we call Earth, the Guardians of the Galaxy return to the stars! Yet, as this band of misfits reunites, they’ll find they’ve undergone some…changes. Drax the Destroyer has sworn off violence. Groot isn’t regenerating as he once was. This team better get it together, because it won’t be long before they find themselves in a war between the Elders of the Universe. One that will force them to pull off the biggest heist they’ve ever attempted – literally!”

Followers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe might have heard that The Elders of the Universe are supposed to figure into the Guardians movie sequel, so much like Defenders, this is corporate synergy at work once more. The first issue is set launch in May.

Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern Intros New Power Ring

When writer Geoff Johns reinvented the Green Lantern mythology several years back, he added many new colors of power rings, and the concept of the emotional spectrum which fuels them. Now, for the BOOM! Studios/DC Comics crossover Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern, writers Robbie Thompson and Justin Jordan will introduce the Universal Power Ring, a weapon created by the Guardians that harnesses the power of the whole emotional spectrum. (which sounds a bit like the Phantom Ring in the current DC Rebirth Green Lanterns series).

Series editor Dafna Pleban said in a statement “creating a ring that amplified all the conflicting emotions Cornelius has for his home—his hope, fear and everything else—felt both narratively engaging and just visually cool, something that Robbie, Justin, and Barnaby captured really well in this design. How it got to the Planet of the Apes, and why? We can’t wait for you to find out.” You can see the design for the new ring above. The first issue of Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern hits on [Comic Book]

Graphic Novel Sales Only Ones to Increase Up in 2016

Don’t let anyone tell you that the art of the comic book is dying. In fact, the reverse is true—the graphic storytelling format is thriving and finding new fans now more than ever. Just this past year, according to Publisher’s Weekly report on bookstore sales, graphic novel sales were up 12%, the only category to show a rise. This was still down from 2015, when graphic novels saw a rise of 22% in bookstores. Among the best selling graphic novels  will likely be stalwarts like The Killing Joke. All other categories saw things remain flat, or saw an actual decrease in sales, except graphic novels. So, say it with me: Go Comics! [Comics Beat]

Scarlet Spider Returns From the ’90s

Marvel recently revealed that the long thought to be dead Spider-Man clone Ben Reilly has come back as the villainous Jackal, the baddie behind the recent Clone Conspiracy event. Now, for the first time in twenty years, Marvel is bringing Ben Reilly back in his own ongoing series called Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider.

Although this might sound like a bad idea, the creative team couldn’t be better: writer Peter David and former Ultimate Spider-Man artist Mark Bagley will be in charge. With this new series comes a newly redesigned costume for Ben Reilly that evokes his old look. You can see a preview of the issue #1 cover above, and for more on the new Scarlet Spider book, click on our full story: [Nerdist]

Image Comics Pays Homage to 25 Years of Covers

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Image Comics, and to celebrate, several Image titles over the course of 2017 will be honoring the publisher’s past with a series of special covers. This cover series is called “Homage Covers: Celebrating Past, Present, Future,” and the first one to be released is a variant cover by Eric Canete and Jordan Boyd for Deadly Class #26, which pays tribute to Cyberforce #1 by Marc Silvestri. Many more Image homage covers will be coming throughout the year. In the meantime, you can see the Deadly Class and original Cyberforce covers in our gallery below. [Newsarama]

Images: Marvel Comics / DC Comics / Image Comics / BOOM! Studios 

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