INCOMING #1 / Writers: Al Ewing, Chip Zdarsky, Kelly Thompson, Jason Aaron, Matthew Rosenberg, Greg Pak, Eve L. Ewing, Ed Brisson, Donny Cates, Saladin Ahmed, Tini Howard, Jonathan Hickman, & Dan Slott / Artists & Colorists: Various / Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham / Publisher: Marvel Comics / Publish Date: December 26th, 2019.
Marvel’s Incoming and Outgoing
A year’s worth of story at Marvel is recapped and future stories are touched upon in the 80 page book, Incoming. Various popular writers are tasked with connecting these stories throughout the Marvel Universe. The book begins with the mysterious Masked Rider, reintroduced in Marvel Comics #1000 this year, finding a dead body in a locked room. He manages to get Daredevil and Elektra involved and pass the mystery to Jessica Jones, who then calls Captain Marvel to help.
Each new snippet of story crosses from character to character and team to team until we come to an interesting end with Hulkling. Ultimately, the murder is not solved, but connections are made that will send us into the new year of stories. Many questions are left unanswered.
The writers for this book are an all-star team of talent. Each writer handles the storylines they have been working on and blend others’ arcs flawlessly. They even hint at stories from other books that aren’t represented, such as the mention of Mephisto by Black Panther in the Avengers arc. The result is that readers who subscribe to one book will still be in the universal “loop” by reading Incoming #1. Even though I read many of the books represented, I was able to catch up on other story lines in the arc, while being “in on the joke” for others.
Art Blend Weakness
Unfortunately, this flawless blend the writers have created does not extend to the artists. Differences in art style are normally appreciated, but in Incoming, they’re more of a weakness than mere difference. Take Captain Marvel – she crosses three stories and is drawn drastically different in each.
To start, Carmen Carnero’s portrayal is what fans of the character are currently used to seeing. The style is realistic to what strong women in real life look like. Two stories later, R.B. Silva draws her almost like a blow-up doll version of herself. Although attractive, it’s less realistic. The problem, though, comes with Andrea Sorrentino’s art in-between these other artists. Captain Marvel looks like a male with a bad, limp, greasy wig on, as does She-Hulk. She-Hulk also doesn’t have a consistent model. This sandwiching of two artists makes Sorrentino’s art look awful in comparison, although I’m not a fan of how he draws woman, regardless of the comparison.
None of that is helped by Jay Davis Ramos’s muted colors in the same section, especially when Rachelle Rosenberg and Israel Silva have used rich, vibrant, and varying use of colors on either side of the Avengers section. Most of the colorists in the book excel in grabbing the attention of the reader, with this one exception.
There are other characters affected by this same difference in art style, such as Hulkling, who is beautifully drawn and colored in his first appearance and then seems incomplete in the last appearance. It is unfortunate with such a strong story link to have such a jarring and separate art experience. This difference draws me out of the story in certain sections and gives the reader second thoughts about buying titles with certain artists.
Overall, Incoming is Discovery
Overall, Incoming is entertaining and a brief compendium of a year of story from Marvel while also having a view at future story arcs. The book is accessible, regardless of the jarring art changes throughout. It is also an opportunity for readers to discover new characters and team-ups they haven’t read yet. I am very excited to see the Agents of Atlas team present, as I feel they are the best new team-up of the year. Agents of Atlas gives Greg Pak a chance to shine when some Marvel readers don’t know how great he is yet. I must also mention what a great job VC’s Travis Lanham did lettering this book as characters crossed, never mind the volume of his work.
In the end, Incoming is a great way to discover new content that may pique your interest while featuring some old characters you can’t wait to see again. Some may see this as a preview book or book of ads, but it is more than that. I recommend picking this up for any Marvel comic fan or if you are Marvel curious.
Verdict: 4 out of 5