Incoming! is the latest extra-sized comic event from Marvel Comics produced by multiple writers and artists. It’s interesting to see Marvel toy with this format as it’s likely economical to have so many creators working at once to end up with a longer read, but I can only imagine it gives the editors extra-sized migraines. Incoming! is being tasked with revealing the future of Marvel and after reading it it’s safe to say it very much is, or more accurately it’s a preview or starter for tons of stories and series in 2020.
It takes about 20 or so pages to realize what this book really is, but at first glance, it reads like the start of a whodunnit. The mysterious Masked Raider opens the book and he’s trying to figure out how a mysterious–and quite average looking–man was murdered. Why this character matters is beyond me, but soon we’re witnessing the Masked Raider absorb or share powers with other heroes nearby. It’s quite clear this opening serves as a means to get a bit more info about this mysterious character while also setting up the mystery of the dead man. Soon the story follows Jessica Jones, who is at the same crime scene and uncovers a clue the Masked Raider may have missed. Aside from weaving Jessica Jones into the story, it feels very much like a check-in with the character. Cut to another art team and Jessica asking Captain Marvel for help. Once again, it reads like a way to check in on Carol Danvers while also linking her into the story. It’s not until Captain Marvel meets up with John Woo and Nightthrasher that it becomes clear this book is serving as a preview to kickstart Marvel’s many stories in the new year. Captions explain what Strikeforce is if you haven’t been reading it, and connecting the dots as to how these characters know each other. Essentially this book is a primer to get you jazzed for stories and get a taste of what the creative teams have to offer.
I’ll admit it’s a clever way to loop nearly all of Marvel’s major players into one single comic book and for the most part, it works quite well. Once you realize what it’s doing, you, unfortunately, stop caring about the mysterious dead man (things pick up with him in the last third of the book), since the focus seems to be on explaining who people are and what they are up to. If its main purpose is to draw you into many different disparate stories, this book wildly succeeds.
That is partly due to the mysterious dead man not so much drawing a ton of interest. I for one didn’t care much about who he was and the eventual reveal at the end which is ultimately a tease for Marvel’s April event, Empyre. Will I read it? Sure. Was this a fun way to get nearly the entire Marvel universe involved with a singular mission? It sure was, but sadly a lot of these check-in stories don’t matter. Nova, for instance, is a nice way to find out what he’s been up to, but a total dead end. Mr. Sinister’s story is confusing as all hell but serves to show that he’s up to no good. We probably could have guessed at that. Some stories do better than others to link up to the mystery, but many are so loosely connected they feel forced into this narrative. I can imagine if you haven’t been reading most of everything like me that is an exciting prospect, though, and an entertaining one. If you already know what say, Nova was up to the last month, it’s kind of boring.
This book is an impressive piece of comic book craftmanship. The creative teams involved are all doing some of their best work and the sheer number of creators and chapters linked together is impressive. Tom Brevoort (with special thanks to Jordan D. White) should be commended for pulling this off so well. That said, it does suffer when you realize many of these chapters are linked into the narrative simply to act as a preview for what is to come. When it’s obvious a chunk of story is there simply to refresh on what is going on, it’s hard to care.
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