Let me start this article off with a disclaimer: everything you’re about to read here is speculation. Well-informed speculation, in many cases, but speculation nonetheless. It’s entirely possible that any of these solicits represent the end of a storyline or a turning point in the book and not the end of the book. With that out of the way, let’s talk about this.
Each month, when Marvel releases their solicitations, I read through all of them looking for “stories,” which is to say a unique headline angle about an upcoming title that hasn’t been covered already in pre-solicit PR. One angle for a story, of course, is that a book has been canceled. But it’s been a long while since Marvel explicitly noted that books were ending with a “FINAL ISSUE” note for books that aren’t mini-series. If I had to guess, I’d say that’s because Marvel doesn’t want websites writing articles about which books Marvel has canceled or fans getting upset that their favorite titles are ending. Instead, you have to kind of work it out from the solicit text and have it confirmed in the next month or two when no new issue is solicited, or do some digging through TPB solicitations for more clues.
An example of this is X-23, which was never announced as ending; Marvel simply stopped soliciting new issues after X-23 #12, and last week’s X-23 #11 ended with the teaser “to be concluded.” Thus, X-23 is canceled… but Marvel never said so. We used to call this “stealth canceling.” But now it’s just the normal way Marvel cancels books.
So with all of that being said, in my look through Marvel’s July solicits, I identified five titles whose solicits are foreboding enough that I would guess they are probably canceled after July’s issue.
The first is a group of X-Men titles, and these fall into the category of possibly canceled to make way for Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men line relaunch, kicking off in July with House of X and Powers of X. First up is Uncanny X-Men, which not only wraps up all of the post-Disassembled storylines, but also ends with an oversized $4.99 issue.
UNCANNY X-MEN #21 & #22
MATTHEW ROSENBERG (W) • Salvador Larroca (A)
Covers by WHILCE PORTACIO
ISSUE #21 – CARNAGE-IZED VARIANT COVER BY DECLAN SHALVEY
ISSUE #22 – CARNAGE-IZED VARIANT COVER BY TBA
It all ends here. This is forever!
As Cyclops’ cleanup mission nears its close, all the problems the X-Men face come together. The truth behind the Hellfire Club’s intentions, the culmination of the O.N.E.’s assaults on mutantkind and even the inner struggles within the team… It all ends here. This is forever.
Issue #21 – 32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
Issue #22 – 40 PGS./Rated T+ …$4.99
So is that the end for Uncanny X-Men? Is it getting canceled and perhaps rebooted after HixMen? Maybe getting a new creative team? Or maybe this is just the end of Rosenberg and Larroca’s storyline and they’ll be starting a new one in August. It may be another month before we learn the truth. If it is though, it’s a shame, as Rosenberg and Larocca have absolutely killed it on Uncanny, and I would personally rather see it continue than read Jonathan Hickman’s nonsense. To each their own though, of course.
Next is X-Force, which is hitting its tenth issue, the perfect length for two trade paperbacks.
ED BRISSON (W)
Dylan Burnett (A)
Cover by Valerio Schiti
With Rachel Summers under his control, Stryfe and his Mutant Liberation Front finally have the power to secure their futures – at the cost of everyone else’s. Will Cable and his X-Force be able to stop them, or will the time stream be forever altered? Find out in this final showdown!
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$3.99
So is that the end of X-Force? Or simply the end of that storyline? Again, there’s no good way to confirm other than waiting to see if Marvel solicits X-Force #11 in August.
Finally, for this group, is Deadpool #15. This one we can be a little more certain of because Rich Johnston reported recently based on sources that Deadpool would be getting a creative refresh soon. And like Uncanny X-Men, this one is an oversized $4.99 issue.
SKOTTIE YOUNG (W)
NIC KLEIN (A/C)
CARNAGE-IZED VARIANT COVER
BY SKOTTIE YOUNG
PAY THE DEVIL HIS DUE!
• Mephisto and Weasel have come for Deadpool!
• Will Good Night finally get his vengeance?
• Can Deadpool survive? And what will be left of him?
40 PGS./Parental Advisory …$4.99
Again, not necessarily confirmed… but likely, I would say.
Next up is a different category of book: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur isn’t tied up in any line-wide relaunches or Jonathan Hickman returns, so we can’t attribute a potential cancellation to that. Further, Moon Girl is a book whose single-issue direct market sales have been low for a long time. January’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #39 barely made Diamond’s top 300 comics, with Comichron estimating sales at under 6,000 copies. It is Marvel’s lowest-selling book in the direct market, outsold in January even by all of the True Believers Conan reprints.
But Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is frequently touted as a book that does very well in trades, in the bookstore market, where Marvel is able to reach an audience outside of the typical Wednesday Warrior. It’s widely believed that this success outside the direct market is what’s kept Moon Girl going for so long. Maybe it’s no longer enough and the book is canceled. Maybe it’s changing formats, and will be digital-first for single issues or straight to trade. Maybe I’m just wildly misreading the solicit. Again, Marvel doesn’t offer any transparency into this stuff, so we’re dealing with educated guesswork here. But read the solicit and draw your own conclusion.
MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #45
BRANDON MONTCLARE (W)
ALITHA E. MARTINEZ (a)
Cover by Rahzzah
THE END IS NEAR!
Will Lunella and Devil be able to fix the Omni-Wave Projector and repair time? Not without help from Lunella’s preteen parents…but she might accidentally erase herself from history in the process!
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99
It’s worth noting that this solicit doesn’t necessarily mean the book is ending. Amazon’s early listing for Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur Vol. 8 lists the book at 136 pages, which would be consistent with a 6-issue trade. And since Vol, 7 ends with Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #41, that would leave us two more issues after July’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #45. Hence: the end is “near,” not the end is “here.” Though Amazon listings can change as well. Of course, it’s entirely possible I’m off-base here, but it’s food for thought.
And that brings us to our final comic, Unstoppable Wasp. And of all of the books listed here, if I’m right, this one stings the most… er, no pun intended. Because Unstoppable Wasp isn’t a book that’s likely to be rebooted in a few months as part of a line-wide X-book relaunch. Unstoppable Wasp, in fact, is more similar to Moon Girl in that it has a similar mission of empowering young girls. Further, it’s one of the few Marvel books to feature queer relationships and a truly diverse cast. You’ll hear a lot of bluster from Marvel business executives about how Marvel represents “the world outside your window,” but for all of that talk, you can count the queer relationships in currently-published Marvel comics on one hand. Maybe half of one hand. If Unstoppable Wasp ends in July, that will be one less. The series also deals with issues that regular teenagers can easily relate to, with the most recent storyline featuring Nadia dealing with bipolar disorder.
All of that makes Unstoppable Wasp uniquely positioned to appeal to an audience outside of the direct market in trade paperback collections, an audience that Marvel needs if it wants to attract the next generation of Wednesday Warriors to the direct market so they can sell them $4.99 bi-weekly Uncanny X-Men comics. January’s Unstoppable Wasp, according to Comichron estimates, sold just slightly more copies than Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, less than 7,000, making it the second-lowest selling single-issue Marvel comic in the direct market. But unlike Moon Girl, Unstoppable Wasp hasn’t yet had a chance to connect with bookstore readers because the first trade paperback, Unstoppable Wasp: Unlimited Vol. 1: Fix Everything, isn’t set to come out until May.
It’s not a new story for Unstoppable Wasp, which has been canceled before, only to return once its trades hit the bookstores and sold well. Maybe, if it’s canceled again, it will return again. But wouldn’t it make more sense for Marvel to wait and see how the first trade sells in May before making that decision?
THE UNSTOPPABLE WASP #10
JEREMY WHITLEY (W)
Cover by STACEY LEE
It’s the final showdown between G.I.R.L. and A.I.M., and only one team of super-scientists can come out on top! But what dark secret do the agents of A.I.M. know about Nadia’s past? And once it comes to light, will anything ever be the same again?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
Again, if I’ve misjudged this solicit, well… apologies for wasting everyone’s time.