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Marvel Comics news: "Amazing Spider-Man 2", the new Ghost Rider and "W&TXM"

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The latest wall-crawling batch of Marvel Comics related news items from December 1st - 3rd, 2013!

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Official description and poster for "Amazing Spider-Man 2"!

Considering all the success of Disney's slate of Marvel Studios films lately as well as the heavy push Fox Studios has been putting into their most recent "X-Men" related films, it can be easy to forget that there are other Marvel licenses with another studio as well. Sony's "Amazing Spider-Man 2" directed by Marc Webb is now officially less than six months away, and as such it is time for its promotional push to begin in earnest.

As such, a 30 second "teaser" video has emerged online, which is really just a taste of a full trailer which will debut later in the week. The biggest tidbits are an official film description as well as a high resolution image of a massive three part film poster which sees the web-slinger (once again played by Andrew Garfield) facing down not one, or two, but three villains! The film summary notes the key players in the piece: Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) and the chief antagonist of the film, Electro (Jamie Foxx). Furthermore, it carries along with the "conspiracy" angle of the first film which lays the blame for most of the superhumans of this world at the feet of "OsCorp", the often nefarious genetics and military weapons company run by Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper).

However, the extended poster also has a look at a white haired man riding what seems to be a "Goblin glider", which may be Cooper in action. In addition, it also seems to have a what looks to be a four legged mechanical robot with a machine gun attachment; in all probability, some sort of hi-tech rig which is utilized by Aleksei Sytsevich/Rhino (Paul Giamatti), who was described by the actor once as "a Russian mobster...[with] a hammy accent". While freaks of science created by OsCorp have been old hat for Spider-Man films, this would be the first time one sought to involve organized crime - despite the fact that it is a key part of Spider-Man's world. Unfortunately, despite years of mockery for the armored Green Goblin costume from the original "Spider-Man" from 2002, it seems Sony's production team continues to struggle to adapt the suit into film.

For the record, the previous "Amazing Spider-Man" film debuted on June 30th, 2012. It earned over $752.2 million worldwide from a budget of $230 million; while that was a bit less than what the final Sam Raimi "Spider-Man" film had earned in 2007, it was also approximately 10% less expensive to produce and fared better with critics. 2014 will be a very busy year for comic book film adaptations, with sequels to "X-Men: First Class" and "Captain America" on the slate as well as a reboot of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles", among others.

"Wolverine & the X-Men" ends and is then relaunched!

There was cause for speculation when solicitations for February 2014 noted that "Wolverine & the X-Men" by writer Jason Aaron seemed to be ending after 42 issues. Considering that Aaron had been considerably busy writing that alongside "Thor", "Wolverine", his new "Amazing X-Men" as well as his own independent creations, it was seen as him lowering his workload. However, it seems Marvel Comics' "Hydra strategy" of publishing continues - every book or run that ends is replaced by two more.

To this end, writer Jason Latour ("Winter Soldier", co-wrote some "Wolverine" recently) alongside artist Mahmud Asrar ("Dynamo 5", "Supergirl") will relaunch the title with a fresh number one in March 2014. According to an interview at IGN, the focus of the book will shift more to the students than on Wolverine and the adult X-Men; in particular, Quentin Quire, Evan Sabahnur, and Idie Okonkwo. In addition, Fantomex the former assassin is set to become a teacher at the school; considering the X-Men allowed Sabretooth to be a member at least once, it is hardly shocking. Meanwhile, Paul Cornell's reboot of "Wolverine" will also take place in March, and will see Logan in a new costume and go back to a more solo role as a stabber of things.

First look at Ghost Driver, er, "Ghost Rider" relaunch!

Comic Book Resources has an exclusive first look at the new "Ghost Rider" for 2014 written by Felipe Smith and drawn by Tradd Moore. The new series will center on a new "spirit of vengeance", teenager Robbie Reyes who will ride a sports car instead of the trademark motorcycle and whose "flaming skull" looks more like a helmet than a skull. The influence of manga as well as the "Fast & the Furious" films is obvious, and one wonders if yet another new "Ghost Rider" in less than two years will dilute the brand. In 2011, a female Rider named Alejandra lasted for less than ten issues. At this rate Marvel Comics likely assumes the character is best known for a design and little else much as critics do, and are running with that.

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