Marvel NOW! is a new line of Marvel comics, that launches in October, coming off the back end of the Avengers vs. X-Men event. It aims to attract new readers by putting new creative teams on brand new, or renamed, #1 issues under the MN banner. This is not a reboot, according to Marvel, however; this has been described more as a “R’Evolution”. 12 new series will start and 11 existing titles are slated to be cancelled, and we’ll also be treated with a new limited series called A+X that will feature two different stories with an Avengers and an X-man team up. Also of note, Avengers Assemble and Journey into Mystery will be taken over by a new creative team and taken in a new direction.
Right off the back I can say that I was—and really still am—skeptical about this Marvel NOW! initiative. What makes it “NOW” anyway and why aren’t the rest of the books being put under this new label? Are they not “now” enough? Maybe Marvel should have waited to launch titles like Gambit and Hawkeye so that they fell under this banner. I really don’t get what makes it a Marvel NOW! and until somebody comes out and says, “This is why we called it this…” and their explanation actually makes some kind of sense I will continue to dislike this name. It’s not catchy, it’s seemingly not clever and I see no reason for it other than trying to label it like DC Comics labelled “The New 52”. At least their title was catchy and it actually meant something.
Obviously, this is an attempt to mirror the success of DC Comics’ New 52 without going to the same, massive extent that DC did. Choosing to not restart the entire Marvel Universe and bring everything back to zero—or 1 I guess—was definitely a good move on their part simply in the sense that there would be even more people pointing their finger and saying Marvel just copied The New 52. Not to mention Marvel’s continuity was far too vast and large to “forget” that some of it happened—and I’m by no means saying that DC Comics didn’t also have huge history and continuity because they did—even if they would probably like to wish away things like the Clone Saga… I’m sure there would be certain events that they could keep in their new universe, like DC did with events like Blackest Night and Knightfall, but there would just be too much they would have to keep and at that point there’s really no point in resetting everything.
Let’s face facts here. There are too many X-books and too many Avengers books currently on the market for Marvel. It’s over saturated the market with those titles and those characters, regardless of how popular they are. Instead of having 10 ok series, why not have 4 or 5 great series? The Avengers vs. X-Men event could have been used to combined some of those titles and get rid of some of the extra series that are okay series but without them maybe Marvel, as I previously stated, could make other series great. I’m disappointed that more series weren’t cancelled and that we, really, just got new teams and new #1s on some titles. Avengers, Captain America, Deadpool, Fantastic Four, FF, New Avengers and X-Men Legacy which are all existing titles that are getting cancelled, so to speak, and restarted with new creative teams and starting back at #1. I understand that some of these titles are “flag ship” titles but, for instance, Captain America was only on issue #19. This new number one will start the seventh volume of Captain America comics and I don’t really understand what the point of restarting this series is when it, really, just restarted not too long ago. They’re also actually adding a new Avengers title to the Marvel line up as well as a new X-Men title instead of thinning out the herd and just giving us better books we just get more. More is not always better.
With all that being said, I will say I am exceptionally excited for Indestructible Hulk from Mark Waid—Incredible Hulk has just been bad for the last half-dozen issues or so—and Rick Remender’s Uncanny Avengers. I may even check out, simply because I really enjoy Rick Remender, Captain America and there’s a decent possibility of checking out Deadpool, Fantastic Four, and Thor: God of Thunder. Will these books be better than their predecessors? Well, I like to think that with some of these creators involved that we’re going to get better product out of Marvel but that’s not always necessarily the case. I guess we’ll just have to wait until October to see how this “R’Evolution” turns out.
Do I think the name is terrible? Absolutely. Do I think that more titles should have made it over to the chopping block? Absolutely. Will we get better products out of Marvel from this? Well, as I said, I’d like to believe that we’re going to see better quality on some of these series. Without a doubt the new Indestructible Hulk series by Mark Waid will be one not to miss, and I think Remender’s work will be great as well. I’m still skeptical about this new direction but I understand that Marvel wants to attract new readers to the medium that made them into this multi-billion dollar corporation in the first place and if that means that we end up getting better product well that’s good for everybody in the industry—fans and creators alike.
Bottom line is if this attracts new readers to comic shops and the product is actually worth reading then I guess Marvel did their job. I guess we will see how Marvel decides to play this out in the coming months and if they’ll cancel and/or start any more books. Regardless of my thoughts on it, I’ll definitely be picking some of these books up… but I still think the name is stupid.
Until Next Time.
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