Entertainment Weekly just broke a story in their Comic-Con edition about a new initiative from comics publisher Marvel beginning in October. Marvel NOW! is a line-wide launch (or relaunch) of the Marvel Universe, and Editor in Chief Axel Alonso is quoted as saying:
“This ain’t no reboot, it’s a new beginning!”
There aren’t many details yet, but we do have three confirmed titles from the article, launching at the end of the year. From the iFanboy piece on the announcement.
- Uncanny Avengers - written by Rick Remender, artist unknown – Shipping in October, a direct spinoff from Avengers vs. X-Men, Remender says “It’s a bridge book, something that can delve into both worlds”
- All New X-Men - written by Brian Michael Bendis, artist unknown – Shipping in November, the rumors of Bendis taking over the X-Men appear to be true. We saw an image of Jean Grey yesterday, and it appears that is indeed her as Bendis uses time travel to bring the original five X-Men to the present day as Bendis describes, “It’s not a time travel story like Back to the Future. It’s a time travel story like Pleasantville“
- Avengers - written by Jonathan Hickman, artist unknown – Shipping in December, Hickman picks up the Avengers reins from Bendis has he expands the scope of The Avengers. Hickman is quoted as saying, “It’s not six Avengers, it’s 18 or more”. The new title will be bi-weekly and will be a combination of one-shot stories and longer, “galaxy spanning multi-issue arcs” as they protect the entire universe and become an Avengers for the 21st century.
Let me be the first to say, and I say this as a non-comic book reader but not for a lack of trying: here we go again.
Much like DCs New 52 initiative, this project is going to promise big things for those already invested in the comics as well as for those trying to break into the worlds these comics bring to readers every month. And just like the New 52, it’s going to fall far short of actually doing that.
Yes, the New 52 brought some great titles to the table that actually did what they promised and wiped away years of continuity. Aquaman, Supergirl, and the Justice League are all heroes or groups that got fresh starts, and there were some new heroes that made their first appearance, such as the African superhero Batwing, a part of the Batman Inc. line.
But many of the other stories proved to be just as dense and hard to get into as before. I personally grabbed a couple of the Batman issues, ready to get re-introduced to the character and was quickly disappointed and then frustrated when I found out that not only was this not a “fresh look” at the Batman character, but that the years of continuity and issues he had dealt with were still there. All they had really done in some of these issues were to start a new story arc and slap a #1 on the cover. And let’s not even get into the Batgirl debacle.
I fear this is where Marvel is headed with their “relaunch.”
Let’s take a walk down “What if?” lane for a minute. What would Marvel be risking with a line-wide reboot? Fans groaning? They’re already doing that even before this “relaunch” and are going to be doing it more in the coming weeks and months. So you upset some fans. Not much new there.
But who wouldn’t be stoked about being able to pick up X-Men #1 and having it be the beginning of the X-Men story for this day and age? How many more people would be willing to grab some issues and get into comic books with a “real” continuity wipe? Yes, it might just be a temporary fix to a bleeding wound when and if sales drop back to the numbers before the reboot, but isn’t it worth a try?
Hell, even a trial run. Just say, “we’re going to release a trial run of several of our core characters, completely rebooted and ready for a brand new reader.” See how it’s received. Go from there based on that data.
After all, it’s not like they haven’t been doing that with several of their big name characters on the big screen for the past couple of years.
I’m keen to hear your thoughts. Is this viable? Is this something that you’d like to see?
And as for the “relaunch/reboot?” Let’s just call it what it is at the moment – a publicity stunt.