Marvel NOW! — Why Not?!?
Hello. My name is Field, Lyle Field.
It has been one year since DC Comics rebooted their universe under the New 52 brand. What this flickering of a light switch did was resuscitate the entire Direct Market back to life, especially Marvel Comics.
Like all the other comic book imprints, Marvel Comics has hit a stagnant patch of lacklustre story arcs and monotonous characters (both old and new). Only the Amazing Spider-Man has captured my ongoing attention since the end of Siege in early 2010, although I am having a lot of fun reading Jason Aaron’s Incredible Hulk run.
The Avengers vs. X-Men (AvX) maxi-series (and related tie-ins) is currently in its twilight as the series is expected to close all remaining story arcs that have began during the Avenger Dissemble event (2004). The AvX primary series much better executed and written to help launch the Marvel NOW era than what Flashpoint did for the induction of the New 52 era. What Flashpoint lacked in excitement, AvX made up for with deep character conflicts and all out action. It will certainly be a joy to read the AvX hardcover graphic novel from cover to cover when it arrives at Dave’s Pop Culture in November 2012.
***** POTIENTIAL SPOILERS *****
I suspect that Professor Charles Xavier will be sacrificing his life in order to end the war between the Avengers and the X-Men. There were clues posted throughout the series thus far especially comments that Captain America did not do enough to help with mutant rights. The announcement of Uncanny Avengers (a squad consisting of Avengers and X-Men) looks to me as a first step to Xavier’s dream of peaceful co-existence between humans and mutants. The declaration that the soon to be relaunched X-Men: Legacy will star Xavier’s son, the psychopathic telepath known as Legion was my final determining clue that Professor Xavier will indeed die. The bonus was seeing the tripartite cover to the All-New X-Men #1 where Xavier was not on it but his buddy Magneto was.
***** SPOLIERS END *****
Before I start going through my favourite picks for the Marvel NOW relaunch, I want to express my immediate opinion of the one good thing and one bad thing of the upcoming next chapter in the Marvel Universe.
The Good. It is a launch and NOT a reboot like DC did. If it was a reboot, I do not believe it would work and I would have lost all of my remaining respect for Marvel if they did create the New 616 Universe. Flickering the switch to restart the DC Universe works for them in order to tell story arcs from a different perspective but Marvel Comics has (for the most part) got it right. While both the New 52 and Marvel NOW is to not only bring in new readers but woo back lapsed readers as well and I consider myself a lapsed Marvel reader. However, unlike what I did with the New 52, I will be picking up selective Marvel NOW titles to read. With DC, I have picked up their titles based on the character. With Marvel (for the most part), I have picked up their titles based on the creative teams and Marvel NOW will be no different.
The Bad. The $3.99 cover price on nearly all the Marvel NOW titles. I do not like the price. Not at all. It is the reason why I am not picking up as many of the Marvel NOW titles as I would like. However, I do not think the near four dollar cover price should be a hindering factor as there is interest in picking up those titles, at least for the short term. It would be interesting to see if some of the $3.99 priced Marvel NOW titles would outsell and even topple some of the New 52 titles that are currently in the top 10. If they do, then it is a success.
Of the eleven Marvel NOW titles that has been officially announced, thus far, four have stood out that I believe will blow some of the New 52 titles out of the water—Captain America, the Indestructible Hulk, the All-New X-Men and the Uncanny Avengers.
The Uncanny Avengers written by Rick Rememder and illustrated by John Cassaday arrives at Pop Culture on October 19, 2012. This title is the core title of the entire Marvel NOW line. We see a squad of heroes made up of Avengers and X-Men where four are Avengers and four are mutants. Formed by Captain America, it is the first step (I suspect) to see if humans and mutants can peacefully co-exist ala Professor X’s dream. While the official team will not be set until after the first story arc, it will be interesting to see how the relationship between Captain America and Havok will develop. Havok is named leader but Cap stays in a serves as Havok’s mentor. The Scarlet Witch joins mainly to redeem herself over destroying the “classic” Avengers and almost decimating the entire mutant population during House of M. The selective of Thor is the most remarkable of them all since he sees both humans and mutants as equals, mortals. The selection of the Red Skull as the team’s first primary villain as a disciple of Apocalypse is surprisingly intriguing since I cannot see Schmidt bowing down to anyone.
Rememder’s other Marvel NOW title that he is writing is Captain America. It is, thus far, my eagerly awaited title of the entire Marvel NOW line especially seeing some of the black & white pencils by regular artist John Romita Jr. Hard to believe that this is the first time Romita Jr will be pencilling a Cap title. While the theme of having extended story arcs has become tiresome of late, some books are able to pull it off properly with the right type of action, suspense, characterization and surprises. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman: Court of the Owls story arc is an example of this and I am suspecting the same for the upcoming ten part Dimension Z mega arc with Arnim Zola as the primary villain. The addition of Henry Pym as part of the Cap support cast is a bonus, especially since this is his 50th year (debuted as Ant-Man in September 1962) in Marvel Comics publication.
The reuniting of the critically acclaimed 2003-2004 Superman: Birthright creative team, Mark Waid and Lenil Yu, is the major reason why I plan on reading this title. The second reason is Waid adapting a back to basics approach with a twist and using non-arch nemesis, like he is currently doing with Daredevil. The Hulk is an Agent of Shield “reporting” to Maria Hill and wearing some type of armor. What is intriguing is that the Hulk and Bruce Banner must work in tandem in order to survive their missions. Why wear the armor? Tells me that the Hulk is not as indestructible as we thought and something can hurt him. It will be great to see some “villain of the month” one to two parters that features his non-traditional foes—the Frost Giants, Kang the Conqueror, Attuma, and the Psycho Man.
This one is a surprise, The All-New X-Men by Brian Bendis and Stuart Immonen. In my book, the X-Men lost war when I left nearly all the X-Men line after Scott Summers and Jean Grey married in 1993 (only Wolverine survived). With the exception of particular story arcs, this will be the first time in nearly 20 years that I will regularly pick up an X-Men title. The original X-Men suddenly appear a little over a decade in their future to see what life will be like for them, and they do not like it. Interesting to see that the schism between Cyclops and his X-Men group and Wolverine and his X-Men group looks to be continuing, especially with a young Jean Grey thrown into the loop. Sincerely, by consolidating both teams in one title instead of dividing them in two or several titles will be much better for core story content (and cheaper on my comic budget).
Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers (drawn by Jerome Opena) and New Avengers (drawn by Steve Epting) is under consideration. Thus far, the biweekly Avengers Marvel NOW title looks to be a winner solely by the large rotating cast of active member (18) ala Legion of Super-Heroes and JSA. The New Avengers is another story as I suspect that it will probably be made up of the graduates of the soon to be defunct Avengers Academy title with the possibility of some of the Young Avengers, next generation younger protégés has become a turn off for me. Maybe because I am no longer a younger generation type of guy. Eh.
While the other seven Marvel NOW titles have yet to officially reveal themselves, Bendis has announced that he will be taking a stab at the cosmic venue of the Marvel Universe via the Guardians of the Galaxy. A brand-new Nova series could not be far behind either. However, what about the Amazing Spider-Man?
The Amazing Spider-man has been, in my opinion, Marvel’s most consistent and rock solid title ever since the beginning of Brand New Day in early 2008. Even when I left Marvel Universe after Siege #4, the Amazing Spider-man continues to be the only Marvel title that I read and definitely deserving of “The World’s Greatest Super-Hero” status promoted on his front covers over the last few months. As Amazing Spider-Man #700 is expected to arrive in either December 2012 or January 2013 that features the final bout between Spidey and the gravely ill Doctor Octopus (and possibility the end of Spidey’s Big Time run as we know it), will it be its final issue? Will the Amazing Spider-man be relaunched under the Marvel NOW banner? Will Dan Slott continue to write (what is his best work to date) the Amazing Spider-man or is it the end for him?
Regardless, the New 52 will have some serious competition with the upcoming Marvel NOW and that can only spell great things for the fans.
To order the Marvel NOW line of titles, check out the Marvel.com website for a list and get your local comic guy to save all or selective titles because they could be sell outs like the early issues of the New 52.http://pokupo.com/2012/09/09/marvel-now-why-not/ComicsFeaturecomics,DC,Marvel NOW,New 52