For those who haven’t seen the news about the Entertainment Weekly piece yet, Marvel has spilled the beans about its much-discussed post-Avengers Vs. X-Men plans. Under the umbrella branding “Marvel NOW!” the publisher will launch at least one new series every week from October through February 2013, including a new X-Men series by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen in which the original X-Men time-travel to the present day, a bi-weekly Avengers series by Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opena and Uncanny Avengers by Rick Remender and John Cassaday, a series that mashes-up the Avengers and X-Men teams. Some random first impressions:
- Uncanny Avengers sounds like that joke that people started making, back when Thunderbolts was announced as about to be retitled Dark Avengers. “One day, Marvel will have a book called X-Avengers that’ll just mix their two biggest franchises, it’s the only thing they haven’t done,” cynics laughed. Well, at least they got the title wrong.
- Uncanny Avengers also shows that the old Marvel team-up formula still has it: Heroes meet, have a misunderstanding, fight, and then team-up to take on the bad guys. There’s something to be appreciated about that classicism, don’t you think?
- Bendis’ X-Men series sounds… odd. It sounds like a mini-series, doesn’t it? Or something with a finite end, because (a) you can’t just keep characters from the past in their future indefinitely – Something that Marvel seemingly attempted and then abandoned with its ill-fated Captain Marvel relaunch in Civil War – and (b) you quickly run out of reason for this plot device outside of “Oh, they are horrified by what has happened to their world,” surely? Factor in that four of those five characters already exist in the Marvel Universe, and this seems like a weirdly convoluted way to bring Jean Grey back and also keep her dead. On the plus side, at least they’re not calling it X-Factor this time (Well, that title is taken, I guess).
- I wonder if Hickman’s new series means that Avengers and New Avengers will be cancelled and folded into one title? What about Avengers Assemble? Or, for that matter, Secret Avengers and Avengers Academy? Surely we wouldn’t end up with six ongoing Avengers books, one of them bi-weekly, would we?
- One new series every week for five months suggests that Marvel took all of the complaints about DC’s New 52 overwhelming retailers, readers and the market as a whole to heart. I hope it works out for them; it’s a smart move.
- That’s a lot of new titles. Assuming that not every current book will get relaunched along the way – Will Amazing Spider-Man really turn in 700 issues for another renumbering? Really? (Mind you, #700 could be one of those big dramatic end points that leads to a relaunch the following month) – we may as well all start our speculation engines as to what all-new series we’ll get in the next few months.
- I can’t believe, considering the publicity that Astonishing X-Men‘s wedding got, that Northstar won’t be up for a solo book during this cycle. If Gambit and Hawkeye can carry one, then surely Northstar could…
- Launching at least four new series every month for five months is a great way of continually pushing to dominate the news cycle, isn’t it? Well done for that.
- “Marvel NOW!” is a pretty lousy branding for the event. It sounds like a convention panel – DC even has “DC NOW!” at SDCC this year, doesn’t it? – more than a publishing event, and makes no sense: Considering that Marvel has always prided itself on its contemporary nature, they’ve always been NOW!. What makes this NOW! any more important than previous NOW!s?