Marvel Comics has long been teasing that a major restructuring of the Marvel Universe would be coming after the Avengers Vs. X-Men event, similar to (but not as extreme as) DC Comics’ ‘New 52′ relaunch. The details of Marvel’s master play have finally come to light as the company has announced that they will be launching the “Marvel NOW” initiative this coming October.
Clearly being introduced in response to DC’s ‘New 52′, the Marvel NOW initiative will see Marvel releasing a series of brand new books, including several relaunches of their current titles as well. The goal is to release a series of books that, much like the ‘New 52′, will offer new readers a simple entry point for discovering characters within the vast Marvel Universe, particularly after the world-changing events of the Avengers Vs. X-Men event. “It’s a bridge book…something that can delve into both worlds,” Remender told Entertainment Weekly.
The new titles will begin being released in October and will all be branded with the Marvel NOW banner, although they will NOT be rebooting the narrative continuity established by current books. In addition to featuring “cinematic” cover designs and revamped costumes for many of the characters, the new titles will also feature a major shakeup of both artists and creators that are working on current series.
A few of the new titles that have been announced include:
• “Uncanny Avengers” by Rick Remender and John Cassaday starring a team composed of Captain America, Wolverine and others from the company’s two powerhouse franchises battling the mutant-hating Red Skull.
• “All New X-Men” by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen realigning the mutant team in the wake of “AvX” as the original five X-Men are mysteriously brought to the present day. This title will launch in November.
• “Avengers” by Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opena, which is light on specific details aside from a roster of 18 heroes in a bi-weekly comic that seems to be Hickman-esque rethinking of the Avengers core mission in the vein of the writer’s “Fantastic Four” run.
The Marvel NOW initiative will also take full advantage of the new digital “gimmicks” that the company has been employing in their current AvX event, including AR codes that will be included on every cover of the new Marvel Now titles. Essentially, the new AR codes on the cover will proved a digital “recap” of all the events that have led up to the current issue.
Only time will tell if this initiative will pay off for Marvel. Personally, I feel that Marvel already has well-established continuity a great thing going with their cinematic universe, so why rock the boat?
What do you think of Marvel’s plans with the Marvel NOW initiative?