Jul 16, 2012 by     12 Comments    Posted In: Articles, Editorial

Marvel Now! LogoSo by now I’m sure you have heard all about the Marvel NOW! news. For those of you who haven’t heard, you are lucky. I wish I could forget about what Marvel Comics is going to do. Better yet, I wish I could convince them not to go ahead with it. If you really want to know what they have planned, read on. If you want to continues unawares of what they are gonna do, click the back button…NOW!

Marvel NOW! is not a reboot according to Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer, Joe Quesada. As he said in IGN’s interview, it’s just a “reconfiguration.” So what does that mean exactly? Well Marvel is going to be scrapping a handful of titles to make way for the launch of a handful of other titles (feels like they just did this). What titles are they dropping you ask? Nine titles are getting the axe, and those are: Captain America, Fantastic Four, FF, Incredible Hulk, Invincible Iron Man, New Mutants, The Mighty Thor, Uncanny X-Men, and X-Men: Legacy. And so far they’ve announced three titles that will take the place of those: Uncanny Avengers, All-New X-Men, and Avengers (whaa?).

Marvel NOW! Superhero GroupFirst off, I may be totally off since I don’t read anything Marvel puts out except for X-Men related titles (ton of those too), but aren’t there already a multitude of Avengers titles? (If I’m wrong, let me know in the comments). I get it. People love the Avengers, especially since the movie, but is there anyone in the 616 who isn’t an Avenger now? Part of what made being an Avenger so special was it was a tough team to get on to. You had to be perfect and be able to function on a team. I see the Justice League the same way. Being a part of the Justice League, or Avengers, is a big deal and when every hero in their respective worlds is a member or reserve member, it cheapens being a member.

I know in Quesada’s interview he said they want to, “keep our characters as consistent as possible, so that when somebody who decides to delve into the world of comics from experiencing the movie at least gets an experience that is similar to what they saw on the big screen.” Now look at the image to the right, aside from changing Cap’s costume to better reflect his movie costume and inserting a black Nick Fury into the 616 (more on this in a bit), no one there looks like their movie counterpart. Hulk has armor…for whatever reason. Thor looks similar, but a bit different. Iron Man’s armor is a completely different look and color. The most egregious change, at least for me, is Cyclops. Not only does his costume look completely different, but they got rid of his visor. Instead of his trademark visor he now has a helmet with an “X” on it (clever!), but the “X” crosses not in front of his eyes, but his nose. I don’t know, maybe I’m just being cynical, but if you say you want to keep your characters consistent with the movies, maybe you shouldn’t be changing the look of the characters.

I will say, they have attempted to bridge the gap by creating a black Nick Fury character so the moviegoers who liked Samuel L. Jackson won’t be surprised to not see him in regular Marvel comics. It’s been pointed out to me that he is most likely a character named Marcus Johnson AKA Nick Fury, Jr. Oh. Right. So Nick Fury just happened to have a son who looks incredibly like the Ultimate Nick Fury, and his son just happens to need an eye patch over the same eye just like his pops. This folks is what they call pandering.

Uncanny Avengers #1 CoverLook, I get the fact that they want to stay at the forefront of the comic market, but it’s like they saw all the success DC had with their ‘New 52′ and wanted to do something kinda like that. DC’s reboot was so successful because they went all in, for the most part. But, Marvel seems to be going about it a bit halfway. They want to reap the same kind of success DC had, but they don’t want to make the same kind of changes. And frankly, they don’t need to.

Marvel is going to be coming off not only a commercial success, with Avengers vs. X-Men, but also a success from fan’s point of view. Fan reactions of this event has been high, sales have been even higher, so I’m puzzled as to why Marvel is doing this. In fact, I hope when they were pitching this idea around Marvel, someone there asked, “why now?” This “reconfiguration” feels a little unnecessary in the wake of everything they have going on. And while I’m talking about it, Marvel needs to use AvX as a comparison for it’s future big events (you know it’s gonna continue). AvX has been so well received because this feels like a progression in it’s stories. This event has been a couple years in the making, so it feels like a more natural story, unlike when they spring the premise on you out of nowhere.

As my good friend Tom Hoefner has said about comic companies, “they should focus less on the next big event, and more on just writing good stories.” Time will tell, but Marvel NOW! feels more like the former, and less like the latter…at least to me (even if that is a pretty slick cover).


12 Comments Add Comment

  • TomH July 16, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    My biggest problem with “Marvel NOW!!!!!” is that comics are confusing enough already, dammit. I just want things streamlined; the clearer the better. Now, if “Marvel NOOOOWWWW!!!!!!!!!!” is just a way to simplify 616 so it’s more like the movie-verse… I might be okay with that. Things like Nick Fury, Jr. don’t really bother me. Muddy storytelling bothers me.

    And just as a point of clarification: my ACTUAL statement was that I wish Marvel and DC would stop trying to explain their history and just tell stories. But since a lot of their events are designed to explain continuity history (I’m looking at you, DC) the two ideas go hand-in-hand.

  • MattB July 16, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    The sad thing is a complete reboot like DC did would have been the way to go. They need to get rid of the Ultimate titles, too confusing for new fans. Multiple Avengers titles would be okay if they would have a couple books on the main group and then a couple small side groups.

    You are right it is getting to where everyone is an Avenger. I am however looking forward to some of the new things they are doing, but I don’t read any of the cancelled titles to begin with.

  • Chip Reece July 16, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Great article Jason!

    I’m thinking more and more that Marvel’s success has little to do with quality story telling and more to do with marketing.

    With Marvel NOW they appear to be catering to the casual comic book fan. Someone coming in because they liked the movie, so hey look everything looks like the movie you just watched, so buy it.

    I’m not reading anything Marvel currently, and this announcement does nothing to change that.

  • Jason Newcomb July 16, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    I believe this will be the first sincere effort to capitalize their marketing on movies. It’s not too soon, I’ll tell you that much.

  • Tim Morse July 16, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    At least they’re not changing Daredevil.

    DC didn’t exactly “reboot” everything. Batman stayed pretty much unchanged, as did Green Lantern, so any new fans coming in to those would be just as confused as if nothing had ever been changed.

    With Marvel NOW?, I think this is something that doesn’t even need to be done. They just restarted Uncanny and Cap, and FF is still fairly new. Why a soft restart? Oh, money, money, money! The three titles I get from Marvel (Amazing, Winter Soldier, and Daredevil) aren’t getting restarted at 1 (again) or getting cancelled.

    I’ll stick to the back issues, where it’s safe!

  • Hana July 22, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Fan reactions to AvX have been high? Really? I don’t know anyone, fan of either side (or any comic sellers for that matter) that haven’t wanted to break someone’s face for how awful it has all been. Maybe we’re just an odd bunch… All said, though, I really agree with you regarding the half-hearted relaunch Marvel is doing here. I mean come on: it was a huge success for DC. Either do it or don’t, but don’t play the “I don’t want to be a copy-cat so I’ll just call it something else and not try very hard” routine. Marvel is acting more like the frustrated middle child than one of the “Big Two” of comicdom!

  • Jason Martin July 23, 2012 at 9:05 am

    I probably should have added the line, “from the fans I’ve talked to, most have been enjoying AvX.” Not saying everyone has liked this latest event, but from the people I’ve talked to, the majority have been happy with it.

    And yes, Marvel is kind of half-assing their “reconfiguration”. Either whole-ass or don’t do it.

  • jonervin26 July 25, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Simply as a long time Marvel reader of mostly X-related comics (and NOT a Avengers reader at all) I would just like to mention that they are making many seemingly unneccesary changes to their flag ship books and potentially alienating their core readers. The “casual” reader that comes in to a comic store after seeing a movie and buys some books WILL GENERALLY NOT STAY AROUND. So it is just a matter of whether they want to pander to short term readers for short term sales and possibly lose their long time readers or not? I’ve read the X-titles for 30+ years, if they screw them up the way that it seems like they might. I’ll be out! Guess we’ll see how it goes.

  • Pewsplosions July 26, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    I really think some information is missing. There is no way they will just scrap all those titles for one thing. They may restart the numbering I guess but it would make no financial sense to scrap Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor(Some of the others too really…) considering they are all most likely selling well in the first place but more importantly have movies releasing over the next couple years. There is just no way that Iron Man 3 will release in theaters and Marvel will not have the main Iron Man book pumping out issue after issue. I’m sure the Marvel Now! event will occur and some good and some bad things will happen but it won’t be as simple as canceling some titles to make room for some other titles.

    I also do not see the costume changes being too long term. Most of those characters have iconic looks that they always revert back to. On the other hand characters(at least Marvel) get costume changes more often than people notice, they just usually have a purpose and/or change back soon after anyway. I don’t really have a problem with it, but I agree that it is kind of counter-intuitive if they are trying to make the characters more appealing to new readers jumping in from the movies.

    On the AvX topic, I personally have enjoyed it very much and think it has been written pretty well. I actually feel hate toward some of the x-men when I read it. It is very engaging. All my friends and people I talk to also love it. I think people not enjoying it are either typical fanboy critics who have negative things to say about almost anything new or their favorite characters aren’t doing so well in it!

    • Chip Reece July 28, 2012 at 8:01 pm

      I have no interest in AVX because it isn’t new enough. We hav the Phoenix stuff which has been done over and over, and heroes fighting heroes which was done in Civil War. I read a few issues and got bored.

  • MattL December 16, 2012 at 4:19 am

    I quit reading marvel in the early to mid 90’s when everything went poop. Too many spin off series, alt realities/universes, deaths, resurrections, etc. The marvel universe lost all continuity and they should have just rebooted it all and start fresh. Things like nick fury bug the crap out of me considering he should be a 80 year old white guy but instead of letting fury go. Out of the blue, marvel completely changes the character because someone thought it would be cool if Sam L J played nick fury. Would have been better to say fury retired and this guy is the new director of shield. This is just a small example of the incoherent state of the Marvel Universe. Don’t get me started on all the clone bs and people not dying just being sent to some other dimension for a while and now they are back. Just shows how little thought is put into developing well written coherent story lines. OMG I am going to shock you by killing a char, but wait that wasn’t a good idea so lets come up with some bs to bring that char back.

  • Chip Reece December 17, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    I think most of us can feel your pain Matt! I’m no expert, but I think the “new” Nick Fury is being played off as the original’s son. So technically he is Nick Fury, Jr.

    The age thing has always bothered me too…Captain America makes sense because of being frozen blah blah blah, but Fury, Dumdum, and even Black Widow should all be in their 80-90’s like you said. In the current Winter Soldier book they’ve even gone so far as to have flashbacks about WWII, etc, but the book takes place “now.” Unless we are to believe it’s 1970 in the Marvel U, time doesn’t appear to matter…