Sunday, September 2, 2012

Marvel NOW! Marvel, What?

Okay, I gotta say: little raccoon with a
minigun is pretty sweet!
Over the summer, a lot happened while I wasn't writing.  Yesterday I mentioned the recent kiss between Superman and Wonder Woman.  Superhero films The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises came out and caused long lines at theaters (reviews in the near future).  Some big names at DC jumped ship from the New 52 titles.  Oh yeah, and Avengers vs. X-Men is still going on, though it's apparently due to wrap up soon (ish).

AvX has gotten better as it's gone along over the summer, and I'm both eager and apprehensive about its impending conclusion.  I want to see what comes out of such a vicious struggle between these two groups, as it at least in part stemmed from their relative insularity from one another.  Both Emma Frost and Cyclops have made comments that the Avengers have never bothered to help the X-Men with any of their major problems, and the X-Men have responded by often remaining neutral and getting minimally involved in events where the Avengers have had a large stake in matters, such as Marvel's Civil War from a few years ago.  After AvX, this appears to be getting addressed, and I'm interested to see what shape this takes and where it goes.


Yep.  "Nick Fury's" getting a "new
look."
But what makes me more than a little nervous is the sheer number of canceled, new, and "revamped" titles coming out under this new marketing initiative, Marvel NOW!  Characterized as NOT a reboot, but instead a major shifting of the Marvel Universe due to the events from AvX, there will be new teams, new status quos, and new perspectives explored by Marvel's stalwart heroes.  Some of the noteworthy changes I've observed so far seem to be a new regular team that consists of both Avengers and X-Men; a new "version" of Nick Fury who closely resembles the Nick Fury from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (who, as it happens, resembled Ultimate Marvel's interpretation of the character); and the return of Jean Grey, who's deaths in comics have never been permanent, though often well-thought out.

It's all very exciting, but it's also confusing.  To cancel so many long-standing titles like The Fantastic Four and Invincible Iron Man and immediately do another volume of the same title certainly feels like a reboot, or at the very least an unnecessary change.  And you can't argue that this is "just another phase" Marvel's going through, like Civil War, then Secret Invasion, then Dark Reign, then Heroic Age.  To my knowledge, those arcs didn't have anywhere near this scale of canceled and new titles, nor the number of fundamental changes.  Something's going on that's clearly bigger than the storylines of previous years, but not quite as sweeping as an overall reboot like the New 52 was.

It feels like Marvel saw how successful New 52 was, and decided, "We need to do something big and sweeping!  But, er, not quite a 'reboot,' per se.  Let's see what we can come up with!"

Now (pun intended), we're still a few weeks from this, and of course, I'm going to give it a shot.  Despite the reactionary feel to it, I know to give the minds at Marvel some leeway for the most part (except for Quesada.  I will never forgive One More Day.  You better not screw this up, man!).  And it does look interesting.  I'm just feeling a little unnerved by the scale and timing of this particular change.

Bring it, Marvel.  I'm apprehensive, but still eager to see what you do with this one.

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