I know what you must be thinking when you read that title, but notice that I didn’t say reboot. Marvel isn’t taking a page from DC’s New 52 initiative, but rather, they’re just shaking things up a bit. Or, rather, they’re shaking things up a lot.
After ‘Avengers Vs. X-Men‘ wraps up in the fall, Marvel will begin their ‘Marvel NOW’ initiative, which will change the face of the Marvel Universe as we know it. Not only will we get things like new costumes and new teams in the comics, but the teams behind the scenes will be shaken up as well. Starting in October through February, ‘Marvel NOW’ will act as a new jumping on point for fans and will feature a number of new series and relaunches of some classic series as well.
Thanks to Entertainment Weekly’s San Diego Comic-Con preview issue, we have our first look at what’s to come when ‘Marvel NOW’ is unleashed on the world. In this piece from Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, we see some of the new looks for some of the biggest players in the upcoming event.
After you get past Thor’s swords, Nick Fury Jr., and the new gear for Cyclops, Cap, Iron Man, and Hulk, there’s a familiar face under Hulk’s left arm that we never thought that we’d see again. As the caption says, that is Marvel Girl AKA Jean Grey! Here’s a blurb from CBM about the return of one of the most infamous characters in Marvel Comics history:
“To answer your questions: Yes, this is Jean Grey — as in, the Jean Grey who’s been absent from Marvel comics ever since dying for a second time back in the mid-00s. And yes, she is modeling her vintage blue-and-yellow X-Men outfit from her Marvel Girl days. Does this mean that the fan-favorite character is finally returning? We can only confirm that her presence in the Marvel universe will not be imaginary. This will not be part of the Ultimate line-up. She will not be a zombie hologram, like Shard on X-Factor. What could this all mean?”
The answer to that is contained in Brian Michael Bendis’ new book, ‘All New X-Men’. Featuring art from Stuart Immonen, the man who’s been closely associated with The Avengers for years will tackle the children of the X-gene in this brand new title set in a post-AvX world that brings the original X-Men, the First Class of Charles Xavier comprised of Cyclops, Iceman, Beast, Angel, and Marvel Girl in the blue and yellow suits, to the current Marvel timeline via time travel to confront their older selves.
In addition to ‘All New X-Men’, EW revealed a few other titles as well. Starting in December, ‘The Avengers’ will get a new captain in the form of Jonathan Hickman, who is known for his run on ‘Fantastic Four’, and Jerome Opena. With Hickman at the wheel, ‘Avengers’ will be published twice a month and will feature more than 18 Avengers on the team that will star in a mix of “five-to-six-issue story arcs with one-off stories that focus on individual characters”. While the writer didn’t share much more than that in EW’s coverage, one name did slip that got me VERY excited: Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu.
Finally, at the very start of it all in October is another brand new title called ‘Uncanny Avengers’ written by the outstanding Rick Remender and illustrated by John Cassaday. Lined up to be Marvel’s new flagship title that will act as the bridge between the old Marvel Universe and the new status quo of ‘Marvel NOW’, ‘Uncanny Avengers’ will feature characters such as Captain America, Thor, Wolverine, Rogue, and Havok, Cyclops’ younger brother. While there is still tension reeling from AvX, the team will have to put their differences aside and deal with the mutant-hating Red Skull. On his mash-up series, Remender had this to say about ‘Uncanny Avengers’:
“I’m not just smashing the heroes together, I’m smashing the villains together. It becomes something unlike anything we’ve ever seen, with stakes that are so huge, it takes a team comprised of the best Avengers and the best X-Men to go take care of it.”
There are some huge things on the horizon for the Marvel Universe. I really feel like this will be an exciting time to be a Marvel fan. I know that I can’t wait to get my hands on some of these books. And if this is what they’re announcing in the Comic-Con preview edition of Entertainment Weekly, I can only imagine what they’re going to unveil at the big event itself.