Marvel Now – The Story So Far

With DC Comics’ new continuity series 52 kicking off a storm, it’s time for Marvel to try their hand at a similar project with Marvel NowMarvel Now takes place after the events of Avengers vs. X Men.

It is not a reboot, but more a creative shuffle with new artists and writers taking over core characters, possible new origins, new cover designs and revamped costumes for a lot of the core Marvel group.

Marvel has expertly caused a flurry of excitement with their slow drip feeding of information about the new titles. Now we have a good list of what will be hitting the shops in the next few months. Newsarama has done an excellent list of what we can expect from the new Marvel Now, but  here are the basics of what’s happening.

Cinematic Covers

These bring the characters to the forefront; the toned down, more stream lined covers are actually more appealing to the eye. Also on a purely fan-boy level, they do look pretty blooming cool with their macho, action hero style pose offs! Look at this cover for a series of one shots (including pretty much every writer who is involved in Marvel Now!) which has Nick Fury’s son looking bad ass and black. Samuel L. Jackson would be proud!

Some Series Will Be Left Alone

Good in some cases, especially a long running series like X Factor. I remember the problems that the IDW Angel comic had. A big spoiler was revealed in the other Buffy comic, which totally messed up the whole Angel storyline. This was two different companies not communicating with each other so it’s a slightly different case. It’s good to know that Marvel has at least thought about the other titles it has in its collection.

More Avengers Books

I have to be honest, this news fills me a little bit with dread. It was hard enough keeping up with Avengers and New Avengers before the change, but now there will be Uncanny Avengers, Avengers, New Avengers, Avengers Assemble, Secret Avengers and possibly more! Come on Marvel, tone it down! Some of us fans have to spend our money on other comics, you know!

Uncanny XMen Is Getting Canceled

The cancellation isn’t much of a shocker really. Uncanny XMen will no doubt come back in some way in the next few years; I doubt it’s a permanent thing. The title had a good run so this is still a pretty sad day.

More Relaunches

Thor, Fantastic Four, Captain America and Iron Man are getting the number 1 treatment, and there may well be more. This could be a good move if they stick with it, but again this is something Marvel tends to do on a regular basis. We will have to see. It will be a good starting place for new readers so maybe that’s a good thing!

Cosmic Characters Are Major Players

Marvel has done a great job in the last few years of building their cosmic characters up; for a while they had lost their way a bit. DC comics’ cosmic storylines have always been great. It will be good to see some competition for a change.

Silver Age X -Men (Contains Spoilers)

This Silver Age X-Men portion has a spoiler alert for all of you graphic novel readers, so if you don’t want it spoiled don’t read! The Silver Age X -Men have time-traveled here, and they are here to stay. There is no mini series; they are part of the continuity now. This is going to be great, but it must be a headache for the writing department as keeping track on their actions and how this effects the past and present is going to be looked over with a fine-toothed comb by the readers!

New Avengers Recruits

The Avengers’ new recruits are not really a surprise. The increase in titles means they are going to need some new ladies and gents to fill in the gaps. Potentials could be Shang chi, Falcon, Spider Woman and Nick Fury. Then, the usual suspects (Cap, Thor, etc) will join the mix too. I really hope they include some of the more obscure characters like Doctor Druid. Sure he’s dead but when has that ever stopped anyone?

Uncanny Avenger’s Line Up Confirmed

Captain America, Thor, Scarlet Witch, Wolverine, Rogue and Havok… what a great line up for the Avengers! This means some of the lesser characters and the heavy hitters mixing it up. I’m really looking forward to this one. I don’t know how Wolverine is still going to run his school while this is going on, but I’m sure he will get by! Rick Remender (Uncany X Force) is on writing duty so you know you’re in good hands.  John Cassidy is on the art (Astonishing XMen and Planetary) and if this cover is anything to go by it will be stunning!

 Out With The Old, In With The New?

In a recent interview with newsarama Axel Alonso had this to say:

“For one team, that starts with new leadership, and a new challenge to that leadership. For the other team, it means rethinking the philosophy of how it operates and how it is composed and dealing with the loss of a major character, which must embark on a new mission that requires he goes elsewhere.”

Where does this leave us? Well, it’s been confirmed Havok is the leader of the Uncanny Avengers, so that’s a new leadership angle. With all of the other Avengers titles coming out, there will be plenty more spaces for leadership. Cyclops could be leaving after the events of Avengers vs. X Men but then so could Iron Man. In fact, with the mix up, it could be pretty much anyone! Here’s to hoping that Marvel puts us out of our misery soon!

So, that’s the info so far. Now let’s look at the new titles that have been confirmed.  Again, Newsarama has a massive article on each of these covers but for the more casual reader, here is a brief breakdown of what we have to look forward to. If you want to look at their complete range of articles click here.

Thor God of Thunder

It’s set in standard Marvel continuity and involves a new villain called “Gorr the God Butcher” who is not a big fan of Thor! It looks like it will be spread over three different time frames too: a beginning, middle and end of Thor’s timeline, which does sound amazing. It looks even better when new writer Jason Aaron said it would be a mix of Year One and Dark Knight Returns. Jason has not done much Thor work, but his work on titles like Ultimate Captain America and Punisher Max are incredible. He has a unique, down to earth but gritty style which I feel would be an incredibly different approach to the Thor character. With a character like Gorr the God Butcher, we are probably not going to get too much of a light-hearted story! Artist Esad Ribic is back on Thor and his fluid style is a joy to behold. His work on the Loki series was breathtaking. He made Loki look like a truly terrifying and a nasty piece of work! Overall, this pairing seems great and being a casual reader of Thor, it has me really interested in where this team will take the God of thunder.

Indestructible Hulk

“Our Bruce Banner is…evolved. Enlightened. He’s had an epiphany about his condition, and it affects everything. All I can say is that once upon a time, The Hulk was unique in comics because he viewed his condition as a curse, not a blessing; but now, 50 years later, a lot of super heroes feel that way.”

This is one of the few pieces of information we have from writer Mark Waid on the Hulk series. Is this to be a throwback to the early 1990s when Banner had the Hulk’s body and his own intelligence? Or maybe it’s more a peace treaty between the Hulk and Banner. The new title looks to set focus just on this relationship at the moment giving the Hulk family a rest for the time being. He is now a member of S.H.I.E.L.D and looks to be using his Hulk and Banner sides to help fight the bad guys. Mark Waid’s works as a writer are vast with titles like Kingdom Come, Fantastic Four and 52 being just a small sample of his work. He knows how to write for big casts but he is also great at given us a lead character who moves the story forward.  This should be a great title especially with Leinil Yu on hand with the art, another artist who’s great work on Secret Invasion and Superior stands out. He is another artist who manages to bring the grittiness to comics, with the more life-like feel to the characters. The front cover alone of this is amazing with the Hulk looking like a convict who has broken out of some futuristic prison (love those new pants!). I’m hoping the new “at peace”  Hulk is going to come through, because this Hulk looks like he would knock your block off!

FF and Fantastic Four

Matt Fraction is pulling double duty writing both of these titles which will loosely link together, but will be separate in their own right. FF is essentially a  family affair, with new members Ant Man, She Hulk, Medusa and new human recruit Miss Thing (one of Johnny’s friends in a powered Thing suit). Mike Allred of Madman fame is on this book and I have got to say this is a great move. His work on Madman and I, zombie speaks for itself, but he has actually done a Fantastic Four story before involving the Impossible Man and it was a joy to read. If they are going for a friendlier book then Allred’s style is perfect for this. It also gives it a slightly retro feel to and separates it from the other Fantastic Four book.

Fantastic Four has Mark Bagley (you know his work and you know he is the best at what he does so let’s leave it at that!) reintroducing the Fab Four as well as Sue and Reed’s kids Valerie and Franklin. The future foundation is still around and this title seems to be more like an interactive school experience rather than them having to fend for their lives every few seconds! Reed will be hands-on in teaching this time, and it feels like it’s again going to be like the early days of the Fantastic Four were Reed would be blowing up the lab, only it’s a whole bunch of mini-Reeds blowing up the lab instead! I’m really loving the new approach. As much as I loved the Future Foundation stories, they started to get a bit grim near the end so hopefully this lighthearted feel will bring the FF back to their roots. I’m interested to see how Matt Fraction will handle two titles that don’t seem to be his style. The books I have read of his (Fear Itself, Battle Scars, The Order) were more on the bleak side but he does have an extensive back catalog of other titles so let’s hope he can pull it off!

X men Legacy

In my opinion, this is one of the most interesting titles coming out. It’s a book just on Xavier’s son old Legion himself; David. His character is fascinating. You have a young teen messed up at birth, & destructive powers that warped reality twice. He wants to try to be a better person and the fact that he has about 50 different personalities with different powers means this book could go and do literally anything! It’s a good time to do it too, as David has been slowly coming to the forefront of the Marvel titles and is becoming a very interesting character in his own right. Simon Spurrier is a relatively new writer on the scene and has mostly worked on 2000AD but that kind of writing could be perfect for this story. A lot of his work is on Thargs Future Shocks, so he knows how to twist and turn a story. With a character that never knows who he is going to be from one day to the next, this could be an inspired choice. Tan Eng Huat another newish artist has done some great work on Doom Patrol and Annihilators. His pencil style is very precise and smooth, his characters always look like they have stepped out of a fashion shoot; it looks great! I like the idea of two newbies taking on a relatively new character.

Captain America

Rick Reminder and John Romita Jnr on the super soldier himself! Genius, absolutely genius. Both of these two are top notch in their fields, and I cannot wait to see John’s pencils on cap. The tone again is more innocent than Ed Brubaker’s ground breaking run on the title. Rick wants to focus more on Cap’s roots as well as introducing new villains like the Green Skull who wants to turn people into plants. Sounds a bit like Plantman to me, but who knows! Rick said in an interview that he’s going for a more Sci – Fi, 60s style approach and this is coming from the man who wrote Fear Agent, so you know he knows his Sci – Fi. That style of story work is a different matter entirely. Personally, I think Rick is a great writer whose work on Uncanny X Force has been amazing. Some readers may not like this new approach, but Cap turned into a werewolf once, and people kept reading so hell yeah! Let’s see what they have to offer!

Geek Tyrant has a sneak peak at Cap’s new costume, which I like to call “extreme sports Cap!”.

Give him a skateboard and top off the whole look, why don’t you! The padding and stuff is fine I guess and they are going more for an Ultimates style, but the flashing bolts on his head I could do without! You never know, though, how these things go and if it’s hated universally I’m sure it won’t be to long until it’s changed back! I’m looking forward to seeing how it looks in the context of the comics.

Deadpool

Everyone loves Deadpool (come on you all do!). Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan (comedians) are on writing duty with the amazing Tony Moore doing art (Walking Dead). The great thing about Tony’s softer, rounded art is that it is a lot more cartoonish, which works perfectly with the tone of Deadpool. Also anyone who read his stints on the Walking Dead knows he can mix the gore with the comedy, which is another key point of the Deadpool comic. Their first story arc involves zombie presidents, so it looks like they are off to a flying start! Deadpool will also be working with S.H.I.E.L.D so maybe in the future there will be a Hulk/Deadpool team up? Here’s to hoping! For anyone thinking that they have heard of Brian Posehn before, he’s a man who has worked on the Sarah Silverman show and Space Ghost shows. He’s a wee bit quirky, spot on for Deadpool I would say! Click here for the wiki link (you will know him when you see him!). I was a bit reluctant at first to be excited here as comedians writing comics can prove pretty poor. It certainly does not work when entertainment people try to write for wrestlers. However, looking at some of their works together, they are actually a pretty funny bunch. Hell, I’d read this anyway with Tony blooming Moore drawing it!

Iron man

The new title will focus on two things, Tony Stark’s place in the world and the ladies in his life. In between then, hopefully, there will be some time for kick ass armor and blowing stuff up! Kieron Gillen is on hand with Greg Land on the art. Greg Land’s art is fantastic. He has photo realism to his work that I have not seen since Alex Ross. Each piece looks like a still photo. I’m looking forward to seeing his style on Iron man action shots! Kieron Gillen, on the other hand, I have very little knowledge of at all as, his mainstream credits are few and far between. I read his miniseries Ares which I enjoyed so it’s a watch this space moment!  What I do like is Iron man’s new armor (which looks very War Machine like) especially the yellow and black look. It just seems to work for him.

All New X – Men (Spoliers)

Another spoiler I’m afraid, so please don’t look under this if you don’t want to see the new cover! As I mentioned before, the old X-Men are back… and here they are in all their glory!  They are not amused by how the future has turned out and have decided to stay here and sort it out. Brian Michael Bendis is writing and this is his thing. I have never read a bad Bendis story so for me this man can do no wrong! Stunning art by Stuart Immune who you will probably recognize from his stint on Ultimate Spider-man. Not much information on this, but it’s Marvel Silver Age meets modern day, so I need no more information to tell me this will rock!

Avengers Assemble

Digital Spy have just reported Kelly Sue DeConnick will help with the new Avengers Assemble title. Most famously known for her revamping of Captain Marvel, she will be treating the Avengers more like celebrities and she is going for a Joss Whedon style to this. On the art side we have Stefano Caselli who has done some great work on AvengersInitiative. Once again it’s another up and coming team on a big book. Unfortunately, there is no other information on this title. In my opinion, the premise of them as celebrities should be enough to draw some readers in.

That brings our little foray into Marvel Now to an end. Marvel will no doubt drop some more bombs in the next few months, but at the moment it’s looking like a pretty interesting time to be a Marvel Comics fan. As a treat to top it off here is the latest Marvel Now poster from newsarama:

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