Marvel NOW!, for those who haven’t yet heard of it, is Marvel’s attempt to battle against the successful launch of DC’s New 52 reboot. It is the opinion of the comic book marketers that with the recent resurgence of interest in super heroes (mostly due to the incredible popularity of comic book films as of late), people will be unable to get into storylines and characters that are decades old. This is understandable, considered the huge amount of back-story and reading of past issues that would be involved in trying to get properly caught-up. While DC decided to reboot their universe, however, Marvel is trying something a little different.
They don’t plan on scrapping all of their previous work, but instead expanding upon it in a new way. They’ll be releasing several new titles, starting with #1 issues so that new fans can jump right on board. They’ll also be bringing back the original five X-Men via a time-travelly storyline. This includes the long-dead Jean Grey who, if they resurrected again, might very well start a riot among fans.
A few more of the titles they have lined-up include the Uncanny Avengers, mixing both of those old teams into a single, giant one, and the All-New X-Men, which will follow the adventures of the original team in the present day (and is going to be written by the amazing Brian Michael Bendis!). Also included will be a relaunch of Avengers, Captain America, the Fantastic Four and several others.
Just looking at the picture I’ve used to headline this post, you can see some of the strange changes that Marvel is looking to make to old classics. Wtf is the Hulk doing wearing crazy power armor? And Cyclops appears to be sporting a new, much redder look. Let’s just hope that they don’t go too far with all the alterations.
To make the Marvel NOW! pot even sweeter, if you pick up the ink and paper comic you also get a free digital copy. No more getting your mint books messed up so you can read them. There will also be access to extra content online, such as behind-the-scenes / making-of type stuff. And, perhaps most important for marketing, people will be able to scan the covers of comics with their phones and get an instant recap of what’s been going on in a title, just in case they’re new to it or happen to have missed an issue or two.
The new titles are set to hit shelves starting this Fall (well before the Avengers vs. X-Men cross-over is finished). If you happen to be at Comic-Con this year, Marvel will be making all their official announcements there as well, and probably revealing a few more tidbits about this massive change.
Personally, I’m hopeful, though whether this succeeds or not is really going to be on the shoulders of those they choose to write the new titles. Good writing will bring people in, but bad writing could make the whole attempt to ‘reboot without rebooting’ into a huge mess.