When Marvel recently announced their latest promotional onslaught revolving around everything Avengers NOW!, most of the buzz surrounded the big changes coming to Captain America and Thor, with most of the push, seemingly, put behind a few new series and a lot of current ones. A closer look at the released teaser image for Marvel’s new branding shows-off a lot of good, a lot of potential, and maybe even a bit of mystery.
The Big Three
If you haven’t heard the biggest news from Avengers NOW! you’ve been living in a cave somewhere and I have to wonder how you get internet down there. A yet to be named woman will be taking on the mantle of Thor; Steve Roger’s longtime partner and friend will be taking on the mantle of Captain America; and Iron Man is becoming a Superior version of himself, which means more Stark exceptionalism and arrogance. Longtime Thor writer Jason Aaron, and longtime Captain America writer Rick Remender will be continuing their runs on these titles respectively, and the Iron Man title will be scribed by Tom Taylor. Look for these in October and November.
Already Announced Titles
Both Winter Soldier and Deathlok have been getting plenty of fan service lately thanks to movies and TV shows, and it’s already been announced that Marvel will be releasing new titles starring these fan-favorites. Ales Kot writing Winter Soldier is great and all; he knows what he’s doing and his work on books like Zero and Secret Avengers shows he can write a spy story; but Marco Rudy’s art on this book is going to be a thing of legend.
The new Deathlok book by Nathan Edmondson promises “Manchurian candidate meets Robocop”, and that’s weird enough to work. The writer’s recent work on both Black Widow and The Punisher, two very different characters, shows he’s got the range to pull off a complicated character like Deathlok. Mike Perkins art is perfect for this book, and it will be really interesting to see which new direction they decide to take a character that is way overdue for a facelift. Look for these, also, in October.
The Ongoing Titles
Now, this is where it gets tricky. We don’t know for sure if the characters in the Avengers NOW! image are in there because of these titles, but I’m guessing it’s a pretty safe bet that is the case. First we have a couple of Inhumans, namely the queen herself Medusa, and the newest of the brood to hatch from Terrigenesis, Inferno. Spinning out of Infinity, an event that seems like ancient history at this point, Inhuman has been dragging quite a bit due to creator hurdles, but Charles Soule is still cranking this book out, and it’s been wonderful. The new characters being showcased give the book a real 80′s-90′s X-Men feel, but the whole Royal Family aspect of the Inhumans makes it different enough to not be old and tired. The big delay may be hurting this title quite a bit, and maybe it got lost in the mix along the way, but knowing Marvel, the schedule for this title will be back on track, as new artist and Young Gun Ryan Stegman takes over, and they are still throwing promotion at it. It’ll probably be on a solid release schedule by say…October :)
Also seen in the Avengers NOW! image is the Scarlet Witch, and while this character will also surely see some buzz when a certain blockbuster sequel debuts next year, the one and only Wanda Maximoff can currently be seen within the pages of Rick Remender’s quite different and quite good Uncanny Avengers, and, according to the solicits, will be a fairly big part of Marvel’s upcoming Axis event, also scribed by Remender. Coincidentally, but not really, Axis #1 is due out in October, with a slew of tie-ins ranging from the obvious Uncanny Avengers, the companion series Axis Revolutions, and the downright weird Axis: Carnage and Axis: Hobgoblin. All due out in October.
So this explains away a lot of the Avengers NOW! image, but there’s some standout characters missing. Warning: There may be some Original Sin spoilers ahead, but here it goes.
First off we have Angela, Spawn character turned legal and bonafide Marvel mainstay, may have been introduced in The Guardians of the Galaxy book, but she’s making herself a name as Thor’s little (big?) sister in the pages of Original Sin 5.-something. There’s a 10th Realm, Odin got busy (we all knew he was a player!), and Thor’s got another sibling. While the Asgard family tree and The World Tree are growing, is the Original Sin tie-in the all of Angela’s role in the Marvel U from now on? I seriously doubt it.
Another character lacking a specific reason for showing up in Avengers NOW! promos has become so recently badass he needs no reason. Anyone who hasn’t been reading New Avenger in all it’s crazy, confusing, multiverse destroying, Justice League ripping-off, awesomeness, may have missed the part where Doctor Strange became a demon-eating, planet-saving wizard on the level of He Who Must Not Be Named. It’s still all sort of confusing (Isn’t that always the way with magic?) but it’s needless to say that if anyone deserves his own title it’s Doc Strange. Of course, this could all just be alluding to the New Avengers book proper, and Doc Strange may be reduced to the team player he’s been for years. But heed my words, Marvel editors: Do not piss this (dark) mage off! Do the right thing, give the Sorcerer Supreme an ongoing.
Finally, and most compelling to me, is the appearance of Ant-Man. Good old Scott Lang hasn’t had a book in…well, since before he was dead I think, and here’s another character with a film on the Marvel Movie Universe horizon that should be getting some comic book play. If you’ve been reading Original Sin you know that Ant-Man has been selected as one of the finalist of Nick Fury’s personal reality show, with the winner getting what sounds like the coolest and scariest job in the Marvel U. So why the hell not? While Doc Strange is also one of Nicks finalist, I just don’t see Stephen pulling off that kind of job, but Scott Lang’s got the chops to do just about anything. And I know regular OG contributor JulesTrue would be the happiest fanboy in the multiverse if Ant-Man got an ongoing, so I can’t help but root for it to happen.
Am I a soothsayer? No. Am I in cahoots with Marvel editorial? Don’t I wish. Do I have a crystal ball? No, but my lvl 13 Wizard had one. I can’t be for sure about any of these guesses, but I can tell you that they are educated guesses. I’ve studied Marvel promotional techniques just for fun, Avengers NOW! is very reminiscent of previous promotions for Autumn lineups, and, wouldn’t you know it, San Diego Comic Con International is just around the corner. Wouldn’t that be a great place to reveal some more new comic news? I think so.