Marvel Now! is a new series of ongoing stories launching from a convergence of Marvel’s Revolution and the repercussions of Avengers Vs. X-Men. Marvel is keen to make it known that this new branding is in no way meant as a reboot of the Marvel U, but is rather a new way of enjoying Marvel content with new stories that are perfect for new readers to grasp onto without leaving current readers cold.
The first Marvel NOW! book will be Uncanny Avengers #1 from Rick Remender (Uncanny X-Force, Venom) and John Cassaday (Astonishing X-Men, Captain America). The name represents a team-up of the Avengers and the X-Men. The two teams must battle some new threat together that neither can handle alone. In the press release, Marvel mentions that they must also learn to co-exist after the events of AvX, so again no reboot here as those events continue to affect the overall Marvel Universe.
“There’s never been a better time to check out comics than Marvel NOW!” said Axel Alonso, Editor in Chief, Marvel Entertainment. “This isn’t a reboot or a reimagining—Marvel NOW! is all about looking forward, building on our rich history of great stories and delivering new ideas.”
The Marvel Revolution aspect of these new books comes into play with the digital versions of the books. Like other Marvel books the printed ones will come with a code for a free digital version of the issue from the Marvel App Store or the Marvel Comic Shop. The digital versions will feature added content via the Marvel AR application that will include cover caps and behind the scenes features. We’ve seen this a little already with the release of AvX issue #1. Now it appears that all of the Marvel NOW! releases will get the special treatment.
“We brought fans the biggest comic book event imaginable in Avengers VS. X-Men and now we’re taking the Marvel Universe to an exciting new place, beginning with Uncanny Avengers #1,” said Tom Brevoort, SVP, Executive Editor, Marvel Entertainment. “If you’re a long-time fan, all the stories you’ve read will give you even more enjoyment of what’s happening now—we’re not abandoning our past. But if you’re a new reader, this is where you’re going to learn just why Marvel comics are unlike anything else you’ve ever read. And no character is left unaffected by Marvel NOW!.”
Following Uncanny Avengers #1 a new Marvel NOW! title will hit stands nearly every week through January. Titles include: All-New X-Men #1 by Brian Michael Bendis (Avengers VS. X-Men, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man) and Stuart Immonen (Avengers VS. X-Men #1 Infinite, Fear Itself); Avengers #1 by Jonathan Hickman (Avengers VS X-Men, Fantastic Four) and Jerome Opena (Uncanny X-Force), on-sale in December; and New Avengers #1, by Hickman and Steve Epting (FF, Captain America).
“This is the natural next step of the Marvel ReEvolution, as we evolve every facet of Marvel publishing,” explained Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer, Marvel Entertainment. “You’ve seen us craft new digital storytelling formats like Marvel Infinite Comics and bring added value to our comics with Marvel AR. Now our print comics leap into the future with a cinematic new look for our covers, exciting new designs for our biggest characters and stories that will send you on the kind of journey you can only get at Marvel.”
Hopefully what is first and foremost to Marvel is good storytelling. It’s not unreasonable to think that the company is getting to wrapped up in these gimmicks and is losing focus on what has given the company so much longevity. The AR app seemed just that, “gimmicky,” the first time I saw it and I just don’t know how much comic book fans care about these sorts of feature additions to their reading. I could see a commentary or behind the scenes sort of featurette as a part of a classic digital graphic novel. Then we could hear discussion of an entire story arc from the various creators involved with the novel but for individual issues? You have to give it to Marvel though they are at least trying to evolve the medium. If the Marvel Revolution isn’t the answer then maybe what they come up with next will be.