MARVEL NOW: A RUNDOWN

‘Marvel NOW!’ is here! Last week, Uncanny Avengers and Red She-Hulk kicked things off for a five-month period of all-new series from Marvel that tie into the post-AvX world. I’ve already reviewed UA, and this coming week, Marvel NOW! Point One is the only new release, but November through February promise a ton of new stuff for you (and me) to read!

OCTOBER

Marvel NOW! Point One
(Various Creative Teams)
Last year’s Marvel Point One was a cool first attempt at bringing readers an anthology format with which to preview the upcoming years storylines and series. With prelude stories to FF, Young Avengers, and Nova to name a few, Marvel NOW! Point One promises to be a roller coaster ride as we rocket into ‘Marvel NOW!’ 

A+X

(Various Creative Teams)

With the success of AvX: VS, Marvel saw great potential in that series’ format of ten-page stories featuring one Avenger and one X-Man. This time around, they’ll be teaming up instead of kicking the pants off each other.


NOVEMBER

All-New X-Men
(w) Brian Michael Bendis
(p) Stuart Immonen
After eight years at the helm of the Avengers, BMB is moving over to the X-Men world with All-New X-Men featuring the time-displaced original five X-Men transported to the present day. I can’t imagine how Marvel and Bendis plan on making this an ongoing, but I have faith, and the concept is cool enough to read whatever the outcome.






Deadpool
(w) Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan
(p) Tony Moore

It’s about time Marvel put an honest-to-god comedian on one of their most comedic characters, Deadpool. Brian Posehn is one of the funniest comics in the stand-up industry, and he’s likely bringing his distinct sense of humor to the Merc with a Mouth. The first arc is about Deadpool assassinating the reanimated corpses of America’s past Presidents.


Iron Man
(w) Kieron Gillen
(p) Greg Land
I’ve never been a fan of Iron Man – I’ll read tie-ins and the such, but on a regular basis, Tony Stark’s solo adventures don’t interest me that much. That being said, this is ‘Marvel NOW!’, the perfect time to dive into a character never explored much, and the fact that Kieron Gillen is writing is enough to make me interested.

Avengers Assemble #9

(w) Kelly Sue DeConnick
(p) Stefano Caselli

Though it’s not renumbering, Avengers Assemble is getting an all-new creative team and narrative focus. Going forward, Kelly Sue DeConnick will be penning “shot glass Avengers” stories only two to three issues in length focusing on character growth. It’s a fantastic move on Marvel’s part, seeing as DeConnick has been cleaning up with Captain Marvel.


Fantastic Four

(w) Matt Fraction
(p) Mark Bagley
Again, I never got into the Fantastic Four, and my experience with Ultimate Fantastic Four was less than impressive. Though, Matt Fraction’s recent take on Hawkeye has been impeccable, so I’m willing to see what he’s got planned for Marvel’s First Family. The first arc apparently takes them away from Earth for a full year of their lives, but which only amounts to four minutes in Earth time. Interesting? Wait until you see how it ties into FF.

Journey Into Mystery #646

(w) Kathryn Immonen
(p) Valerio Schiti

Just like Avengers Assemble, Journey Into Mystery isn’t getting renumbered, but instead brings in Kathryn Immonen and Valerio Schiti to change the narrative direction and focus on the Lady Sif instead of Kid Loki. This promises to be an epic arc, as Sif is set to return to Asgard and raise all sorts of hell.


Thor: God of Thunder
(w) Jason Aaron
(p) Esad Ribic
Jason Aaron is going in an interesting direction with Thor: God of Thunder, taking readers through three distinct eras of Thor’s life – his younger years, the current day, and his elder years as King of Asgard. Knowing Aaron, this structural decision will make for some amazing building grounds for future stories.

X-Men Legacy

(w) Si Spurrier
(p) Tan Eng Huat

It’s a series about Legion. Oh, Legion – son of Xavier with no real personality because you’ve been used as a plot pawn for so, so many years. It’s about time David Haller was treated right and given a series to help him work out his inner demons. In the aftermath of Avengers vs. X-Men, Legion seems like he’s going to be meeting a lot of new mutants who need help understanding what’s happened to them.


Captain America
(w) Rick Remender
(p) John Romita Jr.
Uncanny Avengers is amazing, and I’m now certain that Rick Remender is going to turn Captain America from the country’s boy scout into something darker and more relatable. Being transported to and stuck in Dimension Z with Arnim Zola’s son is a good start to making Cap a more well-rounded character.







Indestructible Hulk
(w) Mark Waid
(p) Lenil Yu

Mark Waid did Daredevil a huge favor by yanking Matt Murdock out of the proverbial alley and into the sunlight. Bruce Banner has been tossed around for years, and it’s time that someone like Waid gives the green giant a fresh coat of paint for a new age. In recent interviews, Waid said that his interpretation of Hulk/Banner resembles Mark Ruffalo’s movie Hulk, though the similarities were completely unintentional.


FF
(w) Matt Fraction
(p) Mike Allred
While the Fantastic Four are off in another dimension, Reed Richards recruits a new FF team to protect the world in their absence…of four minutes. It’s a wonky concept, but one I’m positive Matt Fraction can pull off. The new FF team includes Ant-Man, Medusa, She-Hulk, and Ms. Thing (a new character). Mike Allred is an amazing artist and I cannot wait to see how his pulpy style will affect the stories.


DECEMBER

Avengers
(w) Jonathan Hickman
(p) Jeremy Opena
Jonathan Hickman is stepping off his long-term runs on Fantastic Four and FF to turn his sights on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. In interviews, Hickman has stated that Avengers will be big-ticket stories about a large cast of characters, leaving more character-driven stuff for the sister series he’s also writing, New Avengers.

Thunderbolts

(w) Daniel Way
(p) Steve Dillon
This one just looks plain cool. It’s General “Thunderbolt” Ross, a.k.a. Red Hulk, leading a team of killers including Elektra, Venom, Deadpool, and the Punisher. Some fans are already upset that Frank Castle is going to be on a team, but I have high hopes for this series that’s bringing together some of the best anti-heroes Marvel has to offer.








Cable and X-Force
(w) Dennis Hopeless
(p) Salvador Larroca
Now that Avengers vs. X-Men has made criminals out of a number of X-Men, they have to go on the run. Cable leads new X-Force team (that includes Colossus, btw) on the run from the Uncanny Avengers!

New Avengers

(w) Jonathan Hickman
(p) Steve Epting
While Avengers tackles the big picture stuff, New Avengers will see Jonathan Hickman bringing readers the exploits of the Illuminati, the group of intellects that have shaped the Marvel U over the past seven years or so. This title will be more character-driven, with a lot of Avengers crossovers.


Avengers Arena
(w) Dennis Hopeless
(p) Kev Walker
While this series is a total ripoff of Battle Royale (and by extension, The Hunger Games), Avengers Arena is probably going to be very cool. It’s throwing a bunch of teenaged characters together, from Avengers Academy to the perennially ignored Runaways

JANUARY

Uncanny X-Force
(w) Sam Humphries
(p) Ron Garney
Even though there’s already going to be Cable and X-Force, Marvel liked Rick Remender’s run on Uncanny X-Force to give the series a relaunch of it’s own. This time around, Storm is leading the team (sporting a blatantly retro mohawk) that includes Psylocke amongst other, low-tier mutants.

Savage Wolverine

(w/p) Frank Cho
They finally gave Frank Cho a Wolverine series. Cho has promised that this iteration of Logan’s tale will be, obviously, a lot more savage and violent. The first arc takes Wolvy to the jungle, so there’s going to be a lot of survivalism, I’m sure.


Young Avengers
(w) Kieron Gillen
(p) Jamie McElvie
This is the series I’ve been waiting six years to happen. I absolutely loved the original run of Young Avengers and continued to keep up with the characters even as they got tossed around creative teams like an unwanted sandwich. Now, Marvel is giving the title to Kieron Gillen and Jamie McElvie, the creative team behind the magnificent Phonogram series. This new team features old favorites Wiccan, Hulkling, and Hawkeye II, while introducing to the team Kid Loki, Miss America Chavez, and Marvel Boy (from Civil War: Young Avengers & Runaways).

The Superior Spider-Man

(w) Dan Slott
(p) Ryan Stegman
This is the series I’m least excited about. There’s no creative team change here, just a renumbering and an apparent new man under the Spider-Man mask. Oh, and the Spidey suit now has black where there was blue. I thought the whole point of ‘Marvel NOW!’ was to shake up creative teams, and in this case, Marvel just dropped the ball.


FEBRUARY

Secret Avengers
(w) Nick Spencer
(p) Luke Ross
I always thought the premise of Secret Avengers was too loose. Sure, it’s an Avengers team that’s secret, but how cliche is that? This new premise from Nick Spencer tells that S.H.I.E.L.D. wants an Avengers team of their own, but the current big names are too unpredictable and uncontrollable, so they activate embedded codes within select operatives around the world, task them to go on missions, then wipe their memory when the mission is complete. This smorgasbord of operatives include Black Widow, Mockingbird, Hawkeye, Hulk, and a new Iron Patriot. The team works with (the new) Nick Fury and Agent Phil Coulson.





Guardians of the Galaxy

(w) Brian Michael Bendis
(p) Steve McNiven
As part of Marvel’s ongoing effort to expand it’s cosmic branch of characters, Brian Michael Bendis and Steve McNiven will be reviving Guardians of the Galaxy with a new directive in mind: keep Earth alien-free. Apparently, Earth has been meddled with too much, and it’s time to let the humans evolve on their own. Expect big things from this title which is set to include Iron Man.


Nova
(w) Jeph Loeb
(p) Ed McGuinness
Last year, Marvel Point One teased a the new Nova, Sam Alexander, as he fought off Terrax and escaped to warn Earth’s heroes about the coming of the Phoenix. It felt like a bit of a letdown when no new Nova series came about, but now, we’ve got one starting in February! Loeb has promised that this series will explain how Sam became the newest member of the Nova Corps, and what his purpose is going forward.

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