Marvel NOW! is the 2012 initiative of several ongoing comic books published by Marvel Comics, that debuted in October 2012 with new #1 issues. The initiative started with Uncanny Avengers and All-New X-Men, then continued to expand with each upcoming month into 2013. The point in this here is to show that Marvel how they succeeded with this initiative, not from a fans point of view, but from a marketing point of view. So here’s Analog Addictions review of everything up to the end.
Marvel NOW! is the company’s latest publishing initiative, the next phase of Marvel ReEvolution, a concept that they revealed earlier this year. It’s basically a giant shake-up of Marvel’s entire universe and created brand new titles, brand new creative teams, brand new costumes, relaunched titles, new digital incentives, new cover designs and even new secret identities, in some cases. It was a complete overhaul for the Marvel Universe that the publisher promises will leave no major character or series unaffected. They set the characters up in a way that new readers can jump in and get caught up. Nothing is being messed with, no origins are being changed drastically.
This all followed the events of AvX, which despite the disappointment from some, had an ending that justified everything that led up to it. It was an inevitable event, though could have been handled better produced the many books ongoing right this moment that allowed wave one of Marvel NOW! to succeed. One of the promises that was made about Marvel NOW! before it began was that it would show a more connected Universe within each books progression. It opened up the doors to a new line of titles in which in some way they would have a connection to one another. Big, small, it doesn’t matter, but you would have the idea that everything going on at that very moment is in synch with the rest of the Marvel Universe and that every action had some impact.
Starting with the X-Men. We see that they are getting more attention from the rest of the world. No longer are they ignored and their issues are now being addressed. This means that there is a connection between Uncanny Avengers, Uncanny X-Men, and All New X-Men. All three books now deal with the mutant issue and have some influence on each other knowing that each side of this story has its own way of approaching this issue. Then we have New Avengers and Avengers which have tied in as we now enter “Infinity”. What both stories center around and deal with have an impact on the other because of Age of Ultron. Guardians of The Galaxy even tie into this as Angela heads to Earth to take the fight to whoever caused the break in the time-continuum and trap here in the 616 Universe. It could even be something so small as the Young Avengers asking the Uncanny Avengers for help.
The best considerably you could say was Thor: God of Thunder, Young Avengers, and All New X-Men. 3 books which have taken a different approach to characters in a way which has invigorated their appeal. Thor: God of Thunder being at the top, brilliantly written and ended on a note which deserved the praise it got. Young Avengers had shown how much fun you could have with these young heroes, having a serious story without taking it too seriously. And All New X-Men took the X-Men series back to basics which is a refreshing take that fans needed after the craziness the mutant population has been through.
Their aim was changes to the character status quos, alter egos, costumes, creator shifts, design shifts, the way that they do their covers, digital shifts and the way they deliver their books. They did this and succeeded. For the most part every book was on point(despite some backlash sue to the debut of Superior Spider-Man). What they wanted for each series was to give a fresh take on their stories by shifting the writers and artists. This allowed for a different approach to characters that was very welcomed.
Now that’s not to say that everything has been perfect. Not all the books have been able to meet their sales requirements or draw in as many fans as they could have. Leading to some which are nearing their end, or have disappointed. This includes those like Thunderbolts, Red She-Hulk, Cable and The X-Force, Thanos Uprising, and Morbius. Doesn’t seem that big when you list them all out and that is what weighs down this initiative when so much has gone right. It’s not that all of them were bad, but they weren’t clicking with fans in a way that kept them consistently picking up the books resulting in low sales.
Then you have those which don’t pick up as much attention as they deserve such as Captain Marvel, Fearless Defenders, and Avengers Arena.
In terms of story those such as Avengers have lost some people due to the complexity of the situation presented. Its something to be expected when Hickman is at the wheel, and while that didn’t ruin the story or hurt sales, it was a consistent complaint. The biggest issue being the reception of the event which tied the know to it all being Age of Ultron. The biggest outcry due to confusion and disdain for the story and it’s execution. What it set up for Wave 2 was great, but what led to it was too diverse in acceptance.
Marvel NOW! Wave 2 is already announced as well. A new wave of titles that will generate the same amount of excitement amongst retailers and fans that the first wave did. New monthly titles, character reinventions and new jumping on points starting with “Avengers” #24.NOW by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic before new monthly series “All-New Invaders” by James Robinson and Steve Pugh and “Inhuman” by Matt Fraction and Joe Madureira follow along. From “All New X-Men” to “Guardians of The Galaxy,” Marvel NOW! has been a hit, and they’re far from through with giving us something new. There is now an opening for many exciting new series, which is expected to start this December and will continue carrying on through next year. You would never notice they are already in Wave 2 until someone mentioned this. That is something which shows the cohesiveness of the shared world they created.
Some could say that it’s debatable, and that’s their opinion, but for Marvel to be able to move forward to a new wave of series shows that they really had this planned out for the long run.