About a year ago, DC Comics announced their "New 52" initiative, a hard reboot of their entire line of superhero comics that would, in theory, make every one of their books accessible to a new, broad audience who wouldn't have to know anything about their characters. Since then, many fans awaited a similar announcement from Marvel, and today it looks like they got it… with a twist.
In today's Comic-Con preview issue of Entertainment Weekly, the world was introduced to "Marvel NOW!", an extensive soft reboot of their biggest superhero franchises. What's the difference between a hard and soft reboot? In a hard reboot, pretty much all of the stories that came before are wiped clean; certainly there are some remnants, but in general everything begins again. In a soft reboot, everything that happened before has still happened, it's just that books are still designed to be 100% accessible to new readers. Since a lot of people seem to have wished (and possibly still wish) that this is what DC had done, this news probably makes a lot of people happy.
So what does Marvel NOW!... also known as Marvel ReEvolution… mean for readers? Well, for one, a whole bunch of new books; Marvel will release at least one new title a week between October 2012 and February 2013. Though this isn't totally explicit, we can assume this comes from the current Avengers vs. X-Men series, in which some of Marvel's heaviest hitters are playing with cosmic powers (like, powers that could reshape reality). It's long been rumored that, post-AvX, prominent Avengers writers would move to X-Men books, and vice-versa, and that's what we're seeing here; Marvel's already announced three titles as part of their new initiative:
Uncanny Avengers (writer: Rick Remender; artist: John Cassaday): A wild team of Avengers fight the Red Skull, who wants to exterminate the mutant race once and for all. Anyone who's seen John Cassaday's work on books like Planetary or Astonishing X-Men has to be excited about this.
All-New X-Men (writer: Brian Michael Bendis; artist: Stuart Immonen): The five original X-Men somehow show up in the modern day, and they're not sure what to make of this crazy world. If you're keeping track, that means Jean Grey is definitely back, guys. Bendis and Immonen worked magic together on Ultimate Spider-Man; why think this will be any different?
Avengers (writer: Jonathan Hickman; artist: Jerome Opena): All that's out about this book so far is that the Avengers team will be vastly different and that it will likely have a more cosmic focus. If you're familiar with Jonathan Hickman's work, that won't be surprising.
No doubt many more announcements about Marvel NOW titles will be following in the coming weeks—we can probably expect a ton of them at Comic-Con—but for now, what do you think of Marvel's ReEvolution? What would you like to see in this next wave of books?