Marvel rocked pop culture news a few weeks ago with their announcement of Marvel Now, a not-quite-reboot initiative that will relaunch a number of Marvel titles with an eye towards new reader accessibility. That was topic of discussion #1 at a weekend panel, where Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, along with other assembled editors and division heads, rapped with fans about their upcoming plans. Of course, before Marvel Now can begin, Avengers vs. X-Men has got to finish up. What did Marvel have to say about these two major events?
Quesada said that this initiative came from a desire to bring a new, fresh status quo to Marvel's core titles. The idea here, he says, is to be "clean, accessible, and fun." However, Marvel was also quick to distinguish their relaunch from DC's New 52. They emphasized how interested they were in their shared universe and decades of continuity, and they promised that they weren't throwing anything out the window to tell their new stories, acknowledging that fans had invested in past stories both emotionally and financially.
To accompany Marvel Now, the publisher has some pretty exciting digital plans, including free downloads of all first issues with a purchase of the printed copy, and augmented reality covers that will activate special features when scanned with Marvel's AR app. When asked if this digital push would exist past the first issues, Quesada responded that the company would see how well things went with the first issues and reevaluate from there.
Special attention was paid to the upcoming Uncanny Avengers title by Rick Remender and John Cassaday, which seems like it will be one of Marvel's flagship books. Quesada referred to it as "a snapshot of the Marvel universe after AvX." The book will include both Avengers and X-Men assembled for one specific mission, during the course of which the team realizes that they can do more good for the world if they stick together. Quesada referred to this title as "the new New Avengers," citing Brian Michael Bendis' popular 2004 reboot of the Avengers franchise.
Another interesting Marvel Now change is the introduction of a character named Nick Fury Jr., presumably a previously unknown son of the popular head of SHIELD. No doubt in an effort to tie into Marvel's film line, this character looks a LOT like Samuel L Jackson, as opposed to the white Nick Fury in Marvel's main universe who was, truly, once played by David Hasselhoff in a forgotten film.
Finally, to set up the Marvel Now line, the publishers will release a one-shot entitled Marvel Now Point One in the early fall. This will include five short stories by top-tier creators like Brian Michael Bendis and Jonathan Hickman, and it will start to establish the status quo of the Marvel universe going forward, so if you're not sure if Marvel Now is right for you, this would be a good book to try out.
Avengers vs. X-Men:
Marvel Now will spin out of the conclusion of this world-altering series, and while no one would spill the beans on how AvX ends (who'd want them to?), we did get an idea of the fallout the book would have. This was summed up by the ominous tagline, "One team wins. One team loses. Everybody pays."
That notion will inspire the fall launch of AvX Consequences, a weekly five-issue jaunt written by Kieron Gillen that explains the fallout of this massive Marvel war.
On the brighter side of things, sometimes it's nice for heroes to work together. With that in mind, October 2012 will see the release of A+X, which is, you might guess, an Avengers/X-Men team-up book with impressive creators like Jeph Loeb, Dan Slott, Dale Keown, and Ron Garney at the helm.
Finally, because levity is always welcome, Marvel will also release a one-shot in October entitled AvX: Babies, which features adorable li'l versions of the X-Men and Avengers fighting it out over something (probably playtime).