Thursday, October 11, 2012

Chain of Thoughts on Marvel NOW!

This October, Marvel NOW! starts.  It’s a relaunching of Marvel Comics’ titles on the main continuity (Earth-616) which would start all of them with #1.  This is however different from DC Comics’ New 52, where DC totally rebooted its universe.  Marvel made it clear that Marvel NOW! is not a reboot.  But, there would definitely be significant changes that would create new status quos in the Marvel Universe (Earth-616).  So I read as much articles I could that contained information and teasers of what lies ahead of Marvel NOW!.  There are some details that look mindblowingly refreshing.  And there are some that I don’t like at face value.  Here are my thoughts:

→ The results of the Avengers vs. X-Men event directly contributed to the shifting of the Marvel Universe (Earth-616) that will be brought by Marvel NOW!.  But Marvel also admits that  bringing those who got hooked by the Marvel Cinematic Universe to read the comicbooks is another reason.  That’s why familiar details from the MCU are being integrated to the comics.  Example, Hulk is back in the Avengers line-up.  And I like this.  Check out the cover of Avengers Assemble #1 which has the same roster as that of the movie, Marvel is making the connections as apparent as they can…
What I don’t like, however, is the implication of Nick Fury, Jr. (Marcus Johnson, and son of Nick Fury) – who is an African American – replacing the original Nick Fury  who happens to be white – to be the main Nick Fury-figure in the Marvel Universe (Earth-616); so that when the name “Nick Fury” is mentioned, it would refer now to the black one, so that new readers won’t be confused. Really? This is ridiculous.  It’s forcing too much connection.  Take note that the Samuel L. Jackson-style Nick Fury, as well several elements of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, was originally from the Ultimate Universe (Earth-1610) anyway.  Don’t tell me that the other Ultimate elements adopted by the MCU will then be eventually adopted by the main Marvel Universe for the sake of “making connections”?  Forcing too much connection is stupid.

→ There’s going to be an Uncanny Avengers team made up of X-Men and Avengers members that would deal with threats against mutantkind.  There’s also going to be an A+X series which is a throwback to the AvX: Vs. series during Avengers vs. X-Men, but this time around, an Avenger and an X-Man are now working together instead of fighting with each other.  I dig these.         

→ The aftermath of Avengers vs. X-Men brought the mutant gene back.  Meaning, there are ample amount of mutants again!  This is cool.  I also like that due to the actions of the X-Men – especially the Phoenix Five’s – during Avengers vs. X-Men, the X-Men are wanted outlaws and outcasts again.  This is also cool, because this is consistent with the X-Men’s theme – “to protect a world that hates and fear them.”     

→ There’s going to be a new X-Force team, and Cable is back as the leader.  This makes me so excited.  I wonder if this X-Force team would remain as the X-Men’s black ops arm, or will it become an independent X team once again.  But the latter is more likely, since based on what I read, they would be labeled as “terrorists” by the world, and the Uncanny Avengers are out to bring them in.  Very, very interesting.        

→ I wonder if Magneto will return to being a villain?  Well, I hope not.  He’s better as a good guy and as an X-Man so I prefer that he returns to an X-team.  And what of Emma Frost, will she remain as Cyclops’ gal?  On the other hand, Namor, however, seems to be returning as an Avenger.  Hoping he would take the Beast/Wolverine/Storm-route, that of being a simultaneous Avenger and X-Man. 

→ So, we’ll also see Marvel NOW! bringing the original five X-Men to the present via time travel.  I’m mostly apathetic with this one.  But I admit, it’s going to be interesting to see how the past Cyclops would react when he learns of the actions of his adult self during Avengers vs. X-Men.  Will he be proud or ashamed?  Also, what will past Jean Grey’s reaction be when she learns her adult self is dead?      

→ If I’m right, from what I get from this art, there will be three X-Men teams independent from each other. Cyclops’ faction, Wolverine’s faction, and the time-travelling original X-Men.     

→ Hulk will have a group of scientists working around him (and it appears that they have attached some gadgets to the Hulk that, I guess, are there to monitor him), as well as Maria Hill, who I assume is going to be his handler.  This suggests that the Hulk will no longer be independent, thus a threat, but would be regulated and monitored making him a well-controlled weapon for the side of good.  Again, I’m apathetic with this one.  But I love the fact that he’s back as an Avenger. 

→ At last, an Avengers line-up will finally feature arguably Marvel’s six most iconic superheroes – Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man – for the first time.  And this makes me excited.  I’m just confused on how many Avengers there will be in the main team (there’s also going to be a New Avengers team that would feature a different line-up than the main team).  Some articles mention of 18 Avengers, while others 24.  The Avengers will also have new memberships in Cannonball and Sunspot.

→ Thunderbolts will now be led by the Red Hulk.  Oh, I get it... Thunderbolts, General “Thunderbolt” Ross.  Clever.  The new Thunderbolts line-up will consist of Red Hulk, Venom, Deadpool, the Punisher, and Elektra.  That’s one badass team!  But would happen to the Thunderbolts roster that they would replace?  Also, does this mean that Red Hulk and Venom are gone from the Avengers?  Well, if so, this sucks!        

→ Now, this is what’s worrying me most about Marvel NOW.  The iconic “amazing” adjective for Spider-Man is going to be replaced by “superior”.  It is mentioned that Spider-Man is going to be more powerful, even more so than what he was during The Other storyline’s aftermath.  I’m cool with that.  What makes me worried is that there are rumors that Peter Parker will no longer be Spider-Man, that he’s going to die or retire in the last Amazing Spider-Man (issue 700).  NOOOOOO!  This is going to suck more than Brand New Day.  I really, really, REALLY, hope that Peter will remain as Spider-Man.   Moreover, it was also suggested that even if it’s still Pete donning the Spidey mask, the happening in Amazing Spider-Man #700 will make him more ruthless and humorless, diverting from the usual Spidey demeanor.  Really?  That already has been done during the 90’s when he started identifying himself as “The Spider” and recently with “Back in Black”.  (Sigh)  It’s not going to be Spider-Man if he’s not going to be the wisecracking, happy-go-lucky hero we love.  If you want a ruthless Spider-Man, well there’s Scarlet Spider (Kaine) already, right?!  Spider-Man is the character I cared about most, and any goodwill and awesomeness that Marvel NOW! will bring to the Marvel Universe overall will be destroyed if they screw up the Spidey property.   

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