By Todd Allen
Axel Alonso and Tom Brevoort gave a fairly wide-reaching interview to Comic Book Resources on the topic of the “Marvel Now” relaunch. It jumps around a bit, but does get some more information out into the public and comes straight from the horses mouth. Let’s parse it a little.
The price of Marvel’s comics will also be unaffected by the Marvel NOW! initiative “My understanding is that price points will remain what they are,” Alonso said. “There shouldn’t be any unpleasant surprises on that front.”
So it looks like the $3.99 books and $2.99 books will stay the same. So much for the whispered hopes that Marvel would take advantage of relaunch publicity to lower everything back to $2.99. I would guess that Uncanny Avengers will be a $3.99 title. Other launches? Time will tell.
There’s a great deal of time spent talking about AVX as the end of a cycle that started with Avengers Disassembled and House of M. Or, to put it another way, the Bendis Avengers Era. And a lot of the cross-over material, particularly Secret Invasion, was Bendis-driven in that time period. They also talk about Uncanny Avengers being a natural outgrowth of AVX and wanting to put the X-Men more firmly in the Marvel universe.
My reading on that is they’re going to make a concerted effort to move as many of the roughly 175K AVX readers into Uncanny Avengers as the first act post-cross-over. There is probably a discussion to be had about whether the X-Men are better off in their own corner of the world or out in the open. It seems like there have been different philosophies on this over the years. Certainly, the X-Men have had periods where their cross-overs were within their own titles.
Not everything is getting relaunched.
A large number of titles will be part of the Marvel NOW! initiative, but that doesn’t mean that every book Marvel publishes will be restarted with a new #1 issue. “Anything that has a story hook tied into this initiative will be branded Marvel NOW!” Alonso explained. “So there will be a lot of new #1 issues including ‘Thor’ #1, an ‘Iron Man’ #1, and a ‘Captain America’ #1, but there might be some other titles, like ‘Daredevil’ for instance, which won’t go through a creative change or have a new #1. Mark Waid is doing a fantastic job on that book and his run is still very new. So we have no interest in interrupting that book. Of course, if Mark and Steve Wacker come up with a great hook that legitimizes things the book would become part of the Marvel NOW! line up.”
This also tells us that the relaunches _will_ be getting new #1 issues. Not to say Captain America didn’t just get relaunched. Good to hear Marvel’s best book, Daredevil, isn’t getting touched. Still, if ever there was a quality title that would benefit from a big publicity event, Daredevil would be it at Marvel. Such an under-appreciated series.
“‘Uncanny Avengers’ is a completely new series. Brian’s ‘All-New X-Men’ replaces or succeeds ‘Uncanny X-Men’ in the same way that ‘New Avengers’ succeeded ‘Avengers.’ And speaking of ‘Avengers,’ that book simply passed from Brian to Jonathan, and increases its frequency to twice-a-month,” Brevoort explained. “For the most part, there’ll be a one-to-one ratio with a lot of these titles, though there will be some other new entries launched as part of Marvel NOW! as well. And while one or two titles may be ending during this same period, that’s an unconnected phenomenon.”
This is interesting, in that it doesn’t say that Bendis is taking over all the X-Men titles, but that it paints All-New X-Men as the new X-flagship. I suppose time will tell if that’s intentional or not. On the other hand, the torch-passing from Bendis to Hickman is referenced. Not too much later, it’s announced that Hickman is joined by Steve Epting on New Avengers #1. Avengers is bi-weekly. New Avengers is monthly. So… that means we have 3 Avengers issues by Hickman each month. Plus Avengers Assemble. Plus Secret Avengers. Plus the Avengers/X hybrid of Uncanny Avengers. So, 5 or 6 Avengers issues each month? Presumably, the Hickman books are the core titles. Brevoort even says something to that effect at Marvel’s website:
I can tell you that NEW AVENGERS will be an absolutely essential sister title to AVENGERS, intrinsically linked to what’s going on in that book. Together, the two will function as Black and White, Day and Night, Life and Death.
Hickman’s Avengers: 3 issues/month, linked. So Avengers is functionally like Amazing Spider-Man was a couple years ago. But with more sister titles.
Of course, Marvel is doing more teasing than anything else at this point. As more information is released, things should be a bit more clear. The October solicitations ought to make for interesting reading.