By Steve Morris
With “Marvel Now!” revealing that Marvel are basically going to do everything related to a reboot apart from use the word “reboot”, three titles have been revealed to the media/leaked via some kind of strange tumblr stumble this week. They reveal that, once the reboot starts in a few months time, a new title will be revealed every week, with the characters you know and love all starting fresh… apart from the ones who were already in critically acclaimed titles who will start in pretty much the same position they were always in. Let’s take a hearty look into the three new books, you guys, so we can get to know them better.
John Cassaday has been pretty quiet for a few years now, with even his cover work slowing down recently. And so he has now been revealed as the artist on Uncanny Avengers, a flagship coup for Marvel. Cassaday’s name is connected to several well-regarded modern comic-book runs, including Planetary and the c’mon-admit-it-imploded-partway-through-guys Astonishing X-Men. Uncanny Avengers will see a massive cast of main characters show up together (a little like they do in the Ultimate Universe) with around 18 main characters by writer Rick Remender’s count. The main premise here is that we have a mix of Avengers and X-Men all working together. Wolverine will be in this team, which sadly squashes the hope most fans have had that the whiny traitor will get killed off at the end of Avengers Vs X-Men. Captain America also appears to be confirmed, with other rumours suggesting that Rogue and, bizarrely, Havok, will also show up on the team. While the current arc of X-Men Legacy has been explaining that Rogue is currently mind-controlled by Carol Danver, thus explaining why she’s joined a team with the enemy, Havok’s inclusion is strange.
Recently exposed as being a fair-to-middling homophobe by Marjorie Liu in Astonishing X-Men, Havok’s inclusion on the team seems likely to suggest that Cyclops is going to do something bad, pretty soon. Joining the Avengers to try and make up for some supposed mistake his brother made is classic Havok behaviour. He’s always been a fairly uninteresting character, who has yet to match his glory days during the Inferno event, when he wore a thong and inspired millions of young teenagers to naughty thoughts. Perhaps joining the Avengers will create some sort of spark. At the very least, he’s another blonde guy for Rick Remender have fun deconstructing.
Captain America is an obvious choice for the team, because he’s the main Avenger. It’s what he does. Of the characters not revealed to be on the team, it would surely be obvious to have Captain Marvel on there, to boost her up, as well as X-Men/Avengers crossover characters like Beast and Black Panther. They already have one foot in each side of the Marvel Universe, so why not? The first story sees them going to fight a new Red Skull, which is my mind suggests an evil Cyclops. In the promo cover for the reboot, Quesada makes it look like Scott Summers has had his eyes slashed across by Wolverine, and now fires lasers from all across his face. But this theory is entirely dependant upon my belief that it’s funny for Cyclops’s face to fire giant Xs at people.
This also looks likely to be the new home of Cable, who wears an eyepatch now.
Let’s get one thing clear, MacDonald! This is certainly NOT the real Jean Grey. Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen’s reboot of the X-Men sees the original five (actually original eight if you include Sage, Mimic and Shortpack AS ANY X-MEN ACADEMIC SHOULD) X-Men come from the past into the present, to hang around for a bit. As Angel and Jean are both dead in the main universe, this gives Marvel a chance to have the ‘real’ ones come back to life for a bit. Regular Iceman and past Iceman will also get to hang out, and wonder why they still have exactly the same personality and ambitions when there’s meant to be about a ten-year age gap between them.
Who will be on this team? Lord only knows. But if we’re basing this entirely on the X-Men Bendis is fondest of, then Emma Frost, Kitty Pryde and Dazzler would be likely to show up. Although Dazzler is in another dimension at the moment, so perhaps not her. The book may be the new flagship title of the X-Line, or may sit in a sphere similar to Astonishing X-Men’s ‘dancing between the raindrops of continuity’ style of influence. We really won’t be able to tell until Marvel finally tells fans if their demands for Kieron Gillen to never leave have been met, or whether he has moved on to music themed miniseries for Image once more. If Uncanny still exists, then All-New X-Men is not the flagship. If it’s gone, then this will be the book which dictates the line.
This book also leaves Brian Wood’s X-Men series in question. The title has seen consistently falling sales (well, it could hardly expect to pull in 100k every fortnight, but still) and reviews haven’t been good. Since Wood took over two issues ago, the reception has improved dramatically. But is he telling an ongoing story, or is he telling a miniseries? And here’s another question: when Bendis finishes telling this first story, will he stay in the present or follow the original X-Men back in time?
Finally —- the question everybody will be asking right now is: where’s Pixie? And sure enough, Marvel are keeping their most bankable and amazing character shrouded in mystery for the time being. Where will she show up? Thousands are dying to know!
It’s very hard to know what Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opena are planning here. It seems likely that angry black boss Nick Fury Jr will be in charge of this team, but are we going to see something grandstanding, something simple? Will the cast be the cast of the movie, or made up of people from all over the Marvel Universe? Hulk is wearing armour, and Iron Man has also had a redesign – classic signs that Hickman is coming onto a title. But, of the three, this is by far the most mysterious, enigmatic, and ultimately interesting.
We have a main X-Men book, a main Avengers book, and now an amalgam title. But until we see the supporting titles, it’s going to be hard to tell how Marvel’s universe is going to reshape. Can Bendis match the high sales of Kieron Gillen’s Uncanny X-Men? Will Jonathan Hickman main Avengers team be joined by a street-level ‘New Avengers’ team? And where the sod is Pixie?!
So many questions. San Diego it is, then!