Last night we showed you Marvel’s new “puzzle style” promo for their Fall event. Given the powers of crowd sourcing on the internet, we figured it’d be put together long before we went to sleep, but, shockingly, when we turned in at 3:30 am, Reddit was still chugging along. That’s more than 12 hours to put together a simple jigsaw puzzle. Either this puzzle was too hard for the comics internet or NO ONE REALLY CARED. Sad.
However, Marvel wisely foresaw this and released the whole image in an article at Fast Company that, we’re told, takes only 8 minutes to read. In it Alonso reveals just what is going on a little:
“This is not an event. It’s the status quo of the Marvel Universe in the aftermath of the war,” Axel Alonso—Marvel’s editor-in-chief—explains to Co.Create. He says of the teaser image, which premieres above, that the goal isn’t so much to offer a statement about the specific stories to be told—the side on the right isn’t getting ready to fight the side on the left this fall—but rather, to suggest who’s going to be relevant after the current company-wide crossover is done. “It’s a glimpse as to whom we can point to in the coming year, with just enough ‘What the heck’s going on there’ spots to get people speculating. ‘There’s no Tony Stark in that picture, but who’s that guy holding the helmet? Is that Doctor Doom?’ ‘The young girl in the gray armor looks a lot like the new War Machine . . .'”
While the sides aren’t fighting, there is a little Boomer/Gen X vs millenniel vibe: On one side we have the mostly white legacy character of the Marvel U, though in updated looks, as with the newly reconstructed Dr. Doom–the guy in the suit holding the Iron Man helmet–in front on the left. Other characters on the left side include Black Panther, Steve Rogers, Jessica Jones, Elektra, Punisher, Gamora, Cable, Odinson aka the original Thor and Captain Marvel, as well as Fin Fang Foom and more obscure character Slapstick and Foolkiller.
On the right are the newer characters, led by Riri, widely rumored to be the new War Machine and Mosaic, the new Inhuman, Gwenpool, Squirrel Girl, Moon Girl, the new Wasp, Mile Morales, Ms. Marvel, Amadeus Cho Hulk, Ms. America, the Prowler and to offer the guidance only graying temples provide, Doctor Strange,
It seems that all of these character will be prominent in the world of Marvel Now.
“They’re all there because they matter,” Alonso says. “They’ll either be in a solo series, or they’ll be a key member of a team, or they’ll do something that you will be talking about in a Marvel book that will bring them into a position of prominence. They’re there for a reason. Including that big, big, big what appears to be a Godzilla foot.
There is a feeling of evolution in this image, as Kieran Shiach expresses at Comics Alliance:
It feels like Marvel isn’t just drawing a line in the sand between its heroes, as it has been doing for over ten years now; it’s actively drawing a line in the sand between two prominent divisions of comics fandom. The first grouping of characters is overwhelmingly (but not completely) white and has at least three characters who kill people with big guns. The second grouping of characters are lot younger, more diverse, and feature characters such as Squirrel Girl, Gwenpool and Moon Girl whose books offer a lighter approach to superhero stories. Mike Deodato’s “house style” does wonders for the likes of Cable and Odinson, but it notably struggles to capture the fun exuberance of characters like Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel.
Also notably missing from the piece: Iron Man, Sam Wilson Cap, Black Widow — and of course Deadpool and the X-Men and the Fantastic Four — the latter three are all controlled by other film studios so don’t look for them to be making much of a comeback in the new Marvel U.
Looks like Marvel will be doing a New 52 type relaunch with new titles for many of these characters. To an observer, it’s pretty fresh. Let’s hope the creative teams when announced have the same level of freshness and diversity.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.