Home Culture Commentary Deep, Rewarding Analysis of the Marvel 'Reboot'

Deep, Rewarding Analysis of the Marvel 'Reboot'


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.

Uncanny Avengers

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.

All-New X-Men

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!

  1. Stop embarrassing yourself, Dan Slott! It’s a soft reboot of titles that have been rebooted/relaunched/re-evolved countless times in the last few years.

    More importantly, it’s nothing but an excuse to flood the market with #1s at $3.99 a pop.

  2. While the Uncanny title seems intersting and can’t wait to see the Hickman Avengers, the X title is a big ‘UGH’. With so much redundancy in the the X titles already, do we really need ANOTHER Cyclops, Beast, Iceman, and Angel running around, along with a time-displaced Jean Grey?

    The answer is no.

  3. Thanks for putting “reboot” in quotes. Much better w/ irony thrown in. :-)

    Rick, it’s not a reboot. Unlike the New 52 with Flashpoint, these stories move forward from everything that happened all the months leading up to AVX and AVX as well.

    There is a difference.

  4. With all due nerd respect, Angel is not dead and Dazzler is on Utopia.

    This looks AWESOME. I don’t have to pretend like my childhood didn’t happen, the pot looks completely stirred as far as possible new storylines go, and JOHN CASSADAY IS ON A MONTHLY AGAIN. And I don’t have to relive the ’90s! Plus, short films?!?! All we need now is a revamped M.M.M.S.

  5. Yikes! I think I prefer the New52 reboot where everything starts from scratch than a Marvel type reboot which seems to just be a relaunch of the main titles (yet again) but with a screwy mix of the old and new continuity…..I might give it a try but I have a feeling everything will be screwed up in a year from now.

    Please Marvel dont screwup the avengers! It is the only titles (Secret, avengers and New) I buy anymore along with Spider-man, Red Hulk and Iron Man….. – :(

    You dont need to run the Avengers into the movie/hydrid left over of the AvX series. Forget the box office, think of the real comic fanboys.

    Try something different, the reboot has been done already. I am sure you can come up with something exciting like Civil War was. Oh well, I may buy #1 and see…but not too optimistic.

  6. >> do we really need ANOTHER Cyclops, Beast, Iceman, and Angel running around, along with a time-displaced Jean Grey? >>

    It’s entertainment. We don’t actually “need” any given specific thing in entertainment.

    But the original 5 X-Men, together as a group? I’ll check that out any time. Love those guys.


  7. Naveed,
    I assure you, EVERY title will be an accessible jumping on point. The only difference here– longtime readers aren’t penalized for knowing what’s lead up to everything.

  8. Isn’t Marvel doing more damage by having this re-boo..uh.. I mean Relaunch come out as Bi-weekly? I mean… they are flooding the market and the shelf space of local comic shops. Then with the $3.99 price point, they really are forcing intereted parties to choose which Marvel titles they will pick up. Its really insane.

  9. There’s a problem with avoiding formal reboots because they’re thought to be bad, and using retcons and sacrificing continuity for the sake of a good story. Continuity is what enables a writer to claim that he’s “building” on other writers’ work–specifically, to say, “Yes, that was ____ hero, and my story develops the aspect of his abiding love for Nancy that ______ had just started to develop before he left.” A retcon that changes ___’s hero for the sake of a particular storyline doesn’t build on anything, and a retcon that sees print for the sake of enabling a storyline–written solely for the purpose of violating continuity–is much worse than a story that honors continuity for the sake of aesthetics.

    Honoring continuity is good and admirable, or it’s stupid. A writer can’t flip back and forth depending on the circumstances.


  10. Who told you Pixie is “their most bankable and amazing character”? For me she’s just a boring Tinkle Bell’s version of Magik that could die and be forgotten at any moment. Really, why does Marvel keep hooking on useless characters like Pixie or that girl with fire and ice hands fron Generation (eeek) Hope whose name I can’t even remember when they have Kitty Pride or even the so hated (not by me) Jubilee to work with?

  11. Let’s face it, all of these monthlies are going to be at the $3.99 price tag with no NEW material.

    That is the only thing I have to state anything good about DC for a $3.99 price tag.

  12. You are mixing info from Uncanny Avengers with the Hickman Avengers book. It’s the Hickman book that will have 18 or so members.

    And the artwork is just a promo shot for the relaunch, not the lineup of either book.

  13. I just hope Dan Slott is off of the Spider-Man books. The title has just gotten so bad since One More Day/Brand New Day/Big Time (not that I want a return of JMS or Defalco or even Howard Mackie)

    Sales are back to where they were three years ago also, so Slott has that going against him as well.

  14. Hickman + Cosmic + Avengers = first issue bought by me. It’s a simple equation, really. (Though I wish he wasn’t leaving the Fantastic Four/FF…and where’s that S.H.I.E.L.D. wrap-up? Did I somehow miss it?)

  15. After One More Day, I cursed Spidey and stopped buying Amazing for the first time in a decade.

    Dan Slott brought me back. How do you make a decades-old character interesting? Read Spidey.

    But ripping a dude on the INTERNET on his BIRTHDAY? come on, man! where is the comics love?

    “Warren” may have lost his memory but he’s still flying around.

  16. These three books fall under the “Marvel Now” thing, right? So will Marvel make it clear that the two new Avengers books here are proper accessible ‘for brand new readers’? Will their branding be clear as the sun that *this* is for them?

    I’m confused – because don’t Marvel publish 5 Avengers books at the moment? And since the Marvel Now books operate in the same universe as the non-Marvel Now books, won’t that be confusing?

    Dan Slott says “ EVERY title will be an accessible jumping on point“ – but he only means the Marvel Now books, right?

    And how is the new X-Men book accessible? It sounds like a bad fanservice mash-up. Why can’t the X-Men concept go back to how it was?

    Sorry that my post has consisted mainly of questions. :)

  17. So, wait a second. Havok is a “fair-to-middling homophobe” because he wondered what his grandfather would think of a gay marriage? seems harsh to me.
    I know what my grandfather would have thought about it. Cursing and the Old Testament would come up a lot.

  18. And don’t crap on a man’s comic on his birthday. I’s just impolite. Wait until tomorrow, when its your patriotic duty to drink too much and spout off about whatever you’d like until you lose a finger. thats freedom baby!

  19. Havok, Puck and Warbird all got totally thrown under the bus in the Northstar wedding issue, and Mike Perkins’ art was creepy as hell. So much potential for a great story, but it really didn’t turn out well at all.

  20. All I have to say is . . . wow.

    And not “wow” in an enthusiastic, ‘this is awesome’ way.

    Uncanny Avengers is just too crass a marketing ploy. I like Rememender and Cassady but the last thing Marvel needs is a huge, ill-defined strikeforce of diseperate characters. At this point they might as well just put out a book called Marvel Force starring everybody.

    I like the idea behind All-New X-Men: bring incarnations of characters from the past into the present and as they learn about the current state of the Marvel Universe, so does the reader.

    Well, I like the aspect of explaining the Marvel Universe, anyway: it would’ve been just as interesting with a group of new characters who are trying to get established in the superhero community and need mentoring and backstories of their allies and enemies filled in. Going to guess that Jean and Scott will end up staying in the present (they’re from the past but probably from an alternate timeline, so if some of them don’t return, it won’t magically alter the present of 616) and something bad will happen to the ‘current’ Scott post A vs. X, so kid Scott will become the only Cyclops. And having Jean around means we can drag out and dust off the Phoenix again down the line.

    I don’t mind Bendis on an X-book, but this sounds too gimmicky.

    Avengers with Hickman will definitely get a shot from me, but I can’t say I’m much for a pure cosmic angle. The great thing about the Avengers is they don’t have a clear-cut motif, so stories can be cosmic, or more earthbound and contemporary. There should be a mix of the two — personally I’ve never been able to get into pure cosmic superhero stuff as it always comes across as Z-grade sci-fi, what you’d get by teaming up Stan Lee with George Lucas or Gene Roddenberry. When you juxtapose the cosmic with characters who clearly aren’t from that millieu, then it gets interesting, but when the whole cast looks like Mos Eisley rejects, I’m out. If I want all aliens, all in space all the time, I’d read Star Wars comics.

    I was really exited about the impending mass creative shuffle and a chance to see new names on familiar books, but much less so now.( Or is that Now with a capital ‘N’.)It seems that there’s more of an editorial mandate here of having some marketing driven hook than a chance to see what the talent can do by playing musical chairs and switching books. It’s not as cheap of a marketing ploy as DC scrambling to the reset button and nuking continuity on a semi-regular basis, but it’s not heartening, either. No offense, guys, you’re the industry leader, so lead — let 2nd place resort to constant gimmicks and stunts to try to overtake you.

    I understand the desire to increase readership but and I can even live with the renumbering / relaunches, but what I don’t get is if you have creators who are so talented as to sign them to restrictive or exclusive deals to keep them out of other publishers’ talent pools, why not emphasize that as a selling point? You have legendary characters, you have top-notch talent, and you have the two in varying combinations we haven’t seen before.

    There should be no need to have to tie that in to some mass across-the-board branding concept, marketing should be able to work with that — if they can’t increase sales, fire them and hire someone more competent that’s up to the task. Don’t punish your loyal readership with gimmickry, just make good damn comics.

  21. I’d like to check these out for pure love of Marvel characters but I’m an old school guy who was raised on Byrne, Claremont, Stern, Miller, Wolfman, Shooter, Simonson, Perez, etc… I’m not a fan of the majority of things that Marvel did in the 90’s outside of Thunderbolts and Heroes for Hire and after many years I find that I don’t really care for the Quesada/Bendis Marvel. I’m hoping that this relaunch is truly a fresh move that will bring me back to Marvel fold beyond the 3 titles I buy now. The Joe Q artwork doesn’t do much for me with this relaunch but his artwork has never done anything for me period so I put on the rose colored glasses and wait…

  22. Marvel is making a big mistake … to quote “Do or Do Not, there is no try!”.

    Marvel has never had a problem taking DCs ideas, why start now?

    Do a reboot like DC did. They don’t deny the past stories (for long time readers) but the new stories don’t depend on anything that came before issue #1 (for the new readers).

    If all Marvel does is start a bunch of new titles that continue old stories it will fail.

    As things stand, you can’t follow any Marvel title unless you’ve been reading since “Civil War” because everything in Marvel is just a continuation of that story.

    BTW – Civil War was a cr@p story which tainted everything that followed.

    Realy, a civil war over a proposal that only became a law because of the “Civil War”.

    Why didn’t Captain America just get together with Daredevil and fight this in court and why has no “Avenger” taken Tony Stark to task for being a terrorist. He paid villains to cause destruction and chaos which led to injury and death in order to promote his own agenda … that’s a terrorist.

  23. As far as Civil War goes..if continuity counts Reed Richards already handled superhero registration during Walt Simonson’s run of the Fantastic Four. Mark Millar told his story and used Marvel characters to tell it. He didn’t tell a Marvel story.

  24. Naveed,
    I assure you, EVERY title will be an accessible jumping on point. The only difference here– longtime readers aren’t penalized for knowing what’s lead up to everything.


    But will every issue afterwards be a jumping on point? Remember the old adage “every issue is someone’s first issue”.

  25. I’m open-minded about this series of relaunches, and I hope one of the concepts and its creative team gets me excited enough to pick it up.

    If Mark Waid is going to be writing an Avengers title, for instance, and they give him an art team of the stature of his Daredevil team, for instance, well, I would buy that. For instance.

  26. Naveed said “Forget the box office, think of the real comic fanboys.”

    Whether they forget the box office or not, we’re going to end up with safe, mediocre stuff that’s bland like DC’S new logo.

    Brad said “Dan Slott brought me back. How do you make a decades-old character interesting? Read Spidey.”

    Or cut and paste what was done before. Slott is in many cases doing convoluted re-makes of stories done in the 1970s and the 1980s.He had one interesting artist on Spidey, Humberto Ramos, and that guy is practically off the book.

    Adam said “If Mark Waid is going to be writing an Avengers title, for instance, and they give him an art team of the stature of his Daredevil team, for instance, well, I would buy that. For instance”

    If you’re expecting the Daredevil relaunch miracle he produced, to repeat itself, that will never happen. Marvel has an editorial philosphy to prevent that from happenING with major franchise characters. It’s very very hard for Marvel or DC to keep talented creators happy and to keep readers interested without gimmicks. Ultimate Comics had a good run, mostly, I think because it had consistent writing and art, but now’s it’s succumbing to gimmicks to stay afloat. An affirmative action Spider-Man is not a form of diversity. It’s using diversity as a gimmick to sell a comic to a group of predominately white Caucasian men who have little interest in non-white Caucasian characters–because they can’t identify with non-Caucasians. The bump in sales comes from the “controversy.”

  27. Why is marvel cancelling its top selling monthly title? Uncanny outsells both avengers & wolverine and the xmen. Marvel should take thd lackluster showing of reboot spiderman as a warning. I would stop collecting marvel altogether if the original xmen werent my favorites. As for cyclops doing something bad i would say taking over the world after becoming the phoenix was bad. I am guessing new cyke will be joining cable in xmen (v4) and create his own mutant strikeforce. I cant wait to see what is the fate of the phoenix 5. Of course hope will be gone. As for pixie, i am sure she will stay in xmen (v4) or else join wolvies school.

  28. “ANGRY BLACK???”


    What is this? Stereotype hour from the 1970’s?

    That’s the very reason why Marvel and comics in general needs more diversity in it’s main characters.

    The comics and their audience needs to grow up.

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