Now that more books are out and more of the lineup is being revealed, letting us know what's in store, we're in a better position to understand Marvel NOW! This week was a big one as All-New X-Men hit the stands with Fantastic Four, Thor: God of Thunder and the possibly underrated X-Men Legacy. The two X-books are important. and I might talk a little about the books as we go along, but the reason why is because, before today, I had no idea what on Earth Marvel's Merry Mutants were going to be doing. We knew the school was intact, but ... that was it? What about this semi-villain team that Scott's in? He seems to want mutant unity, but has he crossed the line into superiority? Is he just the bad guy now or are we getting two "social justice" stories, two ways of handling the issue of being hated and feared? We may not have gotten all the answers, but there's a lot more to go on than what we had by the end of AvX: Consequences.
We're going to be waist deep in Marvel NOW! by the end of the month, so the questions about the new landscape can be more specific instead of just "Wait and see the first issue!" Looking at the solicitations, we start to put what we're seeing this month with what will be happening three months from now and, like focusing a telescope, stories and characters are becoming more clear.
Despite being in a better position, there's still going to be a lot of questions and some I'd even like ot pose to you, Dear Reader, as we take a stroll through February 2013 and see what Marvel will be putting to the printed page. Let's take a look!
First off the bat, let's talk about Uncanny X-Men #1, from Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachelo. From the solicitation:
The true flagship book of the X-Men returns. In the wake of the Phoenix, the world has changed and is torn on exactly what Cyclops and his team of X-Men are – visionary revolutionaries or dangerous terrorists? Whatever the truth, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magneto, and Magik are out in the world gathering up new mutants and redefining the name Uncanny X-Men.
This will be the X-Tinction Squad from Utopia minus Namor, going out and gathering mutants. Now, what they would do with these mutants, I don't know; does anyone remember what the Brotherhood of Mutants did besides provide the X-Men a direct nemesis? This week gave us a much better picture of the mutant scene, and Uncanny X-Men seems like the proactive book that Uncanny X-Force was, but (hopefully) without the blatant murder.
But to call it the flagship? That means that this is the must-read book, with all the information you need to understand the other mutant titles. Personally, I would rather introduce new readers to the X-Folks with something like Wolverine & the X-Men, an ensemble piece that has the basic premise that the X-Men have had for years, but that's me. However, out of the X-Groups we got, these guys seem the most unique so their own active title makes sense. It's exciting and different, I'm just not sure it's flagship material.
Speaking of Wolverine & the X-Men, February will release Wolverine & the X-Men #25 into our hot little hands as well as return "Dog" from the Origin series to take a new seat as "the biggest new X-Villain in years." I'm curious to see why Dog would hate all of the X-Men rather than have a more personal vendetta against Wolverine; then again, Wolverine really isn't the same Wolverine we've come to know and love. No longer a lone wolf settling past debts and getting into fights, he's the headmaster of a school maybe teaching kids better than his own wayward youth. Sabretooth is normally the best foil for the idea that Logan's gone soft, Victor Creed reveling in being a berserker animal while Wolverine's just trying to get his act together, but there's a new guy in town who might take that spot.
More new guys are in town in Nova #1 as we'll finally be meeting the new Nova with Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness. From the solicitation:
... Sam Alexander is a kid bound by the gravity of a small town and a father whose ridiculous, drunken fairy tales about a “Nova Corps” were just another heavy burden in a life full of them. But luckily for Sam Alexander…soon gravity won’t even matter. And those troubles? It’s like they’re a billion miles away.
"Ridiculous, drunken fairy tales of a Nova Corps"?? There was some overtones that this Sam Johnson wasn't from 'our universe', which begs the question, if the Nova Corps is a galactic position with members all over the galaxy, does that include other realities? Is there a new Worldmind, too? How do the Ryders, Richard's parents, even handle a situation like this!? Mind you, I haven't really met this Sam Johnson (outside of the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon) but I find his situation more fascinating than the character it'll be centered around.
In other galactic news, Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1 will be a prologue to the new book by Brian Michael Bendis and Steve McNiven and will introduce new readers to Star Lord: who he is, how he got the job and why he leads the Guardians. Very important to the all new, most likely all different take on the Guards than versions past, but ... which Star Lord will we be meeting? Peter Quill? The original or perhaps a new, 'updated' version? I do not know if this Star Lord is the one we feel in love with during Annihilation, but if it isn't, it would make sense that we would need an introduction to someone new. I mean, the Cancerverse shouldn't have an easy escape route just so you could be in a movie. We got a new Nova, why not a new Star Lord?
More new characters are cropping up in Avengers books, a new Smasher in Avengers #5 as Earth's Mightiest Heroes will be helping out the elite Shi'ar guard out of a new disaster. Smasher, an Earth woman on the Guard, will be joining the Avengers where hopefully she'll consider a name change. In the next issue, Avengers #6, Jonathan Hickman will be introducing us to a new Captain Universe. If I can infer from this info, I think Smasher's new name change won't be half bad. New Avengers #3 will also have a new member as someone will be joining the Illuminati, but it's not a guarantee that someone will be leaving the group. Iron Man's in space (but local space, so I suppose a commute is OK) but Richards just Magic School Bus'd his way out of this dimension (possibly). Perhaps one of them will be exiting to make room for a new member.
Secret Avengers #1 debuts as an Avengers strike force led by New Fury and hosting a variety of super-spy elites like Hawkeye, the Winder Soldier, Black Widow and recent S.H.I.E.L.D. employee, the Hulk. While they will be going on "missions so dangerous, even the team members themselves can’t know about them," I don't think calling the book "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." would have hurt sales all that much, do you?
And this is just a light rundown of the Avengers and the X-Men! Do you have any ideas or clues to the new Marvel NOW! when it's less then and more to come? Take a look at the whole list of books coming out February 2013 and tell us what you're looking forward to in the new year and the new NOW!