The All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe

So Marvel released its Free Preview this week for what's to come after Secret Wars. No stories, just promo pin-ups with creative team names and a slogan for each proposed series. What does it tell us?

1. That the new line of books is very much capitalizing on the work done by Marvel Studios. This makes sense. You want that synergy, even if it hasn't historically paid off as far as bringing new consumers to the medium.
2. That while Secret Wars is offering "Elseworlds" type stories, many of them are pilots for series that will appear in the new MU.
3. That shot across Fox's bow is there, certainly in the absence of a Fantastic Four title (heresy to most Marvel fans), but it's unclear how the X-Men property will be repositioned exactly.
4. That they're really pushing the Inhumans. Ugh.
And 5. That while the MU will return as a multiverse (I've read that Spider-Gwen will still be set on a parallel Earth, though she'll cross over more readily with the standard MU), characters from other universes - namely the Ultimate and Squadron Supreme Earths - will be integrated wholesale into  the main timeline.

Some specifics...
From this line-up of Avengers, it seems the female Thor is here to stay, a decision I endorse completely. Falcon is still Captain America. Miles Morales is a Spider-Man. Ms. Marvel's role in the MU becomes more prominent. And Vision, fresh off Avengers 2, is given a bit of a boost as well. Waid and Kubert on this, so it's likely to be the best Avengers title. I'm not sure what to think about Uncanny Avengers, for example:
That is such a hodgepodge of characters! Spider-Man, Quicksilver, Steve Rogers, Deadpool, Brother Voodoo(?), Psylocke(?), the Human Torch, and Rogue? There's also a New Avengers, which features a some Young Avengers and Hawkeye working as the new A.I.M., and Ultimates, which is Avengers in all but name, with Black Panther, Miss America, Monica Rambeau, Captain Marvel and a guy I don't recognize, all held in Galactus' hand. The slogan "Ultimate problems need Ultimate solutions" seems to want to make this an Authority-type book, though there's also a Squadron Supreme title which likely has that premise. The other Avengers book is A-Force, which is just like the Secret Wars book in that it features an all-female, possibly rotating, cast very similar (She-Hulk, Medusa, Captain Marvel...) to the current mini-series.
May I express relief that Wilson's Ms. Marvel is still part of the Marvel's line-up? I thought the Last Days banner on some of Marvel's titles right now would mean those series would be gone come October. They mostly are, but not Kamala Khan. Good news. Other characters with their own solo series include Iron Man (duh), Dr. Strange (finally!), Captain Marvel (evoking the feel of her Secret Wars mini), Captain America (Sam Wilson), Hulk (with a new identity that corresponds to the epithet "Totally Awesome"; he has a trendy "faux-hawk"... I don't know about this), Thor (the current version), Scarlet Witch (fresh off Avengers 2), Hawkeye (by Jeff Lemire, and it features Kate as well as Clint), Ant-Man (obviously), the Vision (really raising his profile), Howard the Duck continues (yes!), Angela (who replaces Hel in the Norse underworld somehow), and Daredevil (fresh off Netflix; Charles Soule writes good lawyer stuff at least).
The Spider-Verse will have several books as well, and that's where the Marvel Multiverse seems to see the most play, if the slogan is to be believed. I doubt Spider-Ham (not to mention the international and Noir Spider-Men) make sense on a single Earth. Dan Slott is still writing Amazing Spidey, who seems to go international from the add, but Slott has done very well by changing the statu quo every so often. I trust him. Carnage gets a book (by Gerry Conway?!), but I'm not interested. Spider-Woman is back and pregnant; should stay interesting. As previously mentioned, Spider-Gwen is back too, and so is Silk, so they're not interrupting those books which just started. Spider-Man 2099 continues as well, with a new costume. And surprise! Miles Morales has a book too, and it's simply called "Spider-Man". I guess with all those other Spider-Men crawling about, there's no reason to change his name. Good.
In the cosmic stuff, I'm most intrigued by the promise of turning the Nova concept into a family. That's what they've done in the Secret Wars Nova book (Infinity Gauntlet), though I'd much prefer the mother-daughter-father-dog team that book features. Here it just looks like older-younger Novae. Guardians of the Galaxy is back, of  course, with Ben Grimm and Venom (presumably Flash Thompson) joining. And is that a female Star-Lord in the art? Drax gets his own series, as does Peter Quill, Star-Lord, but Rocket or Groot who have series now? (Or is the latter's just a mini-series?) Venom gets a cosmic series too, called "Venom: Spaceknight" which in no way will pacify Rom fans.
SHIELD needs to be catered to, of course. A Howling Commandos series that takes a page from DC's Creature Commandos is an unexpected, but delightful, surprise however. Where's Elsa Bloodstone though? The other book in the line is Agents of SHIELD, which features Agent Coulson quite clearly, but who knows if it'll be more like the TV series or like the comic?
As for the Inhumans, not only do they get members in various Avengers teams, but they get their own series "Uncanny Inhumans" (if you didn't know they were replacing the X-Men yet), and Karnak gets his own series by Warren Ellis. That should be interesting and last not very long.
There are still mutant-led books, but only 6 (that's downsized, isn't it?). One of these is a Deadpool book. Two are Wolverine books - as you can see, X-23 appears to be the new Wolverine (no problem with that), while Logan returns as "Old Man Logan", currently appearing in Secret Wars. Is he a survivor from a dead Earth, or has Wolverine's death in mainstream continuity returned him to life showing his age? He appears to be a member of the Extraordinary X-Men along with several well-known mutants, but his own series' cover shows him in 616 New York, so... ARE the X-Men really going to another planet? The other previews don't say. Uncanny X-Men seems to be about the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, while All-New X-Men features the young classic X-Men (the ones lost in time?). Nothing here seems to corroborate this story.
The books I didn't mention include Illuminati - is that supposed to be the name of the crimson vigilante on the cover, the group down below which seems to include the Absorbing Man, or the Illuminati that's been running the show over the last decade? - and Contest of Champions, which features Maestro, another possible survivor from a dead Earth? A lot of questions, and the answers are still a few months off.

What's missing? The Silver Surfer, Loki, Secret Avengers, Ghost Rider, Storm, Superior Foes of Spider-Man, Squirrel Girl (noooooooooooooo), Moon Knight, Guardians 3000, Black Widow (she's absolutely NOWHERE) and Punisher are all gone (among others). I'll miss most of those, though it's possible the previews don't tell us everything. I thought for sure we'd see a Defenders book, spinning out of Luke Cage's Avengers and the Netflix stuff. In fact, where are Iron Fist and Jessica Jones? Waiting in the wings so they can better match the TV series? Of all the Secret Wars series I would have like to see act as pilots, Master of Kung Fu is the one I miss most here, though Avengers 2099 certain could make a solid claim.

What are your impressions, hopes and bitter disappointments regarding Marvel's future?


Tim Knight said...

My main take-away from all this is that the Marvel portion of my pull-list has shrunk dramatically - now it's down to some of their odds & ends (Dr Strange, Howard, Ms Marvel) and most of the Spider-verse titles and that's pretty much it.

Several of these are starting off 'on the bubble' - I just want to give them a shot, but will drop them if they don't amount to anything (e.g. Karnak, Uncanny Inhumans, the Miles Morales Spider-Man). These tend to be the characters I have no history with, but am interested to see how they now fit in this new Marvel Universe.

I've had to abandon my beloved cosmic titles because Bendis reduced the Guardians to the "goofballs of the galaxy", a kind of sub-sub-team of The Avengers that just didn't feel right. If they're trying to reflect the cinematic Guardians, then why throw in random non-cinematic characters and mess with the line-up?

And I'm mightily pissed off about the lack of Fantastic Four!

Given that my DC list is down to Gotham By Midnight and Batman, that leaves plenty of room for Star Wars (yes, I know that's Marvel as well), the new Archie and Archie horror stuff, and works from the smaller publishers.

Siskoid said...

Yes, it can all be rather helpful for those who need to scale back their comics purchases.

Craig Oxbrow said...

A jumping on point is also good for jumping off. And if there ain't no Surfer and Dawn...

(Though this might just be for a while, looking at the list of absentees, as I can't see Black Widow or the Punisher being away for long.)

American Hawkman said...

Galactus is actually going to be a MEMBER of the new Ultimates. The guy you don't recognize is the Blue Marvel. Think Superman wearing Dr. Fate's costume in the 1960s, forced into retirement when he was outed as a black man.

Martin Gray said...

This really isn't a Marvel Comics for me. Still no 'proper' Avengers book, though Waid will turn in some great scripts at least, and Ewing's Ultimates will be excellent, most likely (do check out his Mighty Avengers work, the first volume is best, before the Cap was added to the masthead). Ms Marvel will continue to be a must read. Captain Marvel, i likely won't bother with if it s more of her flying planes and spaceships. The Inhumans - no thank you.. Too many Spider-titles, and I miss the real, intense and creepy Jessica Drew. I've as little interest in Miles Morales as I had in Ultimate Peter Parker - one Spider-Man is all I need.

Is that not Elsa Bloodstone doing the stupid sexist pose in the Creature Commandoes Illo? The Illuminati and yet more evil X-Men? Pass. I've as little interest in a Like, Totally Awesome Hulk as I have in any Hulk not written by Peter David. DD going Noir yet again... The superb Waid SHIELD comic being replaced by a more TV version, yechh. I'll give Nova a try, though Marvel Cosmic's not interested me outside of Abnett & Lanning. Never given a toss about any solo Wolverine books. I love Wanda, so her book gets me if Marvel stay away from the 'she's maaaaaad' bit.

Yeah, not really a line-up for me. And the business with FF is behind ridiculous.

Siskoid said...

I don't know that that's Elsa. Where's the trademark ginger ponytail? Could be a make-over, but it doesn't make sense to make her a generic blond, especially since she's appearing as her true self in Secret Wars right now.


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