Since different websites and forum commenters are writing different opinions on Marvel Now, I might as well say my piece.
For those who don’t know, Marvel Now is an initiative starting in October where the majority of the top-name Marvel comic writers are switching titles. Most of the books are being renumbered at 1, and a good chunk of them are also changing direction. Jonathan Hickman, who’s been writing an amazing Fantastic Four series, is taking over both main Avengers titles. Rick Remender, who is writing critically acclaimed books like Uncanny X-Force, Venom (recently left however) and Secret Avengers, is writing the new Uncanny Avengers series (half Avengers, half X-Men). Matt Fraction is taking over both Fantastic Four books. I could go on but this is a very significant creative reshuffling.
This isn’t a reboot – it’s the same continuity as before. Instead of launching every book at once, they’ll be launching them over the course of several months – one new series per week as far as I know.
What’s my opinion of it? Well, I have no problem with it. A bunch of new number 1’s is similar to a new season of a TV show. I’ve read complaints about how they’re renumbering everything and it’ll ruin how you organize your comics. It won’t, just break it up with a divider that says “<insert book name here> volume <add 1 to the previous volume’s number here>”.
For new readers, Fantastic Four 3 is far less intimidating than say Fantastic Four 615. Imagine yourself as someone who’s never read a comic in your life and you want to try it out. Which number is less intimidating? The one that implies that you have 648 issues to catch up on, or the one that’s implying that you haven’t missed much?
I’ve read some complaints on forums that they’re really just minimizing the X-Men and promoting the Avengers. They point at Uncanny Avengers as the strongest example of that. No they’re not. There are still a good number of X-Only titles and there will surely be more announced in the next few months, we’re just getting All New X-Men instead of Uncanny X-Men (which was once called All New, All Different X-Men). Also Havok, an X-Men character, is leading the Uncanny Avengers.
Lots of other complaints are claiming that Avengers vs. X-Men is trying to make the X-Men look bad. Again, no – nearly everything the X-Men have done in this event is in reaction to the Avengers doing something stupid. For example, this whole war never would have started if the Avengers didn’t show up on Utopia to try to take Hope away by force. They also stopped fighting the Avengers until they showed up a second time to kidnap Hope from Utopia. Don’t get me wrong the event has problems; it’s just that demonizing the X-Men certainly isn’t one of them.
According to Marvel, all the writers were switching titles anyway, so they decided to market it and renumber everything at 1. I have no problem if that’s true. It’s a corporation. If all their writers are shuffling around anyway, why wouldn’t you market that? Marvel’s executives would be fools not to. If it’s an editorial mandate that they all switch titles, I can certainly think of worse editorial mandates like, well … One More Day (which I simply refuse to read).
I’ll be trying out at least the first two issues of every Marvel Now title and I’ll review them all if possible. Even if I don’t usually like the writer, I’ll give them an honest chance here. Perhaps they’ll handle their new book better than their last. Perhaps they have fresh ideas to take their new series in a different direction nobody’s thought of before. If I still don’t like them, I don’t have to read their books.
Personally though, I hope that Wolverine will be in fewer comics than he is now. He really doesn’t need to be on four X-Men books, two Avengers books, his own solo series (two after Wolverine MAX begins) and five or six cameos every month.