Marvel NOW is a 2013 relaunch of the various Marvel titles following the Avengers Vs X-Men Crisis Crossover
as well as the events of Avengers Assemble
volume 2. Marvel Editorial has stressed that continuity is not being rebooted, so much as it is a company wide relaunch featuring new creative teams taking over along with new directions for several of Marvel's bigger and some smaller titles. Compare to DC Comics
' similar New 52
Titles included in the relaunch are:
- A+X: A Team Up Series that features two stories per issue showing an X-Man and an Avenger teaming up. It's a continuation on the A Vs X series that ran alongside Avengers Vs X-Men.
- All-New X-Men: A brand new X-Men book initially starting off with the story of incarnations of the original X-Men arriving from the past to look upon their future.
- Avengers Arena: The villain Arcade has captured a collection of young heroes and trapped them on his new Murder World with order that in order to survive they must fight to the death.
- The Avengers: Featuring over two dozen characters, including some brand new additions to the Avengers roster notably as 2 New Mutants characters.
- Cable & the X-Force: A fresh out of coma Cable awakens to the post Avengers vs. X-Men world and builds his own Anti-Hero crew to carry out missions which put him at odds with The Avengers.
- Captain America: The new volume does away with the espionage-heavy action seen in recent years of Cap stories, instead putting him in a more science fiction-inspired scenario.
- Fantastic Four: This volume of Fantastic Four that focuses on the title characters and the two Richards kids on the equivalent of a cosmic family vacation.
- FF: Relaunched from the previous book about the Future Foundation, this time the focus is on a team consisting of Scott Lang, She-Hulk, Medusa and She-Thing chosen by the Fantastic Four to watch over the organization while they are away in the main book. And Ant-Man's quest for revenge against Doctor Doom for killing his daughter, Cassie.
- Fearless Defenders: The book centers on Valkyrie, who begins working to create a new all female team, so far confirmed to have long time Heroes for Hire character, Misty Knight and New Mutants alumni Danielle Moonstar as part of the cast.
- Guardians of the Galaxy: This new volume reunites several of the cast from volume 2 that are said to be the cast of the upcoming 2014 film for new adventures along with Iron Man as a new team member.
- The Indestructible Hulk: Having determined that his condition is incurable (for the present at least), Dr. Bruce Banner approaches S.H.I.E.L.D with an offer — take him in and give him facilities, and Dr. Banner will use his incredible intellect in their service while the Hulk will work for them as a weapon of mass destruction.
- Iron Man: Iron Man heads out into outer space.
- Morbius: The Living Vampire: A new story based around Morbius, the living vampire and his struggles with his condition.
- Nova: a new series focusing on Canon Immigrant and sole remaining member of the Nova Corps, Sam Alexander, as he learns to use his powers and takes on the duties and enemies of his predecessor.
- Secret Avengers: A S.H.I.E.L.D. controlled team of Avengers featuring Nick Fury Jr, Phil Coulson and a rotating cast of Avengers who have their memory suppressed between missions.
- The Superior Spider-Man: A new Spider-Man takes over the title from Peter Parker and he is better in every single way. Smarter. Stronger. SUPERIOR. In actuality, this new Spidey is Dr. Octopus, who's now inhabiting the mind and body of Peter Parker, with Peter's own personality dormant and acting as a conscience and moral compass of sorts to Ock
- Thanos Rising: A mini series based around the retelling of Thanos origin and his rise to one of the most feared beings in the universe.
- Thor: God of Thunder: A serial killer story told in three time periods, with a younger, Ages of Thunder-esque Thor, modern Thor and an older "King Thor" working the case at different points in time.
- Thunderbolts: A brand new team formed by former General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross with the cast including Agent Venom, The Punisher, Elektra and Deadpool.
- Wolverine: The relaunch of the title. It will focus on the normal, decent, civilized part of Wolverine. Also:
- Savage Wolverine: It is a anthology series featuring rotating artists the first arc will focus on the savage part of Wolverine, also will feature Shanna the She-Devil in a Indiana Jones/Cthulhu type story.
- X-Men Legacy: A new volume focusing on Xavier's son, the powerful mutant known as Legion.
- Uncanny Avengers: Meant to be a flagship title, uniting team members from The Avengers and the X-Men on one singular team after the events of Av X.
- Uncanny X-Force Vol.2: A new X-Force team led by Psylocke and featuring Storm.
- Uncanny X-Men: Focusing on Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magneto and their new band of mutants trying to protect mutants in the world after the events of Avengers Vs X-Men.
- X-Men: One of the last titles to be launched and announced, it features an all-female cast of Storm, Jubilee, Shadowcat, Rachel Grey, Rogue and Psylocke.
- Young Avengers: Some of the original team (Wiccan, Hulkling and Kate aka Hawkeye II) along with some new heroes (Noh-Varr and Miss America Chavez) are brought together along with Loki to form a new team.
In addition to the relaunched series, other series got a fresh start with new creative teams, while continuing their regular numbering:
- Avengers Assemble: Starting with #9, Kelly Sue De Connick and Stefano Caselli took over writing and art duties, respectively. It has a more light-hearted, bantering tone compared to the other Avengers titles.
- Journey into Mystery: Now focusing on the story of long time Thor supporting character (sometimes love interest) Lady Sif.
- Red She-Hulk: Betty Ross goes on a mission and her actions to complete it will make the entire Superhero community her enemy. The series carries on its numbering from its previous incarnation as Hulk.
- Winter Soldier: With the departure of creator Ed Brubaker, a new creative team takes over with Jason Latour taking over the writing duties.
Other pre-existing and acclaimed titles, including Daredevil
and Captain Marvel
, have also been giving the "Marvel NOW" branding without a creative team change or numbering restart.
The Marvel NOW initiative contains examples of the following tropes:
- The Adjectival Superhero: A bunch of new adjectives are being thrown around, including All-New X-Men, Fearless Defenders, Indestructible Hulk, Savage Wolverine, Superior Spider-Man, and Uncanny Avengers.
- All-New X-Men is actually a Call Back to X-Men #94 (the first issue with the revamped 1970s team) which had All-New, All-Different X-Men on the cover.
- Canon Immigrant: The influence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe can be seen throughout the Avengers titles. Notably:
- Darker and Edgier: Definitely gives off that feel. Several characters like Iron Man and the new Spider-Man now sport black versions of their previously-colorful outfits. Yet despite that, most, though not all, the titles are largely no darker than prior to the Relaunch, tone-wise and story-wise.
- In the case of the new, "Superior" Spider-Man, Word of God even explicitly mentioned the character as a darker and edgier take on the nominally friendly-neighbourhood webslinger.
- Expansion Pack Past: The new Captain America mixes science fiction action with flashbacks that delve into Steve Rogers' past before becoming the Super-Soldier.
- Follow the Leader: Many believe/believed Marvel was doing this because, roughly just over a year ago, DC decided to reboot its entire line of comics, complete with a new Status Quo for some characters, with others being completely recreated. Largely, Marvel Now is different, being that all the previous continuity is still in tact. Ironically, a lot of fans wish they did follow DC's example in some cases.
- Genre Savvy: In Indestructible Hulk, Bruce Banner having realized that the Hulk isn't going away any time soon (though this isn't a recent thing for him), and so decides to instead focus his efforts on working around his condition rather than trying to cure it. He's also decided that his life will be a lot easier and more productive — both as Hulk and Banner — if he approaches the authorities to work with them rather than spending all his time on the run.
- In Name Only: The original Thunderbolts were a team of reformed supervillains. The Marvel NOW version of the team is a book about a group of antiheroes lead by the Red Hulk, with absolutely none of the original cast returning. Though when the team was created originally introduced, many fans thought it was a team working under Thunderbolt Ross(Since their first appearance was in Incredible Hulk). So we've come full circle.
- Legacy Character: The Superior Spider-Man will feature a new Spider-Man as a replacement for Peter Parker. Actually, it's Dr. Octopus inhabiting Peter's body. The new Nova book stars Sam Alexander, the successor of Richard Rider. A new female Smasher is also part of The Avengers.
- Nineties Anti-Hero: Take a look at the promo art for the new Spider-Man◊.
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Although the obvious point of comparison is DC's New52, Marvel Now is not a reboot, more a series of relaunches. Many of them feature new status quos for the characters that build on the fallout from Avengers Vs X Men - the X-Men Franchise in particular has been hit pretty deeply by this.
- Self-Deprecation: Dan Slott knows full well he's a Base Breaker, and that his current run is highly controversial. Many interviews tend to have him acknowledge this, and he even joked that, after Amazing Spider-Man #700, he'll have to hide under a rock.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Kieron Gillen has stated that he added Miss America Chavez to his new Young Avengers line-up after being unable to use Patriot.
- Trolling Creator: A few months before Superior Spider-Man was released, Dan Slott teased over Twitter that Peter's replacement would be Miguel O'Hara. The fans mostly rejoiced until this was proven false.
- Following the revelation of who it really was, fans were dismayed because the new Spider-Man was apparently going to date Mary Jane. As Mary Jane was unaware the new Spidey wasn't her Spidey, this would make a sexual relationship with them Rape by Fraud. Then they previewed the second issue's cover, which shows Mary Jane being forcefully kissed by the new Spidey, and in the first issue (and the last issue of the previous series) had the two start dating, with Mary Jane admitting she's in love with him, while the new Spidey treated her like crap. Come second issue, and they reveal a relationship between the two will not be pursued, it makes all the previous moments between the two feel like Dan Slott was deliberately winding up those upset with this.
- Wolverine Publicity: Pretty much all of the Avengers present in the movie. Iron Man is now in his own title, Avengers, New Avengers, Avengers Assemble, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Captain America has his own book, Avengers, New Avengers, Avengers Assemble, and Uncanny Avengers. Hawkeye and Black Widow are in Avengers, Avengers Assemble, and Secret Avengers, with Hawkeye also having his own solo book. The Hulk has his own title, Avengers, Avengers Assemble, and Secret Avengers.
- Ironically Wolverine is the least exposed in comparison.
- The Avengers name is being slapped on quite a few books (seven, so far), even on books that don't really have anything to do with them. Secret Avengers is more S.H.I.E.L.D. based and Avengers Arena centers around a The Hunger Games type scenario.
- Writing for the Trade: Although individual issues tend to be good reads, Marvel Now comics seem written not for the trade, but the omnibus - long, slow-burning plots seem to be the order of the day. Most trades end on cliffhangers, or act as groundwork and foreshadowing for much bigger stories.