Marvel NOW! is a 2012 relaunch of the various Marvel Comics titles following the Avengers vs. X-Men Crisis Crossover as well as the events of Avengers Assemble volume 2. Marvel Editorial stressed that continuity was not being rebooted, so much as it was 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 initiative.
Other pre-existing and acclaimed titles, including Daredevil note , Hawkeye and Captain Marvel note , have also been giving the "Marvel NOW" branding without a creative team change or numbering restart.
In January 2014, Marvel launched "All-New Marvel Now" (ANMN) in similar fashion following Infinity Marvel's latest Crisis Crossover. Like the previous relaunch this one features both new ongoing series being released alongside previous ones that were cancelled and restarted with new volumes with a few series have kept their usual name, but added a "#1" on certain issues to signify new jump on points for new readers. Fall 2014 saw another round of new launches, under the umbrella title Avengers NOW (ANOW).
In May 2015, it was revealed that following Secret Wars, a new Marvel relaunch would happen under the name All-New, All-Different Marvel (ANADM). While not being a full-on continuity reboot, it served as an updating of the Marvel Universe, with new status quos and creative teams taking over existing characters and concepts. In 2016, Marvel returned to the Marvel NOW! branding, this time addressing the fallout of Civil War II.
There were three phases of the original Marvel NOW! initiative:
Marvel NOW! (October 2012-July 2013)
- Marvel NOW! Point One: One-shot that features six short stories from six creative teams, meant to set the stage for several of the Marvel NOW! series and plots.
The Avengers (Team titles)
- The Avengers — Featuring over two dozen characters, including some brand new additions to the team, such as two New Mutants. note
- Avengers A.I. note — The post-Age of Ultron title follows a team of synthetics brought together by Hank Pym in order to combat a new danger.
- Avengers Arena note — A Battle Royale''-inspired series in which he villain Arcade has captured a collection of young heroes and trapped them on his new Murder World with the mandate that, in order to survive, they must fight to the death.
- New Avengers — Focusing on a new Illuminati inspired team featuring Black Panther and Beast as new members. note
- Secret Avengers note — A SHIELD-controlled team of Avengers featuring Nick Fury Jr, Phil Coulson and a rotating cast of Avengers who have their memory suppressed between missions.
- 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.
The Avengers (Solo titles)
- Captain America note — 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.
- The Indestructible Hulk note — 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 note — Iron Man heads out into outer space for a few arcs.
- Thor: God of Thunder note — 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.
- Thanos Rising — A five-issue limited series that tells the origin story of the supervillain, Thanos.
- Guardians of the Galaxy note — This new volume reunites several of the members from the 2008 team (who feature in the 2014 film) for new adventures, along with Iron Man as a new team member.
- Nova note — 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.
- Fantastic Four note — 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 Ms. 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.
- Superior Spider-Man — Doctor Otto Octavius takes over Peter Parker's body and vows to be better than his predecessor in every single way. Smarter. Stronger. SUPERIOR.
- The Superior Foes of Spider-Man — The series explores Boomerang and the new Sinister Six (Shocker, Speed Demon, Overdrive, and the new Beetle) as they team up to pursue crime in a city dominated by a new, less forgiving Spider-Man.
- Superior Spider-Man Team-Up — The series continues where Avenging Spider-Man left off, leavings its characters with a new status quo.
- 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.
- Cable & The X-Force note — 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.
- Savage Wolverine — An 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.
- Uncanny X-Force note — A new X-Force team led by Psylocke and featuring Storm.
- Wolverine note — The relaunch of the title. It will focus on the normal, decent, civilized part of Wolverine.
- 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.
- X-Men Legacy — A new volume focusing on Xavier's son, the powerful mutant known as Legion.
Avengers & X-Men
- 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.
- Uncanny Avengers note — Meant to be a flagship title, uniting team members from The Avengers and the X-Men on one singular team after the events of Avengers vs X-Men.
Other (New titles)
- Morbius: The Living Vampire — A new story based around Morbius the Living Vampire and his struggles with his condition.
- Deadpool note — A new volume that, initially, has Deadpool fighting the dead United States' former presidents, brought back to life to fix the current world's problems - only they didn't want that.
- Fearless Defenders — The book centers on Valkyrie, who begins working to create a new all female team, featuring Misty Knight and New Mutants alumni Danielle Moonstar as part of the cast.
- Thunderbolts — A brand new team formed by former General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross with the cast including Agent Venom, The Punisher, Elektra and Deadpool.
Other (Rebranded titles)
- Avengers Assemble — Starting at #9; with Kelly Sue De Connick and Stefano Caselli taking over writing and art duties. It has a more light-hearted, bantering tone compared to the other Avengers titles.
- Captain Marvel note — Staring at #9; a Marvel NOW! continuation of the existing Captain Marvel series, with former Ms. Marvel Carol Danvers taking up the mantle.
- Journey into Mystery — Issues #646 —- #655; now focusing on the story of long time Thor supporting character (sometimes love interest) Lady Sif.
- Red She-Hulk — Issues #58 —- #67; a continuation of from its previous incarnation as a volume of Hulk. Betty Ross goes on a mission and her actions to complete it will make the entire Superhero community her enemy.
- Wolverine and the X-Men note — Issues #19-23; a seamless continuation of the existing volume.
All-New Marvel NOW! (January 2013-July 2014)
- All-New Marvel NOW! Point One: The issue features lead-in stories for Loki: Agent of Asgard, Silver Surfer, Black Widow, Ms. Marvel, All-New Invaders and Avengers World.
- Avengers Undercover — The series follows the survivors of Avengers Arena as they try to infiltrate the Masters of Evil.
- Avengers World — A new book which takes character focus on the new expanded Avengers roster as they battle with different threats across the globe.
- Mighty Avengers note — Created during the Thanos Invasion portion of Infinity, this new Avengers team is led by Luke Cage and features Monica Rambeau, Superior Spider-Mannote , She-Hulk, Ronin, Power Man (Victor Alvarez), White Tiger (Ava Ayala), and the Blue Marvel as its primary cast.
- Secret Avengers — A relaunch of the title, with Spider-Woman replacing Mockingbird on the team.
- Captain Marvel note — A new volume of Carol Danvers' run as Captain Marvel, this time taking her into outer space.
- Legendary Star-Lord note — A new title that gives Peter Quill his first starring role in an ongoing series.
- Rocket Raccoon — A new ongoing series that follows Rocket Raccoon and his bodyguard Groot in outer space.
- Silver Surfer — Free from Galactus, Silver Surfer sets off into the cosmos with a human companion in this Doctor Who-like ongoing series. note
- Hulk — An adjectiveless continuation of Indestructible Hulk.
- Savage Hulk — An anthology series about The Hulk.
- She-Hulk — Jennifer Walters starts a new law practice after her stint in FF in this new series.
- Inhuman note — A new Inhumans series that follows the fate of King Black Bolt and his royal family in the aftermath of the Infinity event, in which new Inhumans have sprung up around the globe forcing the once-secret society of the Inhumans into the open.
- Ms. Marvel — A new series about Kamala Khan, a Muslim-American teenager who gains shape-shifting powers after being exposed to Terrigen mist. note
- Amazing Spider-Man note — After the events of Superior Spider-Man, Peter's back in action. Now he's gotta clean up the mess his replacement left.
- Spider-Man 2099 note : Miguel O'Hara gets trapped in Earth-616 and lives with Peter Parker until he can return home and destroy Alchemax in this new ongoing series.
Ultimate Marvel Now
- Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man — The adventures of Miles Morales continue.
- All-New Ultimates — The Ultimates have disbanded, so some street level heroes try to take their place.
- Ultimate FF:note A team composes by science geniuses: Sue Storm, Sam, Tony Stark, and an unexpected fourth member.
- All-New Doop — A limited series about popular X-Men side character Doop.
- All-New X-Factor — A new X-Factor title written by Peter David, but this time starring a corporate sponsored team with Polaris at lead, recruiting Quicksilver, Gambit and others to join up.
- Cyclops — A new title spinning out from All-New X-Men that follows time-displaced teenage Cyclops into outer space with his newly-reunited father Corsair.
- Magneto — A solo series about Magneto leaving the X-Men to fight for mutantkind his own way, for better or worse. note
- Nightcrawler — An ongoing series about Nightcrawler spinning out of Amazing X-Men, originally meant to be a new volume of X-Men Legacy.
- Storm — A solo series following Storm as she saves the world from natural disasters.
- Uncanny X-Men — A new volume of the flagship X-Men title, focusing on Cyclops' New Xavier School for Gifted Mutants following the events of Schism. note
- Wolverine — The relaunch finds Wolverine reconnecting with his darker side and joining a group of minor super villains as he tries to make his life more simple.
- Wolverine and the X-Men note — A relaunch of the title that focuses three students Quentin Quire, Evan Sabahnur and Idie Okonkwo.
- X-Force — A new X-Force title spinning out of the prior two X-Force teams note ; after a terrorist attack known as the Alexandria incident, Cable reforms a new mutant black ops team, along with Psylocke, Fantomex, Dr. Nemesis and Marrow, whose mission is to make sure that mutants have a stake in their own future on the world stage.
Other (Solo titles)
- All-New Ghost Rider note — A new title that follows a new Latino Ghost Rider named Robbie Reyes, who drives a muscle car instead of a motorcycle.
- Black Widow — Natasha Romanov takes mercenary jobs while trying to atone for past sins in this new book. note
- Daredevil note — Matt Murdock is transplanted to San Francisco after leaving his New York practice in this continuation of the Waid run.
- Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu — A limited series in which Shang-Chi seeks vengeance for a fallen MI-6 agent.
- Elektra — A new series that follows Elektra trying to "find herself " whilst carrying out orders as an assassin.
- Iron Fist -- The Living Weapon: Danny Rand returns to K'un-Lun, the mystical city where he was trained, in this new series.
- Iron Patriot — A limited series note that follows James "Rhodey" Rhodes facing off against a new threat with the help of his father and niece.
- Loki: Agent of Asgard — An ongoing series that follows Loki, currently depicted as a teenager, working for the All-Mother after a stint with the Young Avengers. note
- Moon Knight — A new Anthology Comic, of sorts. With the premise of learning that Konshu's influence may have caused him brain damage, Moon Knight resumes his crusade to clean up a city as twisted as he is. Features a rotating creative team; the first six issues were written by Warren Ellis.
- The Punisher — Frank Castle relocates to Los Angeles from New York in this new ongoing title. note
- Winter Soldier: The Bitter March — A limited series set in 1966 that pits SHIELD against Bucky Barnes, a.k.a. The Winter Soldier.
Other (Team titles)
- All-New Invaders — A relaunch of the 70's The Invaders title, featuring Captain America, Namor, the Winter Soldier, and the Golden Age Human Torch teaming up to fight the Kree.
- Fantastic Four — A relaunch of the previous series with a new creative team.
- New Warriors — A relaunch of Marvel's popular younger hero team, focusing on Speedball and Justice reforming the New Warriors in an attempt to break free from the stigma of being the catalyst of Civil War.
Free Comic Book Day titles
- Guardians of the Galaxy FCBD: In the issue, released for Free Comic Book Day, Captain Marvel and Venom join the Guardians of the Galaxy.
- Rocket Raccoon FCBD: An all-ages one-shot starring Rocket Raccoon by the creative team of Joe Caramagna and Adam Archer.
.NOW rebranded titles
- All-New X-Men — Starting with #22.NOW, during the "The Trial of Jean Grey" crossover with Guardians Of The Galaxy.
- The Avengers — Starting with #24.NOW, the team reassembles after the Infinity event.
- Avengers A.I. — Starting with #8.NOW
- Captain America — Starting with #16.NOW
- Deadpool — Starting with #25.NOW
- Guardians of the Galaxy —Starting with #11.NOW, during the "The Trial of Jean Grey" crossover with All-New X-Men.
- Iron Man — Starting with #23.NOW
- New Avengers —Starting with #16.NOW
- Nova — Starting with #13.NOW
- Savage Wolverine —Starting with #14.NOW
- Superior Spider-Man — Starting with #27.NOW
- Thor: God of Thunder — Starting with #19.NOW
- Thunderbolts — Starting with #20.NOW
- Uncanny Avengers: Starting with #18.NOW
- Uncanny X-Men: Starting with #19.NOW
- X-Men: Starting with #10.NOW
Avengers NOW! (October 2014 - April 2015)
- Captain America & The Mighty Avengers note — A relaunch of the Mighty Avengers with (an inverted) Sam Wilson as their team leader. note
- Uncanny Avengers — A new volume of the series set after the events of AXIS.
- Angela: Asgard's Assassin note — The newly-revealed sister of Thor embarks on a journey to clear her name in the cosmos.
- Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier — Bucky Barnes ventures out into space in this new ongoing series.
- Guardians 3000 note : A revival of the original Guardians of the Galaxy team from the 31st century, who must deal with a time travel issue which threatens all of existence, along with the threat of the Badoon.
- Silk — Cindy Moon, former classmate of Peter Parker's, gets her own ongoing series after the events of Spider-Verse.
- Spider-Gwen note — The Earth-65 incarnation of Gwen Stacy (from Edge of Spider-Verse #2) assumes the title of Spider-Woman in this new series.
- Spider-Woman (2014) note — Jessica Drew receives her second ongoing series. Initially launching with an arc during Spider-Verse, Jess eventually quits The Avengers to take on some street-level vigilantism —- and with a new costume, to boot.
- All-New Captain America note — After Steve Rogers loses his super-serum, long-running sidekick The Falcon assumes the title of Captain America.
- Ant-Man note — This new ongoing follows Scott Lang moving back to Miami after his stint in FF and the resurrection of his daughter, Cassie.
- Deathlok — A series about the new Deathlok, Henry Hayes, and the not-so-altruistic motivations of his new employer.
- Howard the Duck note — The infamous character, fresh off the heels of a Guardians of the Galaxy post-credits stinger, returns for a new ongoing series.
- Superior Iron Man — Post-AXIS, an inverted Tony Stark moves to San Francisco with questionable motivations.
- Thor note — When Thor Odinson is deemed "unworthy," an unidentified woman (later revealed to be Jane Foster) assumes his duty as Goddess of Thunder.
- The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl note — Long-running side character Doreen Green (also known as "The Slayer Of All That Breathes") gets her first ongoing series, following her adventures through college while sometimes warding off such foes as Kraven The Hunter and Galactus.
Team-Up / crossover titles
- Guardians Team-Up — An anthology that sees the Guardians working alongside other superheroes in the Marvel universe.
- S.H.I.E.L.D. — An anthology that follows Agent Coulson (and Melinda May, Jemma Simmons and Leo Fitz) teaming up with Marvel superheroes.
- Spider-Man & The X-Men — A Sequel Series to Wolverine and the X-Men with Peter Parker teaching at The Jean Grey School, per Wolverine's dying request.
- Uncanny Inhumans — A second ongoing title based around The Inhumans, described as a more "street-level" take on them.
- Wolverines — A weekly title spun-out from the Death of Wolverine event, a group of Wolverine-adjacent characters from The Logan Legacy note and new Weapon X Program holdovers note comes together in this weekly series.
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, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 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.
- 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.
- 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: Otto Octavius as the Superior Spider-Man.
- Affirmative Action Legacy:
- Robbie Reyes (Hispanic) as the new Ghost Rider.
- Sam Alexander (half-Mexican) as the new Nova
- Kamala Khan (Pakistani-American) as the new Ms. Marvel.
- Izzy Kane as the new Smasher.
- Sam Wilson (African-American) as the new Captain America.
- Affirmative Action Legacy:
- '90s 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 New 52, 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.
- Retcanon: The influence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe can be seen throughout the Avengers titles. Notably:
- The Hulk's new status quo reads just as sensibly as a follow-up to his appearance in The Avengers.
- As does Captain America's new storyline, which has him fighting Arnim Zola. In addition, Cap's outfit seems to be directly inspired by his costumes in Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers.
- The starting line-up of the Avengers is the same six characters who were seen in The Avengers. The same goes for the reformed Guardians of the Galaxy who briefly had Bug back on their team when he was being considered for the movie. (he was promptly removed when Bug was dropped from the movie).
- The Secret Avengers roster features all the major S.H.I.E.L.D. characters in Avengers, plus the War Machine as the new Iron Patriot (an idea introduced in Iron Man 3) and Winter Soldier (who appears in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier).
- Superior Spider-Man's second costume is an unused design Alex Ross created for the first Spider-Man movie.
- The central conflict of All-New Captain America is the revelation that Hydra has infiltrated everything.
- Less obviously, Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier has Bucky suspecting Loki and fighting him for an issue.
- Self-Deprecation: Dan Slott knows full well he's a controversial writer, 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.
- 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, a digital mini series 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 and Black Widow getting one herself later on. 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.
- In the wake of their surprise hit movie, the Guardians of the Galaxy have been benefiting from this big time. In addition to the main title, Marvel has launched, the Guardians 3000 based off the original far-future team, plus solo books for Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, and Gamora, in addition to giving the latter two big roles in the Original Sin Crisis Crossover and a upcoming another ongoing Guardians Team Up announced for 2015.
- 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.