Marvel will launch several new titles in response to DC's New 52 Event.
When two comic book publishers carry the majority of superhero comics between them for over half a century, it's easy to get the impression that they're constantly copying each other. After DC launched the Final Crisis mini-series in which "evil wins", Marvel rolled out their own Dark Reign event. When Marvel restored an optimistic, pre-Civil War status quo with The Heroic Age, DC did the same in its universe with Brightest Day. And now that DC's New 52 event has rebooted the entire continuity. Marvel is attempting to revitalize its own superhero line with Marvel NOW!, set to relaunch multiple titles with new first issues starting in October.
While this approach is almost identical to New 52 from a publishing perspective, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso is quick to point out that Marvel NOW! is a different beast. "This ain't a reboot. It's a new beginning," Alonso says, explaining that the universe won't suddenly reset. Marvel NOW! will instead transition ongoing Marvel storylines to jumping-on points over the course of several months. "In the months of October through February, every week you can go into a comic book store and find a few new jumping-on points for the Marvel Universe, a place you're going to like visiting. Or revisiting."
Just as New 52 followed up DC's Flashpoint event, Marvel NOW! books will spin-off from the unfolding Avengers Vs X-Men storyline. Rick Remender and John Cassaday will develop Uncanny Avengers, a series uniting the Avengers and X-Men into a single team when Captain America "recognizes that he hasn't done enough to help the mutants." Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opena will take over the core Avengers series, increasing the team size to sixteen "popular characters, B-listers, and new characters". Former Avengers writer Brian Michael Bendis is moving on to All-New X-Men, a time-travel story about the original teenaged X-Men arriving in our darker modern era with art by Stuart Immonen. "Here's the big question that the original X-Men are gonna be faced with," Bendis explains, "we're gonna grow up, and this is what we're going to get? That is not acceptable."
For regular comics readers, an announcement like this has been expected for some time. Once the concepts introduced in 2006's Civil War reached their logical conclusion two years ago, the company needed a new direction for their ongoing titles, which in comics is usually accompanied by a drastic re-imagining of regular characters. Coincidentally, Marvel Now! is also well-positioned to capitalize on fans of this summer's The Avengers by adapting the designs of movie-version Captain America and Nick Fury into comic book canon.
Will the relaunch be successful? It's hard to say, although DC fared pretty well all things considered. Comic book fans will just have to wait until October to find out.