Marvel Comics is embroiled in Avengers vs. X-Men, a crossover event which follows an all-out war between the publisher’s iconic superteams. When Avengers vs. X-Men reaches its conclusion, the stage will be set for a massive restructuring of the Marvel Universe. “It’s not hype when we say that AvX is the culmination of a lot of stories we’ve done over the last several years,” says Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso. “Characters are redeemed or not. Characters are changed. The X-Men and the Avengers are both repositioned for the future. What better time to shake things up? “
And Marvel is shaking things up. Entertainment Weekly is excited to exclusively announce Marvel NOW!, a massive new initiative that will launch new titles and relaunch old ones starting in October. Some of the company’s top storytellers are leaping from one corner of the Marvel Universe to another. Brian Michael Bendis is leaving the Avengers for a new X-Men book; Jonathan Hickman will end his run on Fantastic Four before kick-starting a new twice-monthly, jampacked Avengers book; and Rick Remender will begin work on the flagship title of the new era, Uncanny Avengers, a book that will blend Avengers and X-Men characters into one superteam. “I’m excited about taking creators out of their relative comfort zones,” says Alonso.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that a major comics publisher has inaugurated a new era with new creative teams and new #1′s: Just last year, DC Comics relaunched their entire line with The New 52. But Alonso is quick to draw a sharp contrast between DC’s initiative and Marvel NOW! “This ain’t a reboot. It’s a new beginning.” Unlike New 52, Marvel NOW! will roll out gradually over a few months, with creators finishing off their runs and then starting new ones. “I feel that it’s a much more humane approach for retailers and fans to tell them: ‘Look. 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.”