Axel Alonso, the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, announced their big post-AvX thingy, which he is billing as a relaunch, not a reboot, in an attempt to differentiate it from DC’s New 52. While it’s still not quite clear what the difference is between “Marvel NOW!” and “ReEvolution,” whether one is the grander, overarching marketing ploy and the other is simply the new status quo like “Dark Reign,” “Shattered Heroes” and a half dozen others, there is something that needs to be said to the esteemed Mr. Alonso.
Liar, liar, pants on fire.
First of all, the New 52 was not a reboot. At least, it was not a reboot for the Green Lantern, Legion of Super-Heroes and Batman family of books, which takes up the majority of space at DC. Yes, Superman’s continuity got foreshortened, as did that of the Justice League, and their mystical heroes got rejiggered in the move from Vertigo to mainline DC. And, admittedly, mixing in the Wildstorm characters has been a challenge they have only partially conquered. Still, it falls squarely under the heading of relaunch more than reboot.
He lists their new formula for success on Comic Book Resources as “great writer + great artist + great character + great hook = success.” Wow. So, until now, you’ve been saving your great writers and artists for just the main books and foisting off no-name assmonkeys on us for most of your line? Of course, great writer + great artist + great character + great hook = success also sounds suspiciously like what DC has been doing, putting top writers and artists on books with engrossing stories, like Animal Man and Swamp Thing, Action Comics, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc. Not a lot of meaningless movie tie-ins, even when there is a DC movie coming out, featuring never-was talent writing stories nobody cares about. Or revamping books so they match the movies. Or creating a son for Nick Fury who conveniently loses his eye so he looks like Samuel L. Jackson in the Marvel movies.
Not to mention the fact that the Marvel Universe is one of constant reboots and retcons. Hey, remember when Northstar was a fairy? Not gay, not a mutant, just a fairy? Or how about Wolverine’s 738 different origins. I mean, how much screwing around with someone’s head can you actually do?
On the other hand, I appreciate that they’re stretching out their new #1 issues over the course of five months. For retailers, as well as for fans, it was quite jarring having to deal with 52 #1 issues in a single month (well, 51, since Justice League came out the last day of August). However, I am not convinced shuffling the Avengers writer to X-Men and the FF writer to Avengers will really make that much of a difference. You have proven commodities that you are giving to other proven commodities. I would more like to see Marvel cut everything back to monthly before they burn out their talent.
So, whether it’s a reboot or a relaunch, play your little hype game, and we’ll all buy it, just like we bought all of the New 52 books. But keep in mind, just like Hawk and Dove with Rob Liefeld art, we won’t necessarily keep buying them.
Courtesy of Anthony Glassman and South Philly Comics