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Over the past few weeks, Marvel Comics has been slowing releasing details of their upcoming Marvel NOW! push. Marvel NOW! isn’t a reboot or relaunch – it’s a marketing and branding platform. Last week, a large checklist of Marvel NOW! series titles was released with creative teams. This may not be the entire slate of eventual Marvel NOW! titles since it includes only one X-Men series. Marvel NOW! also does not cover separate universe comics, such as the Star Wars comics published by Marvel.
It was somewhat surprising that the news of Marvel NOW! list didn’t seem to make the splash that the company did with their All-New Marvel NOW! platform in 2012. Partially, it’s because Secret Wars just reset a number of titles, so a large portion of the Marvel NOW! line-up is continuations of current series. In some other cases, Marvel has bet on unusual concepts – such as giving solo titles to Foolkiller, Solo and Slapstick from Deadpool and the Mercs for Money. However, there are some intriguing options in the new series listed in Marvel NOW! Here are five new Marvel NOW! series that I think might be worth checking out.
For me, one of the most interesting tie-in book during the “Battleworld” segment of the recent Secret Wars was Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows. I like that we are going to see more of that. For those who don’t know, Renew Your Vows was set in an alternate timeline in which not only were Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson not separated by Mephisto (during the infamous “One More Day” storyline), they actually had a daughter named Annie, who has powers of her own. How will this version of Peter fit into the Marvel Universe? Are there two Peter Parker who are Spider-Man? The other compelling part of this comic was Regent, a villain who killed superheroes to steal their powers. Regent has already made his debut in the main Amazing Spider-Man title, so I don’t know if he will be a big part of Renew Your Vows.
So most everyone loved the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, right? Well, one of the writers of the film – Nicole Perlman – is making her comics debut on Gamora. I have not read recent Guardians of the Galaxy stories, but I did like the film’s (and presumably Perlman’s) take on the characters. Marco Checchetto’s art is also a strong factor here. Between this and Chip Zdarsky’s Star Lord, Marvel is making some compelling choices with their Guardians characters in Marvel NOW!.
With a Doctor Strange film coming out this year, Marvel is betting that the character might be set for a break-out. Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo have anchored the main Doctor Strange series. Now Marvel is introducing another Doctor Strange series, from writer Robbie Thompson and artist Javier Rodriguez, called Doctor Strange: Sorcerers Supreme. The series seems to involve time-travelling sorcerers – which is a pretty great hook. This second series is a somewhat bold strategy since Marvel has had trouble making one series based on Dr. Strange stick for many years, and not they’re trying two. However, Marvel is certainly highlighting film properties like Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man and Deadpool. I am a fan of Rodriguez’s art, so I think this could be a good title.
This Hawkeye series is not based on Clint Barton (who will head the Occupy Avengers title). Instead, Kate Bishop is the Hawkeye at the center of this title, from writer Kelly Thompson and artist Leonardo Romero. Bishop was a member of Young Avengers and later a big part of Matt Fraction’s heralded run on Hawkeye. She deserves a chance to be a headline star, and highlights Marvel’s new push towards legacy characters. I have not read Thompson’s work on Jem and the Holograms or A-Force, but it seems to be liked by many. I’m willing to try her work on a Kate Bishop series set in California.
For all its recent success, Marvel has not great at introducing new characters who are break-stars if they are not already linked to an established hero. Mosaic, a recently-introduced Inhuman, bucks this trend. He doesn’t have a long history that makes him a safe bet. I recently wrote about how I think Marvel should offer diverse characters that are not safely linked to established iconic superheroes. A good example of that is Mosaic, by writer Geoffrey Thorne and artist Khary Randolph. So it’s good to see Marvel NOW! offer Mosaic, who also has a pretty compelling power set – he inhabits other people’s bodies and absorbs their memories. Randolph is also an excellent artist, so Mosaic could be a sleeper series that does well.
Marvel NOW! will be here soon, following the resolution of Civil War II. The company is pushing their universe in a new direction, even though many of the creator names in the Marvel NOW! list are familiar. While I think Marvel could have been a little more daring, I do still think there will be some great comics coming out of Marvel NOW!, especially once you factor in continuing series. What do you think? What are the most interesting new series coming out of Marvel NOW! for you? Offer your thoughts in the comments.