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Tuesday, October 09, 2012 

It makes no difference if Marvel NOW isn't a reboot. What matters is that it's awful

Axel Alonso's been blabbering to the AP Wire about their "NOW initiative". They say:
It's not a reboot or relaunch.

Instead, Marvel Comics' new "NOW" initiative aims to recharge the publisher's heroes and villains, the publisher's editor-in-chief Axel Alonso said of the new effort that starts this week.

"This ain't a reboot, we're simply hitting the refresh button. 'Marvel NOW!' simply offers a line-wide entry-point into the Marvel Universe that you're already reading about," he said of the endeavor, which starts Wednesday with the release of "Uncanny Avengers" No. 1 in comic shops worldwide.
First, they lie by saying it's not a relaunch, when they have at least a few number ones in store. Second, what recharge or refresh are we talking about here exactly? Alonso himself goes on to say:
"All of the stories take place in the aftermath of 'Avengers Vs. X-Men.' New creative teams — each of which are deeply invested in their titles — will take your favorite titles in bold new directions," Alonso said of the calamitous events of the best-selling and just-concluded mini-series that saw the return of the fabled Phoenix force and the death of some key characters, notably Charles Xavier.
If they're building off of that awful death and humiliation of Cyclops, they're not making it a very good entry point. A calamity it was alright, or more specifically, a catastrophe. And not all the writers are new: Brian Bendis is still staying with them. The only difference is that he's on a different title this time, X-Men. And Matt Fraction is still there too.
The move, announced earlier this year, drew some initial comparisons to rival DC Entertainment's relaunch of its entire line of comics a year ago, one that has helped boost its sales and market presence. The most recent figures for sales showed that in September while Marvel had the top-selling comic book, DC had spots two through 10.
Another instance where they don't give actual numbers and digits of how much was sold. If they were being honest, they would have published the figures that ICV2 did, which show that AvX, while it was unfortunately at the top of the list, only sold 167,327 units, while among DC's zero specials, only 2 of them sold above 100,000 while the rest sold pretty low. I'm sure some of them will be turning up in the bargain bins soon enough. What's that about the reboot helping DC's sales again?
Tom Brevoort, senior vice president for publishing at Marvel, said the new "NOW!" series aren't about relaunching characters with new origins or back stories but about shaking up the characters with new writers and artists.

"Think of it as a game of musical chairs, wherein the best creators in comics all move to a new 'seat' in the form of a new title and character," he said, noting that those names include Brian Michael Bendis, Steve Epting, Jonathan Hickman, Geoff Darrow, Matt Fraction and Leinil Francis Yu, among others.
Ah, so Brevoort contradicts Alonso's claim - and his own - that these are all-new talent teams when they're exactly the same staff as before. Just because they're taking up different series doesn't make them different writers or artists, and it doesn't guarantee the stories they'll tell will be worth buying either.
"For as good as our recent runs have been, there was beginning to build a sense of complacency among the readership — like they know exactly what to expect from a Captain America or an X-Men or an Avengers, whether they liked it or not, because the same creators had been shepherding those properties for so many years," Brevoort said.

"By making this kind of a creative switch, we create energy and excitement across virtually the entirety of our publishing line all at once."
Judging from the sales charts on ICV2, it's clear they haven't. Trouble is, AvX itself sadly sold the numbers it did, and as a result, they're guaranteed to continue clogging the market with more of these pointless crossovers. Again, Brevoort makes clear these are not new contributors on board. And many of their recent runs haven't been "good" at all, just bad or plain dull.
The new titles will include series featuring Iron Man, the now-named "Indestructible Hulk," Deadpool and the "All-New X-Men," among them.

Alonso said that long-time readers won't find their favorite characters radically altered in mind or matter.

"Nope. It's the same Universe that readers have been invested in for years," he said. "The only change is some subtle tweaks to some costumes."
That's a lie too, since Spider-Man's marriage is still erased, and his own personality still pretty badly portrayed post-One More Day. Nor are the personalities and other traits of the other Marvel cast being depicted any better. The Marvel universe hasn't been itself in a long, long time, and the costume changes they speak of don't help matters either.

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