So, Marvel saw DC temporarily knocked them off the sales throne with the New 52. So it decided it wasn’t going to let that stand.
To wit, Marvel is announcing “Marvel NOW!”, which is not a Seinfeld reference. Instead, it’s a massive reboot across the entire Marvel universe to shake things up.
Not all of the changes Marvel is announcing are entirely unwelcome. But a lot of this does absolutely nothing to address the underlying problems that Marvel is facing creatively and as a company. If we want to stick with the DC analogy, this isn’t really the New 52: this is Marvel trying its very own DC Explosion.
Here’s why it may drive sales, but it won’t solve any problems.
The New 52 Didn’t Succeed In Bringing On New Readers
That’s really the first and most important thing Marvel needs to remember: the New 52 may have put DC on top of the sales charts, but it wasn’t because it brought in new readers. True, Marvel is riding a high DC can only dream of right now, with The Avengers being a billion-dollar hit and The Amazing Spider-Man looking poised to rake in the bucks.
But the New 52 largely brought back former DC readers who’d given up on the company. Which brings us to problem number two…
Marvel Desperately Needs a Reboot
Part of the reason the New 52 was so successful was the fact that it allowed lapsed readers to get back on the horse. Marvel NOW! is not going to do that. It spins directly out of a twelve-issue limited series with multiple tie-in issues across all of Marvel’s X-Men and Avengers books, of which there are what feels like dozens. Worse, this limited series also has two other tie-in series, one of which is a digital exclusive. To fully know what’s going on you’ll need to invest either $200 or more in comics or spend an hour or two on Wikipedia. How the hell is that friendly to new readers? Or old readers? Or anybody?
Marvel should know better, too, in light of the success of the Ultimate line of books. Those actually brought in new readers.
It’s Another Continuity Snarl
Yeah, yeah, yeah, NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME. Blow it out your alimentary canal, Marvel. You promise us nothing will ever be the same like clockwork, every year. Sure, X-Men and Avengers may be stuck on the same teams for now. But we all know that status quo is God and eventually these teams will be back together in their classic line-ups. One of the new books Marvel is launching is the original sixties line-up of X-Men, for God’s sake.