Don’t call it a reboot. Marvel Comics, which had a no good, very bad 2017, has just announced a massive “fresh start” for its superhero line, starting in May. The publisher released a short promo video this morning in which new editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski and longtime chief creative officer Joe Quesada tease a new direction for the so-called House of Ideas.
The overall gist appears to be: relaunched series with new No. 1 issues, high-profile creative teams taking over series in need of revitalization, brand-new series that accentuate the spots where the Marvel brand wants to grow (future film stars Ant-Man and the Wasp are notably emphasized in the video), and an emphasis on making the stories accessible to new and lapsed readers. A full list of details wasn’t immediately available, but it didn’t appear to be an out-and-out reset on the Marvel Universe — existing continuity will likely be preserved. IGN reports that there will be a new Avengers series launching, helmed by writer Jason Aaron and penciler Ed McGuinness — quite the team of titans. ComicBook.com has an exclusive reveal that there will be a new Venom series from Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman. Presumably, more exclusives will be appearing as the day goes on.
For longtime industry watchers, this is a move that will likely be met with skepticism. After all, this is hardly the first time in recent years that Marvel has said that fantastic newness is on the way. “Not since Marvel NOW! have we had such an overarching, line-wide change of talent on the Marvel Comics line,” Cebulski says in the video, referring to a similar all-new, all-different, except-not-actually-a-reboot initiative from … 2012. Not all that long ago. Between then and now, Marvel has executed multiple quasi-restarts with allegedly bold new directions (the most recent was their “Marvel Legacy” push from last year), and retailers have been frustrated by what they see as the cynicism of drumming up short-term enthusiasm without making substantial change in their approach to storytelling. (Plus, changing the numbering of a series can be confusing to readers who want to track where they are in an ongoing story.) There’s the possibility that Cebulski will offer a new perspective not seen under the reign of previous editor-in-chief Axel Alonso. But Marvel has a lot to do to prove that they’re not the superboy who cried wolf.