In anticipation of Avengers: Infinity War (go watch that wild trailer!), I've been thinking a lot about an idea repeated by Executive Producer Kevin Feige and others in recent interviews. When asked about the franchise post-Avengers 4, they tend to give a response that invokes "what comes next" and "the new status quo." If you follow superhero comics, you recognize this kind of language because it tends to surround big crossover events, resets, and reboots.
Reboots and resets are absolutely a necessary part of the peculiar genre of American superhero comics. DC's Action Comics #1 is about to hit its 80th anniversary this year. Like a snake shedding its skin or a lobster growing a new shell, to keep the characters and stories fresh you just have to hit the reset button. Marvel's approach tends to be a bit more gentle than DC's (see Crisis on Infinite Earths or New 52). They opt for soft resets that don't totally invalidate the publishing history, they just find a new starting point and streamline backstories to clear out excess baggage.
At its worse, however, it can be just a ploy to boost flagging sales. Marvel has done a few too many recently, and it's created fatigue... but then I came across this cover and it got me pretty excited for what might be coming:
(As a caveat, I'm going to put aside new Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski's various heinous antics, mostly out of respect to the great Joe Quesada who's stepped away from the movie studio to focus back in on the comics.)
What I love about this line up is that it balances a lot of factors. From an in-universe perspective, all of these characters have long heroic careers, they represent different corners of the Marvel U, and their powers and capabilities are well balanced. To Marvel's credit, while this is a "back to basics" move, each of these characters seems to be carrying their scars from past books (Thor Odinson quite literally).
From a business perspective, it finally feels like the comics division is finally taking the right cues from the movies. Doctor Strange did well, Black Panther was a phenomenon, and Captain Marvel is building hype. Now is definitely the right time to put them on a shelf with Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. And in terms of publishing, this feels like an effortless integration of racial and gender inclusion, especially thanks to the last few years of Black Panther and Captain Marvel books, which is a comforting signal that Marvel isn't caving to toxic voices in the fandom.
All that aside, I also just love a good team up. I'm ready to see a fully Hulked She-Hulk back to back with our reformed Thor. Cap and T'Challa in the field and an apparently reconciled Tony and Carol blasting from the skies. Also very interested in an explanation for why Ghost Rider is just hanging out back there, but I'm sure there's a good reason.
So here's a prompt for the comment section... what's the team up you want to see? Classic or unexpected, give me your 6-7 characters you'd like to see on a splash page. Can be Marvel or DC, just don't mix and match, I'm not in the mood for some Amalgam Comics stuff. Here's mine:
New Young Avengers / Champions
Loved both iterations of the Young Avengers book, though many of the characters have faded out. Since Patriot (Isaiah Bradley) seems out of commission, here's my new version of the team, pulling from other young heroes like the Champions:
- Hawkeye (Kate Bishop)
- Power Man (Victor Alvarez)
- White Tiger (Ava Ayala)
- Amadeus Cho (Not Hulked)
- Spider-Man (Miles Morales)
- Nova (Sam Alexander)
- America Chavez
Young genius Amadeus friend of Hercules and soon-to-be former Hulk, brings the strategy and technology. Kate Bishop, a wealthy heiress, friend and occasional caretaker of Clint Barton, is the team's tactician. Victor, the chi-infused protege of Luke Cage and Iron Fist, and Ava, the mystically enhanced inheritor of the White Tiger mantle, are your super-soldier combat types. Sam Alexander, one of the last remaining Novas, is your flying blaster and resident irresponsible team member. America Chavez, the multiverse hopping hero, is your heavy muscle. And you can't go wrong with a Spider-Man for good luck.
What's your dream team?