We have been following the reboots/relaunches of both Marvel and DC for a number of months, and have seen some great stories mixed with some serious duds come from both companies.
October 2012 saw the release of Uncanny Avengers #1, which served as the starting point for Marvel NOW. It also introduced us to the new combined world of the Avengers and the X-Men, although that hasn’t remained the main theme in some of the other Marvel NOW related titles.
Some characters have experienced great new heights thanks to Marvel NOW, while others are floundering or have disappeared altogether. We’ve already taken a look at some of the Losers of the New 52 and Marvel NOW, so now it’s time to check out some of the winners:
Cannonball & Sunspot
These two share a spot on this list as the ultimate Bro Duo of Marvel NOW. They first started working together in the New Mutants, which was the next generation of the X-Men. They then graduated to the militarist X-Force, earned a place on the X-Men (and in Sunspot’s case the Hellfire Club, briefly), and once again formed a New Mutants squad that worked closely with Cyclops’ X-Men. Now the duo have risen to the top of the top and joined the Avengers, earning the ultimate promotion in the Marvel Universe.
Another new mutant to join the team (although not a New Mutant), Eden Fesi has become the team’s resident teleporter, which is a power set usually reserved for the X-Men. Originally created by Jonathan Hickman for his Secret Warriors series, Eden studied under the mysterious teleporter Gateway. With a few clues already dropped regarding the importance of Manifold (and the various undisclosed characters who share the name) Eden is sure to continue to play a big role in Hickman’s Avengers run.
Morbius The Living Vampire
Michael Morbius has had a long career as both villain and hero. He’s worked with various groups like the supernatural Midnight Sons or the extradimensional organization known as A.R.M.O.R. Recently he graduated to his own title and city to protect, although he does so rather begrudgingly. This is a huge step up from his usual role as a vampiric monster created due to a scientific failure. While sales on the series might not be as high as some of the other Marvel NOW debuts, Morbius continues to adapt to his new heroic lifestyle, and even received a brand spanking new costume recently.
One of the biggest moments of Marvel NOW and Hickman’s Avengers run has been a new White Event, which saw the rebirth of the New Universe and a few of its stars, most notably Nightmask and Starbrand. Whereas the former wielders of the Starbrand all existed outside the Marvel Universe (with a few exceptions), Kevin Connor exists in the 616 in a very damaging way, as the Star Brand has long been known to wreak havoc with the other cosmic powers of the Marvel Universe. With his recent addition to the Avengers in Infinity, Starbrand is operating on a new level.
While her new series arrived slightly before the acknowledged start of Marvel NOW, Carol Danvers has experienced a serious heroic upgrade under the supervision of Kelly Sue DeConnick. Finally accepting her role as a legacy hero and adopting the Captain Marvel moniker, Carol has succeeded in both living up to the rank of Captain and following the path created by Mar-Vell. Leading the Avengers alongside Captain America, she continues to shine bright in Marvel NOW, with a possible power boost during Infinity doing nothing to slow her down.
Tony Stark’s status as one of the Big Three of the Marvel Universe hasn’t changed much during Marvel NOW, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t seen an upgrade of his own. With new armors and a new drive to see the universe, Stark joined the Guardians of the Galaxy and learned more about his true origin as an alien manipulated baby of science. While his presence on Earth remains a constant due to his remote controlled armors, it allows for his membership with the Avengers and the Illuminati to continue as he soars the spaceways with the GotG.
Fresh off her stint as a member of the former Secret Avengers, Valkyrie now leads her own team of Valkyrior over in Cullen Bunn’s Fearless Defenders. Alongside Misty Knight, Dani Moonstar, and many others, the female driven team is a huge step up for most of the characters involved, and has placed a number of characters in very unfamiliar circumstances. Misty Knight in particular has elevated her role as street level hero to one of the leaders of the still forming team, whose roster recently grew to include Hippolyta AKA Warrior Woman. The whole team has received a very welcome boost during Marvel NOW, and their potential as a major team in the Marvel U. is only beginning.
Bruce Banner’s current role in Marvel NOW is a unique departure from his usual adventures as the Hulk. As an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers, Banner is able to work on his scientific endeavors while finally using the Hulk as a tool for good, rather than mindless destruction. This new role for Hulk has really only been seen before when he assisted the Pantheon, though that is a far cry from his current S.H.I.E.L.D. duties. The inclusion of R.O.B. (Recording Observation Bot) that assists Hulk in his duties has brought a new dynamic to the tortured characters that we have never seen before, as we get to see the Banner controlled R.O.B. interact with his Hulk form. Plus, the Hulk finally has some decent clothes to work with.
While some fans may completely disagree with Spider-Man’s inclusion on this list, it’s hard to look past the upgrade Doc Ock has made in the heroic duties of Spider-Man. Sure, his style is harsh and his attitude sucks, but the technology and methodology behind his heroics has never been at a higher level. Spider-Bots roam the city of New York, sub-dermal micro tracers can track anyone he comes in contact with, and he employs a full time merc squad as well as numerous Spider-Tanks. Yeah, the Superior Spider-Man has certainly seen an upgrade.
Alex Summers has been an integral part of the X-Men lineup for years, starting out as one of the first recruits to join the original X-Men. He eventually joined and led the government sanctioned team known as X-Factor, spent some time in another universe as the leader of the Six, and led the Starjammers in a series of cosmic battles before returning to Earth and the X-Men. After Avengers vs. X-Men changed the superhero game, Havok was handpicked by Captain America to lead the Avengers Unity Squad in Rick Remender’s Uncanny Avengers. This is a huge promotion for a character who has spent his life in the shadow of his older brother (Scott Summers AKA Cyclops), and it’s hard to deny his heroic upgrade when he’s handing down orders to Captain America as the new public face of the Mutant Race.
Still in the first year of Marvel NOW, we are awaiting the second wave of new series to be released that will hopefully continue to elevate some of our favorite characters to new levels.