Marvel may be on top of the world right now, but they’re certainly not sitting pretty by their characters. The comic bastion has been shaking things since up the dawn of their All-New, All-Different Marvel, moving through discontinuing the Fantastic Four, the shocking reveal of Steve Rogers as an agent of Hydra, and the next devastating superhero schism in Civil War II. The Marvel NOW! reboot is about to kick off, but it doesn’t look like a return to the status quo by any means.
Teased throughout the past couple months, the comic giant recently revealed their Fall Divided We Stand lineup, and things appear to be anything but normal for Marvel’s comic book universe.
The latest lineup was revealed today via a gorgeous poster from Marvel NOW! by Mike Deodato via CBR (who also created the teaser images), showing a still very-much-split group of superheroes. On one side, Victor Von Doom stands (ominously holding Iron Man’s helmet) in front of a group of assembled heroes. His cohorts include Solo, Foolkiller, Jessica Jones, Quake, Captain Marvel, Elektra, Thor Odinson, American Kaiju (maybe Fin Fang Foom?), Slapstick, Steve Rogers Captain America, Black Panther, Gamora, and Cable. As Marvel EiC Axel Alonso discussed with FastCompany, the team lineups pictured are important:
“They're all there because they matter. They'll either be in a solo series, or they'll be a key member of a team, or they'll do something that you will be talking about in a Marvel book that will bring them into a position of prominence. They're there for a reason. Including that big, big, big what appears to be a Godzilla foot.”
The other side appears to be led by Riri Williams (from the Invincible Iron Man series) and Kamala Khan’s Ms. Marvel, presumably those who left Civil War II at odds with Captain Marvel and Von Doom’s crew. Among the collected Marvel bigwigs are Gwenpool, Mosaic, Miss America Chavez, Squirrel Girl, the All-New Wasp (revealed as Hank’s daughter from his first wife, Nadia Pym), Prowler, Moon Girl, Kate Bishop’s Hawkeye, the Hulk (looking very much like Totally Awesome’s Amadeus Cho), Miles Morales’ Spider-Man, and of course, Doctor Strange.
Like everything in the Marvel universe, the characters not included in the lineup are also missing on purpose. Alonso states:
“This is not an event. It's the status quo of the Marvel Universe in the aftermath of the war. It's a glimpse as to whom we can point to in the coming year, with just enough 'What the heck's going on there' spots to get people speculating. 'There's no Tony Stark in that picture, but who's that guy holding the helmet? Is that Doctor Doom?' 'The young girl in the gray armor looks a lot like the new War Machine.”
The characters pictured in the reboot promo are significant, in that they represent the still-fractured world after the fallout from Civil War II – such as Riri Williams in War Machine armor, Amadeus Cho’s Hulk, and Hawkeye/Kate Bishop. However, the absentee (or underrepresented teams) major heroes are missing are the biggest cause for curiosity. While Iron Man’s helmet shows up in Von Doom’s hand, the rest of Tony Stark is absent. In addition, original Spider-Man Peter Parker is nowhere to be seen, nor does Sam Wilson’s Captain America, Daredevil, Deadpool, Luke Cage, or Jane Foster’s Thor make an appearance. Team-wise, Cable is the only X-Men team member represented, while Gamorra is the only Guardian of the Galaxy cohort and the bulk of the Inhumans are also absent.
With Marvel deemphasizing the X-Men, possibly due to FOX’s usage rights, it’s understandable that the reboot won’t heavily feature them at the moment. At the same time, rumblings about the Inhumans’ abilities (in particular, new Inhuman Ulysses’s foresight) are to a degree what causes the superhero chasm in Civil War II, so their absence from the Marvel NOW! may be the result of them laying low in the fallout. The real question is: why are Tony Stark, Sam Wilson, and Peter Parker (as with the rest of the Guardians crew), among others MIA?
Will some devastating event cause the deaths of these beloved characters? Have the missing heroes left the Marvel/Avenger team folds a la Tony Stark after Age of Ultron or are they laying low in the aftermath of Civil War II? Could they be on a secret mission? Marvel certainly is betting that we’ll stick around to find out the potentially shocking revelations when Marvel NOW! launches this fall.
Marvel NOW! Divided We Stand launches this October. We'll keep you posted on any further fallout from Civil War II.