Marvel: We’re at NOW! Now

Because I am older than the wind, and the water, and the word “Fahrvergnügen,” my first years of adulthood were filled with a lot of MTV, Van Halen, and Crystal Pepsi. Back then, MTV used to show music videos all the time, Van Halen music videos specifically. Someone under the age of, say, 27 today would probably react to turning on MTV in the middle of the day and seeing a Van Halen video about the same way I’d have reacted if I’d turned on MTV to see them showing Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer, but I assure you this did happen every day.

Above: what we saw when we closed our eyes in 1993.

In 1993, videofied Van Halen reached full ubiquity when their song “Right Now,” already blaring from every Walkman and CRT television in America, was used in all of the launch ads for the aforementioned sweet, unblemished nectar of the gods Crystal Pepsi. In 1993, between the radio, Dial MTV showing the video, and every other network showing delicious, doomed, ROM of Drinks Crystal Pepsi’s commercial takeoff of the video, the average young American was exposed to “Right Now” approximately four times per second for the better part of six months.

This is probably why, nearly twenty years later, I cannot see the words “Marvel NOW!” without Sammy Hagar bursting through the walls of my consciousness like Kool-Aid Man and shrieking, “Hey! It’s your tomorrow!” Within seconds, I am picturing the video:

Right NOW!, someone is choosing to focus on how well Greg Land draws suits of armor.

Right NOW!, Peter Parker must have something unbelievable up his sleeve.

Right NOW!, the Punisher and Elektra are trading awkward small talk at a work mixer.

Right NOW!, a Runaway is being killed by someone you’ve never heard of.

Right NOW!, Marvel is rebooting things we think only other companies reboot.

Right NOW!, it’s sort of weird to brand with the word NOW! things that are coming out weekly over the course of several future months.

Right NOW! is always happening, I guess. We’re at NOW! now.

I will pass hours this way.

The question now (right NOW!) is: will Marvel’s 2013 initiative be the next Diet Coke, universally beloved and addictive to millions, or will it be the next Crystal Pepsi, woefully misunderstood and unfairly derided despite being the best thing that ever happened to an undeserving public? Obviously it’s too soon to tell at the moment, but the signs so far have been remarkably positive.

Of course, any impression of the fresh new starts may be colored somewhat by the gray. rain-soaked Bummer Parade that preceded them. I took a couple of weeks off from my regular reading only to return to a relentless, punishing barrage of final issues and farewell letters from long-running creative teams. You sit down for an afternoon of pleasure reading, not realizing you’re holding the last The Avengers, the last Avengers Academy, the last The Defenders, the last New Mutants, and the last Captain America, and before you know it you’re on the phone with your mom, sobbing into your shirt sleeve and promising to visit more. The month before Marvel NOW! should have been branded Marvel Kills All Your Childhood Dogs. Jesus Christ.

But that’s in the rearview mirror. Ever onward, and all that. What do we think about the new stuff?

Of all the #1s that have made their way to my hands so far, only Iron Man has turned me into a Law & Order judge (“Mmmm, I’ll allow it for now, Mr. Stark, but this had better be going somewhere”). The others have all been unqualified pleasant surprises. Just for starters: right when you think they have wrung every drop of juice out of the Hulk story, a talented writer like Mark Waid comes along and says, “Hey, did you guys notice this premise lying right out in front of everyone? I almost tripped over it on my way in. If this doesn’t already belong to anybody, I might go ahead and use it to make a great series.” I went from “oh, what is this now?” to counting the days until #2 within the span of ten pages or so.

Particularly deserving of a shout-out is Avengers Assemble by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Stefano Caselli. This book… I have been thinking about dropping this book since before it came out. Brian Bendis has been a favorite of mine for a long time, but from the day it was announced this title sounded like the story of ink and paper on a quest to find the reason they existed. I had missed the Guardians of the Galaxy so much, but even with their help the team was unable to solve the mystery of “why am I still buying this?” When it was announced that the book would soon be placed in the capable hands of Someone Other Than My Favorite Writer, I was delighted by the prospect of writing it off, but when the new issue arrived all those nights of asking my daughter, “How do you know you won’t like it if you haven’t tried it?” caught up to me and I caved. Thank God I did; this is the book I didn’t even know I was missing until I got it. During the Bendis Avengers Era, the team was so crowded and so beleaguered by one huge cataclysm after another, the day-to-day character interactions suffered over time. Even when they had a moment to sit around the kitchen and talk, there was no place to sit because forty-seven people were in there Mamet-ing around. Seeing DeConnick’s team, so far much more manageable and given enough room to let characterizations breathe, hit me in a spot I didn’t remember I had. Caselli’s deftness with expressive faces only helped the cause. This is now my book to watch.

If even half of these Marvel NOW! series ignite like Avengers Assemble, I will be in abject poverty by April.

What about you? I know this one hasn’t garnered the breathless, minute-to-minute coverage of a New 52, but I’ll bet there are at least some of you out there trying the #1s and relaunches for the sake of it. How’s it looking Right NOW?


Jim Mroczkowski would have stockpiled Crystal Pepsi, if only the internet had been around to warn him Twinkie-style.


  1. Only book thats on my list from marvel Now is Uncanny Avengers. Have read all the 1’s so far and they arn’t as good. Will definatley be buying Jonathan Hickmans Avengers and New Avengers when they come out, also Superior spider-man.

  2. I check out all Marvel Now 1’s so far,and the ones that I want to stick with so far are
    Uncanny Avengers
    All New X-Men

    The rest was either poor writing or just bad art..IMOP

  3. I kept thinking of the movie Dogma…”Catholicism WOW!”and totally expecting a buddy Christ (or Buddy Doom, Hulk, Wolverine or Spidy or something like that)

    Now! has given me an opportunity to make a clean break. Just a reminder that the more they change, the more its mostly just the same. Its not them its me….feel like i need to go read obscure black and white comics or something these days…try something completely different. Kinda worn out i think.

  4. Make Rick Moranis stop looking at me.

  5. “I have been thinking about dropping this book since before it came out” is both a hilarious line and a profound statement on what it means to be a comic-book reader these days. 🙂

  6. I wholeheartedly agree about Iron Man. 2 issues in and I feel like nothing has occurred and there is no direction… I feel like Gillen is trying to remind people all the basics about Iron Man without delving any deeper, but even someone who has only watched the movies knows the basics of the character… give us more.

  7. I felt the same way about Avengers Assemble . . . and I also liked Indestructible Hulk, though I read the whole thing believing it was a Jason Aaron book for some reason and kept thinking, “Why does this feel like a Mark Waid book? Oh right!” But anyway, two good Hulk-featuring books after the Avengers movie reminded everybody that Bruce Banner is an interesting character.

    I’m also sticking with Thor (though I always say this about Thor books and then they somehow disintegrate from my pull list) and I’m at least curious to keep going with the Fantastic Four & FF series.

  8. Loved the shout out for Assemble. That book was such a fun surprise.

  9. I did pick up Thor after hearing so many great things about it and really enjoyed it. Thor books in general are a tough sell for me, because eventually i get really frustrating with the Thor speak + the Font choice for said speech becoming difficult for my eyes. So it will be interesting to see how long i’ll stick with this one.

  10. Books I’m keeping: Uncanny Avengers, Wolverine and the X-Men

    Books I’m leaving behind: Fantastic Four, FF, Journey Into Mystery.

    Books I’m excited for: Avengers, Superior Spider-Man (as long as the next two issues of ASM don’t throw some new wierd monkey wrench into the works).

    Books I liked but will probably trade-wait: Thor, All-New X-Men.

    I really liked Remender’s first issue of Uncanny and will at least see it through to the end of the first arc. Wolverine and the X-Men is a no brainer.

    I loved Hickman on the Fantastic Four, so I can’t wait to see what he does with the even larger palette of Avengers (if his team dynamics are anything like Red Mass for Mars, it will be awesome). But, I liked HICKMAN on Fantastic Four, not the team itself so much, and after the POTW podcast review of #1, I don’t think I made a bad decision. Same with FF. I tried the first issue of Journey into Mystery, and it just wasn’t the wacky Kieron Gillen book I’d come to love. Wasn’t a big fan of the art either.

    I’ve tried both Thor #1 and All-New X-Men #1, and they were very good books, but nothing about them made me feel like I really need to see what happens in #2 right now. I’ll check them out from the local library if they get them, or I’ll buy them on the cheap if I hear good things.

    After ASM #698, Superior Spider-Man will be really good – if this status quo change sticks. And, even if it only sticks for a year or so, it’ll be like Bucky Cap – a great contained story that was fun while it lasted.

  11. Very happy to see Avengers Assemble getting some love. Up to this point, I think I’ve read all the Marvel NOW books (except A+X, because fuck that), and that was definitely the biggest surprise hit with me so far. It’s something that I’ve been waiting awhile for, and give me my Iron Man fix since I just couldn’t get through Land’s penciled IM issue and won’t be as long as he’s artist.

  12. I have been very pleased by the majority of Marvel’s new titles.

    Hulk, Uncanny Avengers, Deadpool and Thor have been home runs.
    Unfortunately, with the double shipping that they are going to be doing I will not be able to afford all the titles that I like.

    • I really think this is going to be the case for a lot of people. Do they really think that people are just going to double their comic budget? Pushing them out this fast also makes me think they will be of lower quality as artists rush to get things done and as more guest artists have to fill in.

  13. I’ve been secretly enjoying Xtreme X-Men. I know its just another version of eXiles, but its been a fun trip so far. Has it flown under the NOW! radar and will survive, or is it slowly crawling off into the woods to die around issue 10?

  14. People who say, “It’s more of the same with a number 1 on the cover” must have not read anything form the last 8 years of Captain America. It is nothing like Issue 1 was last week. I’ve loved Marvel Now! thus far. I wish my budget could fit more of their books.

    It might fade back to so-so quality like the New 52 did. I tried 14 and will only be pulling 4 once Morrison’s run on Bat Inc ends. Hopefully this is the start of a long run of high quality books at Marvel.

  15. Uncanny Avengers- very meh.
    Thor- Interesting, could become a great book.
    Deadpool-love Tony Moore’s art, but don’t really get the writing style.
    All New X-Men- Stuart Immonen is amazing. Story COULD be good.
    Hulk- Not bad.
    Captain America- Rock solid.
    Legacy- props for marvel doing such an unusual book, but it won’t find it’s audience.
    Fantastic Four- not horrible, but nowhere near the top of the list.

    This whole move seems to me like Marvel is trying to reboot ala DC’s New52, and will see what sells and cancel what doesn’t. I don’t see much future for formulaic superhero books anymore, considering the amount of diverse material coming out these days(with Image leading the pack). Books like Punk Rock Jesus, Prophet, Luther Strode, Revival, Saga, Manhattan Projects and the like being at the top of my reading pile, the superhero stuff is usually last-read and mostly appreciated for the remarkable artwork, NOT the stories. I am not knocking anyone’s taste, just…growing as a reader and a consumer. I would rather support the lesser-known creators that need my money than Marvel and Dc’s latest round of property-mining comic books…

  16. Enjoyed:
    Uncanny Avengers
    All New X-men
    Thor: God of Thunder
    Indestructible Hulk
    Avengers Assemble.

    Enjoyed #1 but will see for how long:
    Fantastic Four
    Captain America

    Not so much:
    Iron Man
    X-men Legacy

    Overall, I think this is a promising start.

  17. In the words of Brian Regan:

    “Now… No… Now… NOW!… Then!”

  18. I’m using Marvel NOW as an opportunity to take a breathe and catch up on some stuff, so I’m not picking up anything. When I want to dive back in, I will know where to start. I’m not dropping anything that isn’t restarting if I’m also enjoying it(Daredevil, WATXM, Hawkeye, Age of Apocalypse), but no new titles across the entire comics spectrum. I’ve been reading superheroes for 20 years, so I’m not sure what else can be done with the genre, especially the Big 2, that hasn’t been done already.

  19. Used to love her: Fantastic Four, FF, Journey into Mystery

    So Fine: Wolverine and the X-Men, Daredevil, X-Factor

    You Could be Mine: Thor God of Thunder, New Avengers, FF

    • So nothing’s put you in a Coma?

      Marvel and me have been Estranged for some time now, I don’t think even new #1s could bring me back and not really interested in any of it…even Yesterday’s got nothing for me.

      ha–ah ha ha… I just wanted an excuse to make more references. 🙂

  20. Loved:
    Captain America
    Avengers Assemble
    X-Men Legacy
    Indestructible Hulk
    Thor God of Thunder

    Kinda liked:
    Uncanny Avengers

    Ok but flawed art:
    Iron Man
    Fantastic Four

    Not loving:
    All New X-Men (this premise is fucked)
    Journey Into Mystery

    Looking forward to FF (which looks awesome) Avenger Arena, Avenging Spiderman with Chris Yost, Wolverine, Bendis Uncanny (mostly for Bachallo) and Hickmans Avengers. Also I hate all of you that are in love with Dan Slott’s Spiderman. I’m sorry but I think his run is terrible and the freaky friday premise with Doc Ock is hack move. Free Zeb Wells.

    • i so agree with you it seems i’m the only one who doesn’t lke slott at first it was good Now it has got bad thinking about dropping and picking up avenging for yost

  21. Pre-NOW! (past? previous?) Marvel books I was enjoying:
    Wolverine & The X-Men

    NOW! Books I’m sticking with:
    Thor GOT
    All New X-Men
    Uncanny Avengers

    I may pick up Cornell’s Wolverine in March. And Hulk, Cap, and Hickman’s Avengers all have me intrigued, but I’m gonna wait them out. With this many books double-shipping, I just can’t afford it. I’ve got my eye on them though.

    For the first time in a decade I’m reading almost the same amount of Marvel and DC titles. For a DC “purist” like me, that’s kind of a big deal. It’s has less to do with NOW! and more to do with the X-Men books luring me back in for the first time in ten years. Since Schism, the X-Men have shown me around the place, and I gotta say, I’m having a ball. It’s really great to read Marvel characters again. I’m really enjoying everything I’m reading.

  22. So far, I enjoyed Uncanny Avengers, All New -Men and I will be reading Hulk this Friday. What I’ve seen thus far has been great. And Hickman’s Avengers will most likely join that list. Overall, Marvel has me buying more product then I was previously.

  23. I’m dropping all my Marvel titles except Captain Marvel.

    I’m not a Marvel NOW! hater or boycotter; I might pick up Avengers Arena.

    Going to stick with my DC titles and use the extra money from my comic budget to explore other titles and publishers.

  24. Well so far Marvel is 2/2 for me when it comes to the new books. Deadpool is back in top form and Indestructible Hulk has made me a fan of Hulk again. Uncanny Avengers wasn’t bad, but I’m still not sure if I’m down for it. If anything I’ll give it a trade wait since the first issue did hook me. Everything else for me is either later in the year or next year. The Avengers books by Hickman are an agonizing , Thunderbolts might be a good read with the creative team, and hell I’m gonna buy a Wolverine book thanks to Cornell/Davis.

    Other then those six books though, I am not interesting in the majority of the Marvel Now books. I don’t want to read anything by Bendis, Greg Land is ruining Iron Man, and everything else just doesn’t hold my interest. Still, Marvel has done a good job keeping me from dropping all of their books. If it wasn’t for this relaunch I would only be buying Daredevil at this time of the year.

    • Thunderbolts has always been a team consisting of villains or characters that needed reform right, so help me out here and while the red n black really looks cool on those characters in contrast amongst each other, especially Punisher, Venom and Deadpool but Red Hulk and Elektra are already red n black which makes the line up seem gimmicky (I know Deadpool is too but he looks great next to Venom and Frank all firing guns). So, what I’m getting a is are they still a team of criminals being reformed by choosing being a Thunderbolt over prison? They definitely all have done criminal acts, Deadpool is a borderline villain and just obvious reform cadidate (really would’ve liked him w Cable and X-Force for old times, love him w Cable and Domino), Red Hulk has probably committed war crimes as General Ross, Elektra is a vigilante, Venom is pretty much already doing the Thunderbolt shuffle for Uncle Sam and the obvious vigilante Punisher is there and I hope it’s because the current War Zone mini series where the Avengers are finally going after him for his crimes. If my Punisher conviction prediction checks out this could be really cool and scratch the gimmicky off it.

  25. Listen, there was a billboard for Crystal Pepsi in south Austin until 2002. When my friends and I discovered this in 1998 or 1999 we would drive by every few months to see if it was still there. When I came home from my first semester of college in 2002 it was gone. I really think my days of being a child ended that day and from then on I was whatever we’d call a non-child, non-adult human.

  26. I’m not interested until Marvel moves all their books back to 2.99.

    Might pick up FF – that’s it.

  27. I have a few things to say about this Now! 1st off, I loved Uncanny Avengers but don’t think I would’ve loved it as much if I hadn’t read a few of the main events like House of M, The Messiah trilogy, Schism, and plenty of Avengers material from Disassembled, Initiative, New Avengers,Mighty Avengers and known the key moments and events that had the most impact from all that and AvsX. All the substance,layers, tension and continuity altering moments give this book much more depth and meaning. Someone not knowing the past leading up to this might not care as much about why this is happening or enjoy the book so much even if they were filled in.They’re loss. Anyway, moving on, I am buying the 1st issues of 90% of Now and will probably drop most of them due to dbl shipping and a 3.99 price tag on books printed on much cheaper paper than Image,IDW,Dark Horse..etc….(they do smaller print runs so can afford to, I know) but they also don’t fill they’re overpriced books with in house ads every few pages with stuff if you’re a Marvel fan are most likely already aware of, and I don’t mind a cpl ads with good teaser images of other titles but pajamas, backpacks, lunch boxes and every book coming out all the same in every book,is too much. Now, all that being said its almost a slap in the face to charge 3.99 for cheaper paper filled with ads and coming off the press looking less than new with ink stains and creased up covers on Wednesday, especially to long time loyal readers. I know I’m gonna love and want to keep up with a few of these titles already and not sure if I’m gonna due to the principal of all I see wrong with it and overpriced issues dbl shipped gets too expensive and makes it harder to keep up with the many other excellent comics out there, whether its a money matter or just lack of time to read em all, it’s too many too often and forces me to just say I’m sitting this one out for most of the season and I’m not even gonna try Ironmans solo book because he’ll be in 5 other books anyway including Guardians of the Galaxy(which I hope fits cause I really don’t want him there). $2.99 is a fair price and I know Marvel wants to dominate, wait they do but there are plenty of other solid comics coming from solid publishers. For the record Jim, I loved the article,was a pre teen/ teen when MTV still played videos and loved Crystal Pepsi!!!

  28. So far Now! is firing on all cylinders and scoring waaaay more hits than misses.

    Avengers Assemble
    All New X-Men
    Journey Into Mystery
    Indestructible Hulk

    Like enough to give it an arc+:
    Captain America
    Iron Man (We all know no one would have anything bad to say if not for Land)
    Uncanny Avengers
    Fantastic Four

    Dont get it and probably wont read more than another issue or two:
    Red She-Hulk
    A+X (I love out of continuity team-ups as much as the next guy, but in this market, is this book really necessary?)

    So far i’m completely on board with these creative teams…I cant wait to see how they flex on these new assignments.

    • And I know a lot of you hate the double ships, but I love the fact that I’ve already gotten 2 deadpool in the last 3 weeks, and I’ll have my second All New X-men on wednesday!! Keep giving me more of the good, Marvel!!

  29. I thought I was the only one who remembers Crystal Pepsi fondly. I’ve felt so alone…