It’s Official: Marvel NOW! Relaunch (Updated)

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As you may have heard much of the speculation yesterday, Marvel Comics announced that they will be relaunching their catalog under the banner, Marvel NOW! This is not to be confused with a full on reboot (as DC did), but rather a relaunch of the core franchise, offering new titles, renumbered books, and new character designs. The news began with the announcement of Jean Grey’s return to the Marvel U, and it exploded from there. So far Bleeding Cool and and Newsarama among other sites have discovered the following titles will be released: “Uncanny Avengers” written by Rick Remender, “X-Men” by Brian Bendis, and “Avengers” by Jonathan Hickman. I think we all knew Marvel was due for something big post “AvX”, and now you can rest easy. More titles and more information are sure to be announced shortly.

UPDATE #1: It has been reported that Marvel will stretch out the relaunch over a period of 5 months. One new book will be released or relaunched every week, beginning in October and going February 2013. There are a total of 22 titles.

Above is the official image showing what appears to be Rick Remender’s new Avengers team including Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Cyclops, plus Rocket Raccoon.

UPDATE #2: Entertainment Weekly has posted lengthy examination of Marvel NOW! with quotes:

“It’s not hype when we say that ‘AvX’ is the culmination of a lot of stories we’ve done over the last several years,” says Marvel Editor-in-Chief, Axel Alonso. “Characters are redeemed or not. Characters are changed. The X-Men and the Avengers are both repositioned for the future. What better time to shake things up?” Alonso went on to draw a line between Marvel NOW and DC’s New 52, saying the titles would roll out over several months rather than in one month as, “I feel that it’s a much more humane approach for retailers and fans to tell them: ‘Look. In the months of October through February, every week you can go into a comic book store and find a few new jumping-on points for the Marvel Universe, a place you’re going to like visiting. Or revisiting.’”

Quesada commented on the first image of Uncanny Avengers, “There’s a reason Sue Storm is there. And why there’s a floating robot near Hulk. We’re trying a lot of fun and new different things, we’re exposing characters who we’ve had in our toy chest for a long time.”

Bendis says of Jean Grey, “It’s the one thing X-Men fans have always asked for is: They want Jean Grey back. But they want Jean Grey. Not reincarnated Jean, or the ghost of Jean. Well, you’re getting Jean back. And Jean is gonna be looking at a world that rattles her.”

Remender adds, “In 1943, Arnim Zola, who was this bio-fanatic engineer, recorded the Red Skull’s consciousness, and set it to wake up 70 years later. So the Red Skull [in 'Uncanny'] is right out of 1943-44. Prime Nazi scumbag. In his mind, he’s taking that vitriol and hate and Nazi horror and methodology, and pointing it at the mutant species.”