It’s been quite a week of announcements from Marvel thus far, and we’re still a whole week from Comic-Con International! Some 36 hours ago, a new Thor was announced. Then, over two hours ago, it was confirmed that Sam “The Falcon” Wilson will wield the shield as Captain America. Now, just over an hour ago, Entertainment Weekly ties those two announcements and reveals the comic book publisher’s latest step to drawing new readers to their comic books.
Avengers NOW! follows closely behind Marvel NOW! and All-New Marvel NOW! and continues the clearly successful policy of bringing new and exciting creative teams to work new and exciting concepts. Beginning in October this year with the previously annouced Thor #1, it continues with All-New Captain America #1, also in October, and Superior Iron Man #1 in November. EW.com also reports that this initiative also includes the October debuts of two ongoing series – Deathlok and Bucky Barnes: the Winter Soldier, along with at least ten other titles currently in the planning stage.
Presumably, some of those titles will heavily feature the other characters included on the promotional poster, including some that will be making their silver screen debut in 2015. Scarlet Witch is set to appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron, on May 1, while Scott Lang is the eponymous star of Ant-Man, slated for a July 17 release. It’s also practically a given that Doctor Strange will feature in his own movie, which I’m guessing will be out for the Halloween 2015 weekend. The presence of the Inhumans Medusa and Dante aka Inferno continues to invite speculation about a potential film series that Marvel Films president Kevin Feige has yet to deny.
But the big news, of course, is the confirmation by Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment, who showed up on The Colbert Report hours ago and showed the cover art for All-New Captain America #1.
Featuring Sam Wilson in a new Cap outfit that incorporates the former Falcon’s trademark wings and goggles, and borrows design elements from Steve Rogers’ Super-Soldier duds, it literally will bring a whole new dimension to the character of Captain America – flight. In the meantime, the original Cap, Steve Rogers, unable to continue being a superhero due to an aged body, will now take on a supervisory, tactical role.
Many have already made less-than-gentle criticisms that the premise of All-New Captain America sounds a little too much like DC Comics’ Batman Beyond. I, for one, am curious exactly how writer Rick Remender is going to avoid falling into the trap of just borrowing plot points from the much-beloved but relatively short-lived animation.
Slightly unoriginal premise notwithstanding, I applaud Marvel for taking such a big risk in 2015 by promoting a new group of Avengers even as anticipation builds for Age of Ultron. That being said, I am also inclined to join cynics in thinking this is Marvel’s way of kicking their publishing arm’s synergy with their film division up a notch – by tweaking aspects of a character so as to not feel tied down to any one actor. As it is, Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie, who played Winter Soldier and Falcon respectively in Captain America: The Winter Soldier are now both viable contenders to replace Chris Evans as the new Captain America, after the latter’s contract runs out in 2017.