Marvel Comics has been no stranger to line-wide initiatives in the last five years, frequently rebranding direction alongside scattershot title relaunches, new characters taking over familiar titles and shakeups in the wake of events like Civil War II and Secret Empire. Most recently, Marvel restored many of its titles to “legacy numbering,” counting all (or most, anyway) issues of a title published across multiple volumes, suddenly jumping new series like Mighty Captain Marvel into the triple digits. This May, however, Marvel is going even bigger with a line-wide relaunch, long rumored in industry circles, as teased by the “Fresh Start” video released this morning.
It’s not clear if “Fresh Start” will be the relaunch’s official title, but the announcement video, which features clips from Editor in Chief C.B. Cebulski and Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, teases “new series, new creative teams, new directions [and] new beginnings,” with Quesada promising “Fresh Start” will be the perfect jumping-on-point for both new fans and lapsed readers, a clear correlation to DC Comics’ successful “Rebirth” relaunch that began in 2016.
The teaser image, with art from Marvel mainstay Jim Cheung, mostly centers characters with a high multi-media profile, including the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s newest star, Black Panther; upcoming MCU headliners Ant-Man, Wasp and Captain Marvel; and Netflix favorites like Punisher, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. Rather than bold new redesigns, Cheung’s promotional art finds Captain America, Iron Man, Thor Odinson, Spider-Man Peter Parker and the Bruce Banner Hulk in more iconic looks than they’ve sported in recent years. Popular recent additions like Ms. Marvel, the Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider and the Miles Morales Spider-Man are prominently displayed, but there’s a notable absence of characters like Moon Girl, Falcon, Ironheart, the Kate Bishop Hawkeye, Amadeus Cho, Gwenpool and Squirrel-Girl, all of whom disrupted the white-male dominance of mainstream comics and received big pushes by Marvel in recent years. And while mutants are ably represented by Wolverine, Jean Grey, Gambit and Deadpool, no Inhumans aside from Ms. Marvel have made the cut.
Full title and creator information for the May relaunch should arrive in the next two weeks, as solicitation text for that month will feed to retailers soon. IGN has the first scoop to kick off the new era: Marvel Legacy writer Jason Aaron and artist Ed McGuinness will helm the flagship Avengers title, featuring a line-up of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor Odinson, Black Panther, Jennifer Walters (who may be going by Hulk or She-Hulk), Captain Marvel, Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider and Doctor Strange, who is said to be in a rotating role on the team. Avengers will split its story between the modern-day team and the prehistoric Avengers from 1,000,000 B.C. that were revealed by Aaron and Esad Ribic in last year’s Marvel Legacy #1 one-shot.
CBR also has first details on Venom from the new creative team of Doctor Strange and Thanos writer Donny Cates and Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows artist Ryan Stegman. Stay tuned to Paste for more information on “Fresh Start” as it becomes available.
Update as of 4/3/2018:
Here’s everything else we know about “Fresh Start” as February comes to a close:
Black Bolt’s Saladin Ahmed and artist Eric Nguyen will helm the five-issue Quicksilver: No Surrender.
Matthew Rosenberg (Phoenix: Resurrection) will resurrect another character: Multiple Man Jamie Madrox, with JLA artist Andy MacDonald.
Thanos writer Donny Cates will spin the Cosmic Ghost Rider into his own series, with an unannounced artist.
Jason Aaron will continue his multi-year Norse epic in a new Thor #1 with artist Mike Del Mundo, featuring the Odinson incarnation of the hero (and a weird new hammer).
Writer Al Ewing and artist Joe Bennett will unleash The Immortal Hulk, a horror-influenced take on the Jade Giant.
Mighty Captain Marvel writer Margaret Stohl will follow the character to The Life of Captain Marvel #1, a refreshed origin story illustrated by Carlos Pacheco ahead of the character’s pending film debut. Stohl is the first woman announced as part of “Fresh Start,” although Gail Simone and David Baldeón’s Domino mini-series will launch the month before and has been included in some round-ups of Marvel’s new slate.
We knew Dan Slott was slated to take over the MCU’s original star, and now we know who’s joining him: Guardians of the Galaxy and Marvel Two-in-One artist Valerio Schiti will team with Slott for Tony Stark: Iron Man, which Slott describes as “somewhere between Rick & Morty and Black Mirror.”
In perhaps the most surprising announcement yet, Jeff Lemire—who recently launched The Terrifics at DC Comics—will join artist Kim Jacinto to bring back The Sentry following the character’s surprise return in Doctor Strange.
Starting in July, Laura Kinney ditches the Wolverine moniker in X-23 #1 from writer Mariko Tamaki and artist Juann Cabal.
Kim & Kim co-creator Magdalene Visaggio and artist Laura Braga will give Dazzler a one-shot solo outing in Dazzler: X Song.
Inhumans naysayers could be in for a treat: Donny Cates and artist Ariel Olivetti will helm Death of the Inhumans, which may or may not play out literally.
The one everyone was waiting for: Fantastic Four will finally return this summer, from writer Dan Slott (Silver Surfer) and artist Sara Pichelli (Spider-Men).
Cebulski has revealed an X-Men event or storyline via tweet: X-Men: Extermination by Ed Brisson and Pepe Larraz with covers by Mark Brooks. The teaser image suggests that the original five X-Men may have their days numbered…