Superhero comics at Marvel and DC are, in general, dominated by characters created a long time ago. Superman and Batman were both products of the 1930s, and the newest of the six main characters in Marvel's Avengers movie was Hawkeye, who debuted in 1964.
Yet it's possible things might be shifting a bit if you look closely at some of the characters featured in the Marvel NOW! revamp that starts in earnest later this month with Uncanny Avengers #1. Several Marvel characters who came of age in the '80s, '90s and 2000s are in new, prominent positions, with a few stepping into starring roles for the first time.
Last week, we looked at characters whose Marvel NOW! fate is unclear, this time we look at ones who appear to be getting a major push — organized by the decade in which they first truly blossomed (not, necessarily, when the character first debuted).
She-Hulk: Jennifer Walters debuted in 1980, and though she's had a relatively low profile recently — there are, after all, two other She-Hulks at this point — she's one of the main characters of Matt Fraction and Mike Allred's FF, where she'll be filling in for Ben Grimm while the Fantastic Four are on a longer-than-planned family vacation.
Rogue: Rogue dates back to 1981, and though she's been a major character for a while — a nearly constant figure in the X-Men books and the star of X-Men Legacy — she's getting a promotion in the first Marvel NOW! series out of the gate, Uncanny Avengers, where she'll be fighting along side Captain America, Thor and Wolverine as part of the book's main cast.
Cannonball & Sunspot: Like Rogue, Cannonball and Sunspot are X-Men characters introduced in the '80s that are joining the Avengers for the first time. But it's an even bigger step up for them, as they've mostly been ensemble characters in side titles like New Mutants and X-Force for the majority of their existence. Though it's not clear how exactly big of a part they'll play in Avengers, simply being on the team equals a rise in stature for them both.
Legion: Perhaps the character experiencing the most elevation in Marvel NOW!, Legion was created by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz in 1985 (as his hairdo indicates), and though he's been a catalyst for some major stories — namely "Age of Apocalypse" — he's never been the star of an ongoing series, which changes as of the November-debuting new volume of X-Men Legacy.
Venom: The Venom symbiote was first seen in Secret Wars — one of the pillars of '80s Marvel — and though current host Flash Thompson is as Silver Age as it gets, the combination of the two is essentially a whole new entity, and though the Venom solo book is at this point unaffected by Marvel NOW!, the character is part of the upcoming Thunderbolts relaunch. (Elektra, an early '80s creation, is also in the lineup.)
Psylocke: "It's her time," new Uncanny X-Force writer Sam Humphries told Newsarama of Psylocke taking the lead in that series. "It's time for Psylocke to come up and seize the crown, and run her own mutant book." Though Betsy Braddock debuted in US comics in the mid-'80s, she's been through a lot since then, and it was the early '90s — and her inclusion in the Jim Lee X-Men #1 team — that truly established her as a fan favorite, and led to her current role.
Deadpool: Sure, Deadpool has been in a lot of comic books for a while, and is actually a little less exposed than he was a couple of years back. But he's a major component of Marvel NOW!, with both his solo series getting a new #1 in November, plus a part in the new Thunderbolts team.
Cable: If you want to get technical, Cable debuted back in the '80s as a baby. But the gun-toting cyborg known and loved by '90s comic fans made his first "real" appearance in that decade, and after some extended time off (and his resurrection in the Avengers: X-Sanction miniseires), Nathan Summers is back in a familiar role as the title character of writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Salvador Larroca's Cable and X-Force, and the advance interviews and early visuals have made it clear that they're embracing the influence of the era.
Red Hulk: Red Hulk's alter ego, Thunderbolt Ross, dates back to the Silver Age and 1962's Incredible Hulk #1. But the character was radically transformed when he became the Red Hulk in 2008, and though he no longer has a solo title and he doesn't appear to be a part of the Marvel NOW! Avengers, he's still central to the revamp as the leader of the new incarnation of Thunderbolts (itself one of the most enduring concepts from '90s Marvel).
Guardians of the Galaxy: The name "Guardians of the Galaxy" has been around Marvel since 1969, but it meant something very different until 2008, when it was used for a team of space-faring heroes including Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer and Rocket Raccoon (all existing characters, but new as a unit). That's the team that serves as inspiration for the 2014 Marvel Studios live-action film, and the one that's been featured of late in Avengers Assemble — and the one widely expected to star in a Marvel NOW! ongoing series (speculation fueled by the Marvel NOW! Point One teasers), though that hasn't yet been specifically confirmed. Maria Hill: One of Marvel's biggest success stories of the past decade, Maria Hill was created by Brian Michael Bendis and David Finch in 2005 and has already been seen in the wildly successful Avengers movie. Her next move is co-starring in Indestructible Hulk, starting in November. "She’s a control freak charged with overseeing the least predictable creature in the world," series writer Mark Waid explained to us.
Who's Next?There are several characters even more recently introduced that look to figure into Marvel NOW! in a big way, including the "new" Nick Fury and borrowed-from-the-movies Agent Coulson, both introduced in the recent Battle Scars miniseries and playing an as-yet unrevealed role in the revamp.
Avengers writer Jonathan Hickman has revealed that Eden Fesi from Secret Warriors will be joining Earth's Mightiest Heroes, under the moniker "Manifold." Then there are wholly new characters set to debut in Marvel NOW!, like Miss Thing in FF and new villain Gorr the God Butcher in Thor: God of Thunder — and with more Marvel NOW! announcements to come, it very well might not end there.More from Newsarama:
- Daniel Way Unleashes Red Hulk's Loud and Proud THUNDERBOLTS
- Matt Fraction on FANTASTIC FOUR's Voyage and FF's Mission
- Past, Present & Future THOR Star in Aaron's GOD OF THUNDER