ReEvolution: Marvel's Next Big Thing Post-AvX?

Avengers vs.

X-Men #12

variant cover.

In March, Marvel unveiled their new multi-platform digital initiative and called it "ReEvolution." But it's looking like the actual "ReEvolution" is something much more than that.

The word "ReEvolution" appears twice in Marvel's September 2012 solicitations: The Marvel Firsts: ReEvolution trade paperback, and a "Marvel ReEvolution" poster by Joe Quesada — Marvel's chief creative officer, seemingly cementing that this is indeed a Big Deal. When asked several weeks ago about post-Avengers vs. X-Men plans, Marvel's director of communications Arune Singh stated, "there will be a ReEvolution of the Marvel U in the wake of AvX." (While again saying they're doing something big post-AvX, Marvel declined comment on this story.)

The ReEvolution collection is an interesting hodgepodge of stories from Marvel's recent to semi-distant past, and the list of writers involved — Brian Michael Bendis, Matt Fraction, Dan Slott, Jonathan Hickman, Rick Remender, Kieron Gillen, Mark Waid and Jason Aaron — include some whose long-term futures have been in doubt for months, plus a few surprising additions.


The ReEvolution trade paperback is scheduled for release on Oct. 17, three weeks after Avengers vs. X-Men #12, the final issue of Marvel's currently ongoing event series. Since before the first issue of AvX was even released, it's been obvious that Marvel has planned something fairly extensive coming after it. As Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso told us in May, "the Marvel Universe is changed by AvX. It is not a reboot or a retcon. It is the Marvel Universe that you grew up in. But this story in many ways sort of serves as an endcap to a decade's worth of stories that we've been telling, and I think it begins a great first chapter for the next decade's worth of stories we're going to tell."

Also last month, Bendis said to Newsarama that "what's coming at Marvel after Avengers vs. X-Men is, on paper, what Marvel does better than anybody. It's very exciting stuff. I got an Excel sheet of everything, I was looking at it: 'That just looks strong as hell. That looks killer.' I'm very excited about all of it, and my place in it."


It's clear that a key component of this "ReEvolution" is creative team shifts. On the same day AvX was announced — Dec. 6, 2011 — news broke that Bendis would be leaving the Avengers franchise after eight years. Three months later came word that Hickman — already departing from Ultimate Comics Ultimates — was transitioning off Fantastic Four and FF in October, which would be the month after AvX ends.

Though it hasn't been officially announced yet, it's been apparent for a while that Fraction and Salvador Larroca might be leaving Invincible Iron Mantelling us in February that they were in the "final stretch" — and that Waid would likely be adding more to his Marvel slate beyond the overwhelmingly acclaimed, Eisner-nominated Daredevil; saying earlier this year there was a "good chance" of such a thing. Just this week, Marvel senior editor Mark Paniccia quietly announced in a Q&A that Jason Aaron would be leaving Incredible Hulk in the near-ish future, stating "Jason’s got a really great handle on the character and is building a conclusion to his run."

Uncanny X-Force

#31 cover.

So it's not surprising to hear that Bendis, Hickman, Fraction, Waid and Aaron are components of an upcoming Marvel initiative involving creative team shifts. Dan Slott, Rick Remender and Kieron Gillen are somewhat less expected, but are each important writers at Marvel, and likely candidates to be included in a high-profile promotional push from the publisher.

It's hard to imagine Slott budging from his gig on the twice-monthly Amazing Spider-Man, but he's been writing the book since 2008, first as part of the Spidey "brain trust" — his first issue of ASM, #546, is included in the ReEvolution collection — and he's packed in a lot (a lot) of stories in during that time. It's at least possible that even a Spidey fanatic like Slott might be looking for a new challenge, and issue #700 (likely hitting at the tail end of 2012) could be a natural stopping point.

Remender has already been established as leaving Venom in August, leaving a hole in his schedule. Or is it two? The title of the current Uncanny X-Force arc, "Final Execution," certainly has a definitive ring to it, and it's worth noting that Remender's story in the ReEvolution trade paperback is Uncanny X-Force #1 (alongside Bendis's first issue of Avengers, #500.)


Gillen is currently writing Uncanny X-Men and Journey Into Mystery for Marvel, and he's been direct that JIM has been conceived as a finite run for him: "I have it all planned to the conclusion now," Gillen told Newsarama in February. Given the rampant (yet unconfirmed, albeit not completely denied) rumors that Bendis will be taking over X-Men after AvX, it's possible that Gillen could be exiting Uncanny as well.

Ed Brubaker — the only AvX co-writer not present in the ReEvolution trade paperback — is somewhat conspicuous by his absence, which could simply mean he's sticking with his current titles Captain America and Winter Soldier; or, as is always the case with speculating this far in advance, isn't actually relevant at all. But there you go.


While it's evident that Marvel has major creative team changes coming after AvX, it seems to be a good bet that in-story shake-ups are coming as well. While everyone involved has emphasized that does not equate a New 52-style reboot — and given that books like Fraction and David Aja's Hawkeye are debuting as late as August, that seems credible — what if, among many other possibilities, Cyclops' prediction for the Phoenix force comes true, and the mutant population really is replenished by the end of the event series? It would seem to fit the "ReEvolution" tag, and provide an amount of verbal symmetry to "Decimation" — the branding for post-House of M stories after Scarlet Witch wiped out the mutant population in 2005.

So when will we know more about Marvel's future? Looks like next month at Comic-Con International in San Diego. The show runs from July 12-15, putting it right around the same time as Marvel's October solicitations should surface. It's likely that the company will hold those back until a couple days after the convention wraps, to make a splash announcing at least some of what they have planned for "ReEvolution" — while likely being vague about AvX's storyline outcome — at the biggest convention of the year.

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