Tuesday morning Marvel made it clear to comic book retailers they weren’t kidding around when they announced changes are coming to their core Avengers titles in May 2015.
September begins the Avengers-New Avengers storyline “Time Runs Out,” which finds the two titles jumping ahead 8 months into the future of the Marvel Universe (into May 2015 to be exact). And now we know the culmination of “Time Runs Out” in May will almost certainly feature new, relaunched series for Avengers and New Avengers.
The publisher announced a special sales exchange program Tuesday, offering retailers who order a certain amount of copies of the upcoming Avengers & X-Men Axis #1 the ability to exchange two unsold copies for a copy of April 2015’s Avengers #44 “Final Issue variant”.
Yes, that almost has to mean a new Avengers #1 in May, which would make a new New Avengers #1 highly likely as well (conveniently, that month also sees Avengers: Age of Ultron hit theaters - Star Lord #1 and Rocket Raccoon #1 both launched just prior to Guardians of the Galaxy hitting the big screen, and Amazing Spider-Man #1 just prior to the second film bearing that title, so there’s precedent).
But could this also mean all Marvel titles will be getting new #1’s in May – i.e. a line-wide relaunch … and arguably a llne-wide reboot?
“Time Runs Out” is the culmination of Jonathan Hickman-written plot points about an incursion of parallel Universe Earths trying to occupy the same space as Marvel Earth, making the destruction of one of these Earth’s necessary to prevent the destruction of both Universes.
The September-launching story arc finds the incursions escalating and increasing in frequency - a Marvel “crisis” if you will. While time-travel and multi-dimension story arc can be self-contained in individual titles, like in the pages of “Ragnarok Now” in Uncanny Avengers, Marvel has made it clear “Time Runs Out” sets the stage for the entire Marvel Universe, with the rest of the MU titles eventually catching up to the jumped-ahead Avengers titles.
“This isn’t some maybe-future, this is the real deal, what’s awaiting the Marvel Universe in the coming year,” said Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort in an interview.
So if in April 2015 “Time Runs Out” for the Avengers team leading to new title launches and new status quos in May, and the rest of the Marvel Universe will then reflect whatever Universe/continuity events during or as a result of the storyline, Marvel followers certainly have to consider the possibility of an already frequent relaunch-friendly publisher putting new #1s on everything (a line-wide relaunch) and perhaps even consider new #1s and new status quos (line-wide reboot?) as being on the table.
Of course, Marvel would be testing the limits of relaunch frequency even for them. No less than four Avengers-family titles will relaunch this fall - Superior Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and Captain America and the Mighty Avengers. That would leave only a five or six issue runs for those titles before another new first issue.
For their part, Marvel declined to comment when asked if every Marvel title will have an “Final Issue variant” in April 2015, and further declined to comment asked of they’ll be a line-wide relaunch or reboot in May.