Marvel announces its ambitious plan to counter DC's New 52

It's been nearly a year since DC relaunched its entire line of books and now, lo and behold, Marvel has decided to get in on the act with what it's calling "Marvel NOW!" And here's a doozy of a way to open—the return of Jean Grey! But that's just the beginning. Read on, True Believers, to get all the details.

Marvel NOW! will see one new title come out almost every week, starting in October of this year and continuing all the way through to February 2013. That's a whole lot of books. How many have been announced so far? Three, and we'd go so far as to say they all sound very interesting. In no particular order ...

Avengers Written by fan favorite Jonathan Hickman and drawn by Jerome Opena, the tagline should read "bigger is better." With no less than 18 team members and a focus on the cosmic, things are going to get crazy fast, and new readers are going to get a crash course in Avengers continuity. Considering the excitement surrounding the end of Marvel's Avengers movie (spoiler: Thanos makes an appearance) and the resulting interest in the classic story Infinity Gauntlet, it makes perfect sense to have a main Avengers title run this way.

Uncanny Avengers So we're in the midst of a huge overarching story called Avengers vs. X-Men right now, and a big part of that story will be leading to this—a brand-new team that meshes the X-Men and the Avengers together. Captain America, Thor, Wolverine. It's quite a team, but that means you need big villains, and writer Rick Rememnder promises a lot. In addition to the Red Skull, "I'm not just smashing the heroes together, I'm smashing the villains together. It becomes something unlike anything we've ever seen, with stakes that are so huge, it takes a team comprised of the best Avengers and the best X-Men to go take care of it." This one's drawn by former Joss Whedon cohort John Cassaday.

All New X-Men All right, we saved the best for last. Brian Michael Bendis pulls out all the stops with a time-travel story for the ages. The original X-Men (Cyclops, Beast, Angel, Ice Man, and Jean Grey) in their teenaged forms are transported to the present day to face their adult selves. So not only are we getting Jean Grey back from the grave, we're getting the entire original team "at their most feisty." What's the tone? According to Bendis, "Here's the big question that the original X-Men are gonna be faced with: We're gonna grow up, and this is what we're going to get? That is not acceptable."

We're potentially optimistic. These are exciting ideas with great teams. Marvel NOW! is a relaunch, yes, but it seems like one that gives an opening for new readers without disrespecting the old fanboys.

It's big news, and it all begins in October. Take a deep breath and tell us what you think.

(Via Entertainment Weekly)

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