With Civil War II already underway, the scars have begun to show across the Marvel Universe—and it’s only the beginning.
Following the current epic event engulfing Iron Man, Captain Marvel, and the rest of your favorite heroes and villains, the familiar branding of Marvel NOW! returns with a new tag line: “Divided We Stand.” As we edge toward the midway point of this summer’s biggest series, a special preview catalogue highlighting some of the titles to come this fall will be released on Wednesday, July 13 alongside CIVIL WAR II #3, both of which will be available at select comic book retailers starting at midnight.
We pulled Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso aside for an eye-opening chat on what to expect when Marvel NOW! returns and the huge ramifications of Civil War II.
Marvel.com: Back in 2012, the original Marvel NOW! kicked off a huge new era for the company coming out of Avengers Vs. X-Men. Why a new Marvel NOW! initiative for post-Civil War II?
Axel Alonso: Well, we think it’s an effective branding, it sends a message that it’s a jumping on point for readers; not only that, but it starts a new chapter moving forward. In the aftermath of Civil War II, not everything’s hunky dory. There’s a winner, there’s a loser, certain characters are elevated to new heights, other characters have a lot to reconcile and atone for, so there’s gonna be a lot of changes in the Marvel Universe; they’re gonna affect the fabric of the Marvel Universe and the relationships amongst the characters. That’s why we took the Marvel Now! logo and fragmented it a bit—there’s a message there.
Marvel.com: In addition to that, the tag line “Divided We Stand” is being used—can you speak a bit to that?
Axel Alonso: Like I said before, there will be scars left by Civil War II. New alliances will be formed amongst certain characters [and] there will be fissures amongst others; new teams will form, some a reaction to what happens in Civil War. It’s gonna be a complicated landscape, but out of conflict comes great stories. Before you bemoan the fact that the Marvel heroes are not united, I don’t think there’s ever been a period where the Marvel heroes have been united, but let’s just say we’re upping the ante and doubling down on that right now. Again, any big war is gonna leave scars. This one does and it’s gonna reposition a lot of characters for the future. It’s gonna leave a window of opportunity for characters to step into the spotlight and do big things as well.
Marvel.com: Speaking of the future and speaking of characters stepping into the spotlight, the younger heroes are going get something of a push coming out in Marvel Now! Can we talk about that a little bit?
Axel Alonso: Without giving away too much, the younger characters have a lot on their mind in the aftermath of Civil War II. Its resolution inspires certain questions on their minds. They’re a different generation of hero and in certain ways you’re gonna see characters step out from under the shadow of the classic adult heroes in the Marvel Universe. We think this is an organic thing. We [have] watched a number of our characters from Kamala Khan to Miles Morales to Amadeus Cho step forward and into the spotlight in the past year. And this is just one more step in them forging their own identity and perhaps connecting with a younger generation of readers.
Marvel.com: Now, in the Mike Deodato image we’re putting out with this interview, front and center there’s a lot of Iron Man imagery, but there’s no Tony Stark. Do you want to address that?
Axel Alonso: I don’t! [Laughs] I want people to speculate. You know, as we said, big stuff happens in Civil War II. And if you’ve seen what we’ve been willing to do in the last couple of years to shake up the Marvel Universe, you know that taking Tony off the table isn’t out of the realm of possibility. That said, I’ll say that teaser image is meant to give you a snapshot of characters to keep your eye on in the coming year. That’s not to say that there aren’t characters not pictured, like Tony or say the female Thor or Sam Wilson or Bruce Banner who, assuming they survive Civil War II, will obviously have a place of prominence in the Marvel Universe moving forward.
Marvel.com: There’s some interesting choices on the art to be sure. Are there any characters or books that you’re really excited about?
Axel Alonso: I’m really excited about the two characters at the foreground of the image. On one end you see a guy who looks a little bit like Doctor Doom holding an Iron Man mask and on the other side you see RiRi wearing what looks to be something like Rhodey’s armor. I’m very excited about what we’re doing. You know, we have a very very diverse group of heroes in the Marvel Universe right now; I think that never more than now, have our heroes sort of represented the breadth of our audience out there. Male, female, white, black, Hispanic, Asian. I think it’s a healthy thing for the industry, but more importantly is it was an organic outgrowth, it wasn’t a mandate. It’s just something that sort of bubbled up and we haven’t suppressed, we’ve rolled with that and we’ve landed in a place where we have characters connecting with readers of all stripes as well.
Marvel.com: To wrap things up, talk to me about the preview magazine that’s coming out on July 13 and what it’ll show, what kind of indication it gives of what’s in store for Marvel NOW! with some—though not all—of the titles spinning out of the initiative.
Axel Alonso: The preview magazine is more of a deep dive into the future of the Marvel U, highlighting some key central books that are part of the publishing plan, a couple of which really really really speak to the new predicament in the Marvel Universe, the notion of “Divided We Stand.” It’s a deep dive including creators, commentary on the books, and it gives you a first look. It’s sort of like a trailer for a movie, in a different format. It’s something new, I think it’s something that’s overdue.
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