What If?: Marvel NOW! Edition
Marvel NOW! is officially kicking into high gear. The relaunch of nearly every title sees the return of such Marvel mainstays as Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, and even the Young Avengers. But there are always characters and stories that fall through the cracks, missing their chance at being displayed prominently on your local comic shop’s shelf. So here, I present to you an alternate universe in which Marvel NOW! included these characters and stories. Who knows, maybe Marvel will follow DC’s lead (again) and replace some of their lower selling books with these ones.
Savage Axe of Ares
Ares was one of my favorite characters of the last ten years. Introduced to him in Michael Avon Oeming and Travel Foreman’s stunning Ares miniseries, I quickly searched out everything I could find about the character. Lucky for me, Marvel ushered him onto Iron Man’s post-Civil War Avengers team, as well as Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers. Then, he was killed in Siege. But in the Marvel Universe, Gods (and mortals) don’t stay dead. Trapped in the Underworld, Ares grows tired of the peace and tranquility of the underworld. Deciding to return to the world, the Lord Of The Dead tells him that he is free to go, but only if he defeats the army of the dead. Will Ares win his contest for freedom? Or will he fail and become the latest slave of the Lord of the Dead?
Fred Van Lente and Jefte Palo’s Taskmaster miniseries was one of my favorite comics of 2011, and it’s a disgrace to the character that there isn’t a follow-up. Instead of picking up where the mini left off, let’s see a “day in the life of Taskmaster” series, a reverse take on the Hawkeye series that is currently getting raves from everyone and their mothers (rightfully so). From pulling heists to training henchmen for other villains, a Taskmaster series could offer a very interesting look into the seedier sides of the Marvel Universe.
Focusing on the main man himself, Johnny Blaze, Ghost Rider would ideally place the character back under the pen of Jason Aaron, whose run on the character is one of my favorites. Back as the spirit of vengeance, Johnny Blaze has a new lease on life. No longer viewing his curse as a weakness, Blaze uses the Ghost Rider to help people throughout the world who are plagued by the supernatural. Everything from werewolves to vampires to the Headless Horseman are hunted by the Rider, who won’t stop until the forces of darkness are destroyed, even himself.
The Astonishing Spider-Man and Deadpool
First, go read Avenging Spider-man issues 12 and 13. I’ll wait.
You’re back? Good. You just read one of the best two-issue stories of the year, and one of the few to make me laugh uncontrollably. With those two issues, it’s a shame that Marvel didn’t give writer Kevin Shinick a Spider-man/Deadpool book, because he clearly has a knack for both characters. The premise? Deadpool decides that he wants to go legit (again), and since Spidey just recently had a sidekick, he decides that the wall crawler is the perfect person to show him the ropes. Of course, Spider-Man wants nothing to do with him, which leads to all kinds of hilarious misadventures. Think a superhero version of What About Bob? And you’ve got the gist.
Marvel Team Up
The classic Marvel Team-Up returns but with an interesting twist: Doop! Hot off the 17th issue of Wolverine and The X-Men, MTU will follow Doop’s adventures through the Marvel Universe, documenting everything he sees for the Jean Grey School’s archives. Doop will capture major events old and new on digital video, whether the other Marvel heroes like it or not!
Old Man Logan 2
Seriously Millar, just write the damn thing already.