“A Bold New Direction”
Surprising….no one, really, Marvel has announced a brand new relaunch coming our way in May. Billed as a “fresh start” for the publisher, not much is known about this upcoming initiative, aside from the fact that Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness will helm a new Avengers series, and Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman will be on a new Venom series. And yes, both of them will start over at #1.
Or will they? We all figure that the Marvel titles will start over at number one, but allegedly that’s not entirely the case. At least according to Senior VP and Executive Editor Tom Breevort, who stated later in the day that the Marvel titles will keep their Legacy numbering in addition to the new numbering, much like what Marvel did back in the early 00’s. While not exactly addressing the elephant in the room that is the constant renumbering, the fact that we’ll at least have both numbers on the cover should help appease some fans who get consistently annoyed at relaunches. But is that enough to get them back into Marvel?
Let’s use Venom, for example. Before the Marvel Legacy renumbering, Venom reluanched in November of last year and made it to issue 6 before renumbering to issue #150 for a grand extravaganza for the character. This was well before Marvel’s Legacy event, but it still technically counts as a part of the line wide renumbering, and Marvel higher ups even admitted to this when asked. But now, Venom will be getting another relaunch, with a new #1, in about a year and a half of the current run being published. It’s a confusing business practice all around, and one that you wouldn’t be surprised at wondering if it’s designed to push readers away instead of getting them on board.
When you look at the issue of Legacy and this new relaunch as a whole, the problem is even worse, as Legacy took place in November of last year. In five months, after readers, retailers, and the industry as a whole has gotten used to the new “Legacy” numbering, it’s all getting reset again, albeit in the way that Marvel should’ve done it the first time. In a weird way it reminds me of Nintendo’s Wii U and the Switch. The Wii U was a weird console to release at the time, but now that the Switch is out, you can see what Nintendo was attempting to do with the console market, they just didn’t quite have the technology there.
Of course, this also brings up the question of “well, what was the point of Marvel Legacy”? Well, that’s an answer we don’t really have just yet. If any mysteries from the Marvel Legacy special are going to be addressed in this new launch, those elusive “new readers” will need to go back and find that special to understand what the hell is going on. Or, the more likely scenario, Marvel will just ignore aspects of that special in favor of whatever they think will attract people this time. But the same question remains after each one of these relaunches: How many people will bother sticking around?