Earlier this week it was announced that the new Thor will be a woman, but as it turns out this was just the first move in a much larger shift for quite a few other Avengers and Marvel characters. Entertainment Weekly had the drop on most of the changes the will be seen in the Marvel universe in a few months, although The Colbert Report was the first to report the upcoming changes for Captain America and the first shot of Sam Wilson as Cap was posted on Marvel’s Twitter account. There will be many more details released in the upcoming weeks with Comic Con International at San Diego right around the corners, but the changes that have already been announced are summarized below. May contain mild spoilers from current books.
This change to the Thor character was previously outlined but this was the biggest story of all the changes that Marvel will be putting into action. The cover to Avengers #35 in the upcoming “Time Runs Out” Avengers arc showed the current Thor without his classic hammer, Mjolnir, which created a buzz across the interwebs that something might have been in the works for Thor. However, this much larger change to the character was definitely not foreseen, even if he is wielding an axe instead of a hammer, guessing that the current character would be shamed and replaced by a woman was a surprise.
The remaining question for the new Thor is who she will be. As recently revealed in Original Sin #5.1, Thor has a sister that was apparently dead but clearly is not dead. The much more bizarre aspect of this is that the character is Angela, who was previously introduced into the Marvel universe in the “Age of Ultron” event but was a long-time character in the Image universe and the Spawn series. Current speculation seems to be that the new female Thor will not be Angela, so there is still no indication how the current Thor will exit stage left to make way for the new Thor.
While still a big change to the Captain America character, and specifically to Steve Rogers, the announcement of the new Cap was much less of a shock than the Thor announcement. Up to date readers of the Remender Captain America series know that Steve Rogers has been rapidly aged as a result of having the Super-Soldier Serum removed. This as well as the aforementioned cover to Avengers #35 which shows what looks like longtime Cap sidekick Sam Wilson, the Falcon, holding the shield as well as old man Steve Rogers on the cover, were clear indications that a change was upcoming.
The changes to Cap and Thor will inject some new life into the classic characters that will open up some new and fresh storylines. Because Sam Wilson was featured in the Captain America: The Winter Soldier movie the character is familiar to even the most casual of Marvel fans. Wilson is actually the second African-American to take up the shield with Isaiah Bradley being the first, as detailed in the Truth: Red, White, & Black limited series from 2003.
The Captain America title will relaunch this November as All-New Captain America and will still be written by current Cap writer Rick Remender with art by <em>All-New X-Men</em> artist Stuart Immonen. This is being advertised as a great jumping on point for new comic fans who especially enjoyed the last movie.
Again, not unlike the simple sleuthing one could do when they saw the cover to Avengers #35, anyone who reads the upcoming solicitations for Marvel will have noticed that both Iron Man and its companion title Iron Patriot were absent for the foreseeable future. Clearly, something was in the works for Tony Stark, which may spin out of the current “Original Sin” event, especially with the revelation that Tony Stark may have had something to do with Bruce Banner’s exposure to gamma rays that created the Hulk.
Amongst the many details to come to light this week was a new upcoming title for Iron Man called Superior Iron Man that will detail Stark’s change of scenery from New York to San Francisco and the hijinks that ensue. Marvel seems to be still married to the Superior adjective but the description of the series does sound slightly familiar to the tone of the previous Superior book, Superior Spider-Man. Marvel EIC Axel Alonso notes that “like the Superior Spider-Man, Superior Iron Man is a character that’s hard to root for.” Granted, it has been tough to root for Stark since “Civil War” and it’s been hard to read the largely forgettable Kieron Gillen run on the last volume of Iron Man.
Avengers + more
As another part of the story on EW, they showcased a team shot of some classic characters as well as some that will be getting a much larger push in the upcoming story arcs, stemming mostly from the fact that Marvel Studios does not have the movie rights to particular characters. The Inhumans is one team that Marvel does retain the movie rights, which is why both Medusa and Inferno are featured prominently on this promo image.
Two characters that have had their movies stuck in developmental hell are Dr. Strange and Ant-Man, which look to get a larger chunk of the limelight next year to both promote the movies which may one day be completed as well as realign major characters, again, in Marvel Studios’ favor. You could probably also toss in Scarlet Witch to that mix, although her character will show up in both the new Avengers movie as well as possible appearances in upcoming X-Men films. Marvel Studios lucked out for her rights as she and Quicksilver were a part of both the X-Men and Avengers universes.
Angela and Deathlok are the most obscure choices, although the recent “Original Sin” tie-ins revealed that Angela is actually old Thor’s sister. Deathlok hasn’t been very prominent in the Marvel stories even since his inception, but again as in “Original Sin” and Marvel stories as of late, they are taking older, more obscure characters and pushing them to the front of the line for some variety of characters as well as prepping the decks for them to appear in upcoming films and casual comic book readers having some prior experience with the characters.
The big three, new Thor, new Cap, and new Iron Man, are also featured on this team shot. The new “rebranding” for Marvel is Avengers NOW! but it is still unclear as to that status of the plethora of current Avengers titles plus any new series that may result from these changes. The new volume of <em>Thor</em> begins in October, <em>All-New Captain America</em> and <em>Superior Iron Man</em> both begin in November and no other new series have been announced…yet.
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