As many of you know, Marvel is gearing up for their next big event “Avengers vs. X-Men.” It’s been promised, almost on cue, as a game changing event that will reshape the Marvel Universe. It’s not exactly the first time we’ve heard something like that, but quite honestly, there is definitely something going on beneath the surface over at Marvel Comics.
The big thing, and this is kind of different for an event, is that all five of Marvel ‘Architects’ are writing Avengers vs X-Men. For those unaware, the Architects are the group of Brian Bendis, known mostly for his Avengers work, but also for Moon Knight, Daredevil and others, Matt Fraction, the current writer of Thor, Defenders and Invincible Iron Man, Jason Aaron, former Wolverine and Punisher writer, and current Wolverine and the X-Men and Incredible Hulk, Jonathan Hickman, current writer of FF, Fantastic Four and The Ultimates, and lastly, Ed Brubaker, current writer of Captain America and Winter Soldier.
The first installment is written by all of them, and then they will all trade off writing issues, while the art is handled by three of the industry heavyweights, John Romita Jr. on issues #1-5, with Olivier Coipel and Adam Kubert handling later installments. It’s a different approach to the idea of the event comic, but it hopefully cuts down on the delays with the art and writing all being handled by different parties.
Anyway, as I’ve said, it seems something is going on underneath the surface, so please, allow me to explain.
Brian Bendis, firstly, he’s been writing Avengers in some capacity since 2004, and he’s now at a point where he’s writing three different ongoing Avengers books. In a rather shocking announcement, Marvel has announced that Bendis will be stepping down from the Avengers franchise to move onto other things. With his Moon Knight ending, this leaves his only mainstream Marvel work as Ultimate Spiderman, so it definitely begs the question as to where he might be going. Rumors have suggested him jumping over to the X-Men Universe, but Bendis himself has brushed off these rumors and suggested that his post Avengers vs X-Men work is ‘so much bigger’ than that. Regardless, we’re seeing one of the longest Avengers writers step down, and we aren’t sure where he’s going.
Jonathan Hickman, the current writer of Fantastic Four, FF, as well as the current writer of the Ultimates, plus a bevy of creator owned work as well. After Mark Millar left Fantastic Four, one couldeasily see that as a hard act to follow, but Hickman came in with a big picture and has done some amazing things with Marvel’s first family. However, all things must end, as Hickman has been announced as not only departing FF and Fantastic Four, but also slowly stepping off The Ultimates as well. This leaves his only ongoing Marvel work as…nothing. He’s literally stepping off every major Marvel book he writes, though he’s made it clear he’s not done at Marvel. So where does he go? He mentioned that he left The Ultimates because he got an offer he couldn’t pass up, could the mainstream Avengers be in his future? There are certainly enough Avengers books to go around. Though me personally? I think a Hickman Iron Man book would be pretty dang awesome.
Speaking of Iron Man, that brings us to Matt Fraction. He’s been the longtime writer of Iron Man and the Mighty Thor, working on Iron Man for several years, and Thor in some way shape or form for just about as long. He had a brief tenure writing Uncanny X-Men, before handing that series off to current Uncanny writer Keiron Gillen. Indications show that his Iron Man may be winding to a close, with the current storyline seems to be a culmination of everything he’s been writing so far. So he may still be handling Thor and Iron Man for the foreseeable future. With his Defenders just kicking off as well, Fraction may be set for the foreseeable future.
Ed Brubaker, while he’s been a mainstay at Marvel, seems to be staying put for the time being. He’s been writing Captain America for a long time, and just launched the new Winter Soldier ongoing, and with his continual creator owned working as well, I don’t quite see Brubaker picking up anything new either.
However, outside the Architects, there are a few others at Marvel who might be picking up some new things soon. Notably among them is the potential of Mark Waid. He’s been getting rave reviews for his Daredevil work, and he’s recently jumping on with a new Digital Only Nova series, but could a jump to another Marvel book be in his future? It’s possible I think, though as being a huge proponent of the digital market as he is, I think we’ll being seeing Mark Waid leading the charge in new, original, digital exclusive content. Also to note is the potential of Warren Ellis, he’s not been a writing doing too much in the mainstream Marvel Universe here lately, recently stepping in for six issue arc of Secret Avengers, but is another Marvel book in his future? Never say never as the old saying goes.
Marvel also has a lot of writers with serious potential to make an impact including Rick Remender and Keiron Gillen. Remender has been getting rave reviews for his Uncanny X-Force and his newly launched Secret Avengers, so is a jump to one of the bigger books in those franchises out of the question? I wouldn’t think so.
So to recap, we’ve got three Avengers books, Fantastic Four, FF already confirmed as opening up, with rumor suggesting that Iron Man, as well as some of the X-Men books may be opening up as well. With Avengers vs. X-Men set to dominate the comics’ scene for the next six months, what could Marvel be planning afterwards?