It seems that at least once a year the Big Two superhero publishers push for a major relaunch of their titles with a wave of new number ones that often feature characters that haven’t had an ongoing series in a long while. The choices are sometimes baffling, but the relaunches usually result in at least a few surprise hits, like The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, and Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.
Marvel is currently in the process of launching an all-new, all-different Marvel Now with characters like Foolkiller and Solo, but there are a lot of great characters that just aren't being used to their full potential. We’ve put together a list of five ideal candidates for the next big Marvel relaunch, or the next phase of the current one.
I miss the Fantastic Four. Marvel’s first family has been gone from comics for too long, and they’re long overdue a return. The Marvel Universe without the complete Fantastic Four just doesn’t feel right, and everyone has forgotten about the terrible new movie, so the way is clear!
There would be no Marvel Comics as we know it without the Fantastic Four, but that’s not reason enough to give them a new title. (There’d be no Marvel Comics as we know it without Jim Hammond, the original Human Torch but no-one is crying to see any more of his adventures anytime soon.)
No, the reason to give the FF another shot is that the Fantastic Four represent the Marvel Universe in a way that no other franchise does; from the interpersonal family drama to the out-of-this-world space adventures, Fantastic Four blends everything we love about Marvel Comics into one franchise. Plus it features The Thing, who is pretty much the greatest superhero ever.
If you’re going to bring back Runaways, it needs to have a sense of youth to it, so Marvel should look outside of its usual talent pool and bring in new and exciting creators and give them the entire Marvel Universe to run wild in. Noelle Stevenson and Sanford Greene’s recent series may not have featured classic Runaways characters, but it was Runaways in spirit and a new ongoing would need that same energy.
The team could be mixed up a bunch; maybe Nico stays with A-Force. But the core idea of Runaways is still strong and still resonant, perhaps now more than ever. Marvel is more teen- and Young Adult-focused than it has been in a long time, and not capitalizing on its strongest teen franchise would be a huge mistake.
C’mon, Marvel. Seriously.
I’ve written at length about how much I love Faiza Hussain and especially my belief that she should be the new Captain Britain to represent the true modern and multicultural country that the title is named for. However, I think if you put her in a title named Captain Britain, there are only so many issues that’s going to last. But if you resurrect Excalibur, then maybe you’re onto something.
It would work extra well because Faiza’s current codename is Excalibur, for the sword that she wields. But this would still be a team book. After Secret Wars, someone needs to rebuild the Captain Britain Corps back up to their former glory, so Brian Braddock could make Faiza the Captain Britain of Earth-616 while overseeing the restructuring of the Corps.
As for other team members, I’d love to see a mix of classic Excalibur and Captain Britain and MI-13 characters. Pete Wisdom is a must, but I’d also like to see Nightcrawler back on the team. I’d add Chamber into the mix because he’s always fun. And how does the team get around? Their secret weapon would be intergalactic rockstar Lila Cheney.
Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD
It took me a while to warm up to the new Nick Fury, because of how strained the attempt to fit him into the Marvel Universe was way back in Battle Scars. However, Declan Shalvey’s current story with the character in Civil War II: Choosing Sides has really opened my eyes to what a dynamic leading man he can be.
Whenever conversation comes up about a new James Bond, it quickly turns towards the topic of casting a person of color in the role. This is Marvel’s chance to get ahead of the curve with a new Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD ongoing series, and really elevate the character from supporting cast to leading man.
Imagine Nick Fury decked out in a tuxedo, playing poker in Madripoor; the next day he’s skiing in the French alps; then he’s scuba diving off the coast of Australia. In a big action-espionage book, there really no limits, and when you set a book like that in the Marvel Universe, you open up the entire sandbox to play in, in a way that characters like Spider-Man and Daredevil don’t get to enjoy.
Okay, so my boss tells me I can’t just leave it at that, so let’s talk about America Chavez.
America was a pretty forgettable character when she was first introduced, but the revamp by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie in Young Avengers took her to a whole other level. No-one has the confidence or swagger of America Chavez, and no-one has her air of mystique either.
There is the worry that maybe she loses that mystique if you take her out of a team settling, but Wolverine and The Punisher have been doing fine as solo characters for decades now. We’ve gotten glimpses of what America’s life away from multiversal superheroing, and we know she has a paramedic girlfriend, but we really want to know what she does when she’s not with The Ultimates.
I feel like a Ms. America series could approach the weirdness of Exiles and combine it with the ground-level storytelling of something like Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye. America Chavez has seen infinite Earths and still thinks people are special and unique and worth saving. She’s Superman on a multiversal scale. She’s Doctor Manhattan without the ennui. She’s Ms. America Chavez, and she needs a solo series already, Marvel!