Marvel Events XV: Marvel NOW

by GregFahlgren

Continuing my series on the history of Marvel events as we enter the post-AVX world.

Welcome back True Believers!!! That last episode was a trip right? Well, things are fixing to get weirder, so strap in! It’s going to get crazy!!

In the wake of Avengers vs X-Men, Marvel experiencing a rebirth. The aforementioned story line had rewritten the rules for the company. Writers and artists were given new projects, characters were re-envisioned, and status quos were changing at an ever increasing rate. The company named this relaunch Marvel NOW, a fairly appropriate name considering everything that had happened. As always, Marvel was looking to the future, as another mega-event was building in the background, the road ahead just as turbulent and dangerous as the one we just left behind, starting with the horrific return of the Avengers’ greatest adversary.

Age of Ultron

Changing the Past and Harming the Future

The Avengers have had many big time enemies over the years. Loki, Kang the Conqueror, the Masters of Evil, Thanos, the list goes on and on. Over the past five decades however, no villain has ever brought them closer to defeat than the one they themselves created: Ultron. They Avengers have always been able to stop him in the past, often by the skin of their teeth. But what if they couldn’t? What if Ultron won? Those questioned are answered in Brian Bendis’s mega event, Age of Ultron.

With things finally seeming to calm down after Avengers vs X-Men, Ultron returns to Earth en masse, destroying the world’s governments and laying waste to any superhero that dared oppose him. Slowly wiping out humanity, whoever was left rallied, desperately trying to think of a way to stop the genocide. Attempt after attempt failed, heroes dying by the score, until Wolverine and Sue Storm, the last remaining members of their respective teams, use a time machine to go back and kill Hank Pym to stop Ultron from being created in the first place. Wolverine succeeds in his mission despite Sue’s resistance, killing Pym before Pym ever had a chance to create the homicidal robot. Sue and Wolverine return the future, but their actions had unintended side effects.

You see, Hank Pym’s death had caused the Avengers to disband, the Defenders taking their place under Steve Roger’s command. In addition to that, Thor was killed in Ragnarok, while Iron Man was crippled during the Siege of Asgard. Morgan le Fey has become more powerful than ever, and is currently planning an invasion of Earth, an invasion that the fractured heroes were helpless to stop. Realizing they had made a terrible mistake, Wolverine and Sue go back in time once again to stop themselves from killing Hank while also figuring out a way to stop Ultron.

After stopping Pym’s murder from their own selves, they speak with Pym, who devises a plan to deal with Ultron. Pym creates a virus that would disable Ultron, and then hides it away in a special message to be sent to himself the night before Ultron returns to Earth, before having his memory erased so he could do no further damage to the timeline. The plan worked to fruition, Ultron being sent the furthest reaches of the universe, and the world is saved once again.

Despite the happy ending, Age of Ultron had some major consequences. The most distressing was the shattering of the time stream across the multiverse as a result of one too many time travel adventures. The constant manipulation of time by Marvel’s heroes and villains had finally done too much damage to the time-stream, many realities blowing apart, while others began to slip into each other. 616 was relatively unscathed, however the Ultimate universe suddenly found itself under siege by Galactus. As well, Spawn character Angela also slipped through the cracks in the timestream, entering the Marvel U and joining the Guardians of the Galaxy.

However, there was a positive side effect of this event. Henry Pym, who had been largely out of the major stories for a long time, was examined more closely than he had been in years. His bipolar disorder, his family life, his self doubts were all put the forefront. Through this story, Hank rediscovers his worth to the world, both as a hero and as a person. Yes, he created Ultron, and yes, from that action came suffering and death on a huge scale, but he also helped defeat it, helped form the Avengers, helped save the world countless times, and even at his lowest point, he kept trying to do better. By the end of the event, Hank Pym had returned to the self long time fans remember: a brilliant scientist who only wanted to help the world. This lead to the launch of the Avengers AI book, which was great fun and contains the best description of dealing with mental illness I’ve ever read.

Age of Ultron came and went, but the impact of Bendis’s horrific tale can still be felt today, leading the Rage of Ultron graphic novel, which follows up on the story. No matter the consequences however, what is for certain is that the heroes of Marvel had come closer to destruction since the Infinity Saga, and that fact should be kept in mind as we move forward.

Battle of the Atom

X-Men Past, Present, and Future

After the events of the last ten years, it’s safe to safe that the X-Men are not what they used to be. After Nightcrawler’s death, the schism, the war with the Avengers, all had adverse effects on the mutant team. After the death of Charles Xavier however, the mutants were fractured worse than ever. None felt this pain more so than Beast who couldn’t stand what they had become. Cyclops was a fugitive, Angel didn’t even know who he was, Jean was dead, and Iceman... well, he was pretty much the same, but that’s Bobby for you. Charles’s death was the final straw for Hank McCoy, his faith in the X-Men’s mission broken. But then, as he was always does, Hank got an idea.

Looking at his old graduation photo, Beast remembered back to when this all began, and decided to go back in time (you know this won’t end well), to bring the original five X-Men to the present day so he could show them what their future held. The All-New X-Men (as they would come to be known) would stick around for a bit, Hank wanting to show Cyclops and the others what they had been once, and what they could be again.

This plan (which by the way really didn’t help the whole timeline shattering situation at the end of Age of Ultron), eventually lead to an encounter with Cyclops’s team, where young Cyclops nearly dies, almost erasing the older Scott Summers from existence. Kitty Pryde, who had taken on the responsibility of training the teenage mutants, brought them back to the X-Mansion, where the X-Men began to debate what to do about them. In the middle of that discussion however, another team of time travelling mutants from the future arrive, declaring themselves the X-Men from the future!

This group, featuring an older Kitty Pryde, old Beast, Deadpool, the supposed grandson of Charles Xavier, Molly Haze of the Runaways, Xorn and an Ice Hulk (weirdness, I know), declared that the original X-Men arriving in the present set’s off a series of events that destroy mutant kind. Rachel Grey arrives on the scene, demanding to know who Xorn really is. Taking off her helmet, Xorn is revealed to be Jean Grey, the future self of the time-displaced Jean Grey.

Faced with these facts, Wolverine and the X-Men decide that the All-New X-Men have to return to their own time whether they like it or not. This brings them at odds with Kitty, who wants the time-displaced teens to make their own decisions like she was allowed to when she first joined the X-Men. The group secretly tries to send them back anyway, but find that Beast’s time machine no longer works. While the older X-Men investigate, the time-displaced team runs off, seeking help from Cyclops’s renegade team. However, the other X-Men follow, resulted in a series of fights, leading the young Jean Grey and Cyclops to slip away. Both Wolverine’s and Cyclops’s X-Teams decide to work together to find them (Cyclops and Logan coming close to killing each other... dudes need to hug it out).

Magick however, has grown suspicious of the future X-Men, and uses her powers to go through time to the future to find out the truth, taking young Iceman and Beast with her. There, she discovers the REAL future X-Men, including her brother Colossus and older versions of Iceman and Jubilee. There, she learns in the future, Beast and company form the new Brotherhood of Mutants, intent on going back to the past to ensure mutant dominance, and that sending the All New X-Men back to the past was the first step.

Armed with this new knowledge, Magick heads back and tells the rest of the X-Men the truth. The New Brotherhood strikes, but accompanying Magick is the X-Men of the future, and soon an all out war erupts between the two sides. For a brief and glorious moment, Cyclops and Wolverine put aside their differences, and lead the X-Men in a massive charge against the Brotherhood, defeating them though at the cost of the future Colossus’s life. Both enemies and friends are sent back to the future in the aftermath, the crisis over.

However, the ramifications of this battle were heavy. Kitty Pryde, angry that Wolverine, Iceman and Storm, the three people she loves most, went behind her back with the decision to try sending the All-New X-Men back to the past, decides that if they can’t trust her to make the decisions concerning the five young mutants then she doesn’t belong at the school anymore. In a shocking move, she joins Cyclop’s X-Men, taking the students with her!

Battle of the Atom was Bendis’s first big X-Men crossover, which he and the other writers knocked out of the park. Drawing on the mutants past, present, and possible futures, Bendis weaved a story that changed the landscape of the X-Men once again, while at the time showing us what they were capable of when they stood together. Might not see it often since Schism, but when it does happen, it is a wonder to behold.

The Enemy Within

Carol Danver's Last Stand?

Carol Danvers is one of Marvel’s oldest and most beloved female characters. Over the years, she’s gotten some rough treatment, but at the start of the new millennium, she started getting back into prominence, finding herself on the front lines of Marvel’s biggest conflicts. In 2012, Carol once again had her own book, written the mega-talented Kelly Sue DeConnick. However, instead of writing a relaunch of Ms. Marvel, Marvel editors decided to give Carol a promotion, finally renaming her CAPTAIN MARVEL! This new book was met with instant financial and critical success far beyond what Marvel could have hoped for, eventually leading to Carol and Kelly Sue’s first big crossover, The Enemy Within.

The story begins with Carol suffering from fairly severe chronic headaches. After weeks of discomfort, she finally caves in to her friends’ demands for her to go see a doctor. When she finally does, the doctor tells her that she has a brain lesion, and that the use of her flying powers is making it worse. If she continues to use her flying powers, the lesion will widen, and eventually destroy the memory centres of her brain. Her Kree physiology would heal her physically, but she would lose her memories, and possibly everything that makes Carol who she is.

Her doctors, friends and fellow Avengers try to get Carol to take it easy for a while, but Miss Danvers refuses to believe there is a problem and keeps on superheroing. However, as old enemies begin to pop out of the woodwork, she and her companions soon realize there is something bigger at work. Eventually, they discover that Yon-Rogg, the Kree villain responsible for Carol’s exposure to Kree radiation all those years ago, was behind the attacks, a piece of him hiding in Carol’s mind. But just as they discover this, Kree Sentries begin attacking the Earth, sending the Avengers into a desperate defence.

Through the course of the battles, Carol realizes that if Yon-Rogg exists within Carol’s memories, than the only way to defeat him is to sacrifice those memories. Therefore, she takes flight, apologizing to Spider-Woman as she did so, and flies as fast and as high as she can until the lesion in her brain widens enough to destroy the memory centre, and end the threat at the cost of her life’s memories.

The Enemy Within was Kelly Sue Deconnick’s first crossover story for Marvel, and she absolutely knocked it out of the park. The story is shows the Avengers as a team, each member willing to stand behind their friends no matter the cost. Carol would recover, her Kree physiology healing the damage to her brain, but it took some time for her and significant memory therapy to help her remind who she was. But her sacrifice showed what everyone who was already a fan of Carol always knew, and that is that she is among the greatest of Marvel heroes, and deserves to be treated as such.


They Were Avengers Worlds

Everything dies. It is inevitable, and for the Marvel Universe, the time for its death was coming closer and closer with every passing moment. The Illuminati had been trying for months to the find a solution while the Avengers and everyone else were left in the dark. This coming calamity, along with several other incidents is all leading to some kind of mega-conflict, one that no one is wholly prepared to fight. However, all this was put aside when the Builders, an ancient alien race responsible for much of the galaxy’s creation, return. The Builders go on a rampage, destroying everything in their path, leaving the galaxy on the brink of destruction. And to make matters worse, Thanos has returned as well, waiting in the background for his chance to strike at Earth. The Avengers, all except for Iron Man and a few select others, head into space to join with the Galactic Council in opposing the Builder threat. The first battle however does not go well, the Builders blasting through the combined fleets, leaving many of the Avengers either missing or captured.

Meanwhile back on Earth, Thanos uses the Avengers’ absence to launch an all out assault on the planet. His Black Order behind him, Thanos demands a tribute from the Inhumans, specifically calling for the heads of any Inhuman between the ages of 18-. Black Bolt goes into the Terrigen Codex, and discovers that Thanos has an Inhuman son, leading him to deny Thanos his tribute. The Mad Titan begins an all out attack on Attilan and Wakanda in response, both nations finding themselves under a desperate siege. The latter is decimated, Black Panther unable to help his homeland with his commitments to the Illuminati.

Back in space, the galactic Empires and Avengers are in dire straits. The Builders are too powerful and too many, planet after planet falling to their fleet. The Galactic Council decides that the only way to survive is to surrender, but Captain America refuses to go along with it. Convincing the Council to strike back, he launches a rescue mission against the Builder fleet, saving the captured Avengers and turning the tide of the battle momentarily. Still outnumbered, Captain America knows they need a rallying cry. Sending Thor to surrender to the Builders, Thor draws out one of their commanders, and kills him. This sparks the Galactic Council’s forces to strike back, the Avengers leading the way as the armies of the Milky Way begin to take back the planets the Builders had taken. The tide of the war turns, forcing the Builders to retreat back to where they came from. The Avengers could not celebrate however, as they find out about Thanos’s attack on Earth, and rush back to their home sworld with their new allies in toe.

In Attilan, Black Bolt and Thanos come to blows, Thanos, beating Black Bolt terribly. However, Black Bolt activates the Terrigen Bomb, destroying Attilan and releasing the Terrigen Mists across the world, activating the Inhuman gene in any human across the globe seemingly at the cost of his own life. Thanos’s son Thane is among those affected, his powers activating and accidently destroying his home town. Before Thanos can claim his child however, the Avengers return to confront him and his Black Order. Tired and fatigued from the war with the Builders, the Avengers are brought to the brink of defeat until his son arrives. Thane encases Thanos in amber, forcing him into a state of living death. The Black Order are then destroyed by the Avengers, but in the confusion, Thanos is taken by the Illuminati, hoping to use his knowledge to end the threat to the multiverse. Unfortunately for the Illuminati, Black Panther’s sister discovers that he had been harbouring Namor, the man responsible for the destruction of Wakanda during Avengers vs X-Men. In retaliation for this betrayal, Shuri banishes T’Challa to the Necropolis, never to return home again.

Infinity was the Jonathon Hickman’s first big event since taking over writing duties on the Avengers books. A massive story with incredible scope, the consequences were far reaching across Marvel. The Avengers had led the forces of the Milky Way to victory, earning the appreciation of the citizens across the Galaxy, and the ire of many of the Empires they served (their leaders to be specific). Attilan was destroyed, landing in the waters in New York, Medusa now Queen after her husband’s apparent death at the hands of Thanos. Not only that, there were thousands upon thousands of new Inhumans across the globe, each one needing Medusa’s guidance before they hurt anyone. Most importantly, Thanos’s capture would lead to awful consequences, the Illuminati becoming more and more desperate as the destruction of everything drew ever close, but we’ll get to that later. For now, the events of Infinityleads us to another event, entitled...


The Inhuman Condition

In the fallout of Infinity, the Terrigen Mists wafted throughout the world, awakening the long lost Inhuman bloodlines, and creating hundreds if not thousands of new super powered humans in its wake. To make matters worse, Black Bolt was presumed dead, leaving the Inhumans without a leader. Gorgon, one of Black Bolts closest advisors, was interrogated by the Avengers and the Queen of the Inhumans, Medusa, but he killed himself, telling Medusa to, “forget everything she thought she knew.”

Across the globe, numerous people are waking up with new and terrible powers as a result of the Terrigen Bomb. Heroes moved to aid those that they could, protecting them from those that would do harm to the new Inhumans and civilians from any that would use their power to harm. Medusa, still grieving over Black Bolt’s demise, reluctantly accepts her role as Queen of the Inhumans, and negotiates a peace with the Avengers, and making the now floating city of Attilan a refuge for the new Inhumans. Once their new home is established, Medusa implores all the new Inhumans to come to her so they may learn of their new powers and be protected. While searching for the new Inhumans, she finds Eldrac, saving him from the rubble of Attilan. Medusa questions him about the whereabouts of her husband Black Bolt, but his answer is unknown to the audience, leaving everyone to wonder what would happen next.

As far as events go, this one was a little strange for me. There wasn’t really any kind of continuous story to follow, instead the events being used as a backdrop for the books own stories, each one linked only by the various Terrigen Cocoons found throughout the world. In large part, Inhumanity served to launch the new book Inhuman, where many of the characters introduced in the event would be featured. Not the cleanest cut event Marvel ever produced, it and the events of Infinity were important steps down the post-AVX path, one that would lead to an even bigger event in the coming years. 

$39.99  $11.88


Start of A New Road

The Post-AVX world left some big doors open for Marvel. Rather than tip-toe, the company blew through them, creating some fairly ambitious and incredible storylines to follow up on the largest event in company history. The company was heading farther and farther out into uncharted territory, pushing the boundaries and creating new and exciting heroes, as well as challenging their tenured heroes in ways that they could never see coming.

But... something was coming, something larger and more universe shattering than AVX as hard as that is to believe. The envelope was being pushed, and Marvel would be damned if was going to stay stationary in this new and exciting time in comics.

Well, that’s it for this episode True Believers. Until next time, HAPPY READING!

First chapter of a series of blogs detailing the Events and Crossovers of the Marvel Universe.
Continuing from Part I, I explore the important cross-over events of Marvel's Silver Age
Examining the major Marvel Crossovers and Storylines from the 70s into the mid-80s.
Returning to the Marvel U, and examining the BOOM of crossover event comics.
Continuing study of the biggest events in Marvel's long history.
Continuing with my special series talking about Marvel's Crossover Events.
Continuing ongoing series talking about major Marvel Events as we hit the mid-90s!
Continuing Marvel's journey through it's major crossover story lines as the company enters the new Millenium.
Part IX of my ongoing series examining the major crossover events in the history of Marvel Comics.
Continuing my series on Marvel's biggest crossover events as the company releasing some of it's biggest yet.
Continuing my series on major Marvel Events, covering the Dark Reign era of the Marvel U.
Continuing my series on the history of Marvel's crossover events, talking about the finales to two of the most revered runs in recent history.
Continuing my series on major Marvel Events in the lead up to the company's biggest event to date!
Continuing my series on Marvel Events with the biggest story Marvel has written to date.
Updated: 03/06/2016, GregFahlgren
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?



You might also like

Marvel Events Part XIII: Road to AVX

Continuing my series on major Marvel Events in the lead up to the company's b...

Marvel Events Part I: The Golden Age

First chapter of a series of blogs detailing the Events and Crossovers of the...

Disclosure: This page generates income for authors based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google and others.
Loading ...