Marvel NOW! VS The New 52

In every universe, there is always that one event, that one instance that changes the landscape of the entire world.

Shaping it into something new, but familiar at the same moment.

Enter the world’s of Marvel & DC, both with their own stable of heroes, their own histories, and own tales to tell. Although, reboots and relaunches are nothing new to comics, two events of momentous scale, shifted the natural of both universes for years to come.

Let’s start with DC:

Barry Allen, The Flash:

This is YOUR fault Barry. This hell is YOUR creation.

The fastest man alive, in an attempt to revive his deceased mother, goes back in time to prevent her death at the hands of the Reverse-Flash (he succeeds), but little does he know that his actions would have a catastrophic effect on the present. He creates a new reality wherein Thomas Wayne, (Bruce Wayne’s previously deceased father) is alive and has become Batman, taking up the mantle when the fateful robbery that was supposed to take his and his wife Martha’s life, claims the life of a young Bruce instead. This action causes Thomas to become Batman, and Martha (in a state of severe depression & grief) to become the Joker. Abin Sur never dies in this reality, so Hal Jordan doesn’t get the ring, thus never becoming Green Lantern. Superman’s rocket crashes in Metropolis instead of Smallville and he is taken in by the government and used for experimentation to create super soldiers. Due to Superman never being known as the world’s greatest superhero, Cyborg steps up to fill the role. But perhaps the most harrowing change in this new world is that it is being torn apart by a war being raged by Wonder Woman & Aquaman (who are former lovers in this new timeline, the latter waging war after Diana kills his wife Mera).  Barry must now find a way to regain his powers and rally the world’s heroes in order to stop the world from being destroyed, while also trying to figure out how it got the way it was, before his memories of his former life are erased.

The story is spread over 5 issues, building up (mostly through tie-ins) to a final, 3-way battle between the Amazons (Led by Wonder Woman), the Atlanteans (Led by Aquaman), and the heroes (Led by Flash, Batman, & Cyborg). After a massive explosion caused when Pentheslia (One of the conspirators behind the Atlantean-Amazonian war) kills Billy Batson (Who along with 4 other kids in this reality, including Mary Batson & Freddy Freeman, transforms into that realities Captain Marvel known as Captain Thunder),  all is revealed when Eobard Thawne (The Reverse-Flash) confronts and tells Barry after the explosion that it was Allen himself who caused the world to change. Saying that Barry’s saving of his mother caused the timeline to shift creating the reality Barry found himself in. Flash (feeling the guilt of causing the apocalyptic world) goes back through time at the urging of Batman, as that world is destroyed by an extreme seismic event. Allen merges with his younger self before he can stop Thawne from killing his mother, causing a paradox and allows the Flash to see the alternate realities of DC, Vertigo, & Wildstorm. He is told by a mysterious hooded woman called Pandora that the realities must now be merged to combat a new evil. After the realities merge, Barry awakes in the combined universe, still retaining memories of the alternate timeline, and the story ends with Barry giving Batman (Who is once again Bruce Wayne) the letter that his Thomas gave him before he died.

As the actions of one hero causes his universe to be restarted, the war caused by two sets of heroes creates a shift in the status quo of their world.

Enter the Marvel Universe:

The Avengers, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Vs. The X-Men, the worlds Mightiest Mutants.

No More Avengers

The mutant population was dying, the X-Men were at the end of their rope, that is until a baby girl adequately named Hope was born, she would be looked upon as the messiah of the mutant race. Also, after having fought to be accepted and understood all their life, the X-Men finally found solace on an island off the coast of San Fransisco, they christened this new haven Utopia, an accurate name for the their new found home. Things were well for a time, that is until an event, a “Schism” split the X-Men in half, some staying on Utopia, others returning to where the dream for equality began, a school in Westchester County, New York.

The Avengers, the world’s premiere superhero team. Made up of some of the world’s greatest heroes (Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, & Spider-Man to name a few) had gone through some changes of their own. Wonder Man (A former longtime member of the team) had returned and attacked the heroes with a vengeance, claiming that they did more harm than good in the world. The Avengers managed to subdue him, but not before catching the eye of Norman Osborn (Former Spider-Man foe Green Goblin & former director of H.A.M.M.E.R.) who had sworn revenge on the heroes for stopping his Siege of Asgard. He publicly blasts the team and systematically takes them down but eventually his plan goes awry when he turns himself into a Super-Adaptoid and absorbs too much energy, putting himself into a coma. The Avengers won, but the damage had already been done as their reputation has been called into question. They also had to deal with the return of the Scarlet Witch (Magneto’s daughter, a mutant and former Avenger who went mad and reshaped the world, and caused the near extinction of the mutant race).

Though both teams had seemingly recovered from their respective trials, nothing could have prepared them for the event that would pit them against one another, in the ultimate clash of heroes. Where the fate of this battle would decide the fate of the very world.

The Phoenix (An extraterrestrial force of creation and destruction) has returned, and is heading towards Earth. The X-Men (who have dealt with this force numerous times before) believe it is coming to take possession of Hope. Their leader Scott Summers (Cyclops) firmly believes that the Phoenix has come to restart the mutant population and remove from the “endangered species” list and looks to train Hope in how to control it. The Avengers however, have other plans. Knowing of the destruction and death the force had brought in it’s previous appearances, has come up with the solution to send a team into space to intercept the Phoenix, & move to relocate Hope to a safe location to protect her from the force. Prompting the Avengers to descend upon Utopia to take Hope. This doesn’t go over well with Cyclops, who proceeds to attack Cap with his optic blasts firing the “first shot” in the war between the X-Men & The Avengers. This action soon forces the X-Men to take sides, Wolverine & Beast (who are both X-Men & Avengers) stay with the Avengers believing the Phoenix should be destroyed, but those who previously sided with Wolverine during the “Schism” (Rogue, Iceman, Frenzy, & Rachel Grey) side with the X-Men, believing the Avengers are trying to condemn them like the rest of the world.

The battle takes place over 12 issues split into 3 acts. The first act beginning when Hope, (feeling the Phoenix drawing closer) leaves Utopia in order to find a way to the moon in order to merge with the Phoenix. The Avengers & X-Men split into squads and search all over the world for Hope, battling each other along the way. She is eventually found by Wolverine and he helps her get to the moon where he contacts the Avengers, the team arriving right after. Emma Frost however intercepts the signal for her location and soon Magik teleports Emma, Colossus, Cyclops, & Namor to the moon in hot pursuit. The battle on the moon rages until Thor (who was with the space team) crashes onto the surface of the moon, and tells the warring heroes that the Phoenix has arrived. As the Phoenix inches ever closer to the Earth, Hope comes to the realization that she is not ready to wield it’s power and tries to run. Iron Man & Hank Pym create an Iron Man armor capable of destroying the Phoenix force and Tony tries to intercept it. His attack however splits the Phoenix apart instead of destroying it, sending a piece of the entity in the bodies of the 5 X-Men, calling themselves the Phoenix 5, they take Hope and leave the Avengers on the moon as they return to Earth.

Act 2 begins 10 days after the emergence of the Phoenix 5, and they have begun to remake the world. Ending hunger, disease, & war, they also succeed in turning into a paradise for mutants, but not all is well in the new world. The President tells the Avengers that even though they have done tons of good, the P5 need to be stopped as that much power always corrupts. The Avengers once again descend upon Utopia in order to extract Hope, believing she is the key to taking down the P5. They are nearly defeated by Cyclops until the Scarlet Witch interferes, showing that she can actually hurt the P5. The Avengers take Hope with Cyclops (tired of the Avengers constant attacks) making a declaration stating “No More Avengers”. Another battle with the Avengers results with the P5 capturing Hawkeye and the Avengers being forced to retreat. The Avengers make their way to Wakanda (Home of the Black Panther) when they are attacked by Namor, the team manages to take him down, but Wakanda is destroyed in the process. The conclusion of this battle reveals however that when a member of the P5 is defeated, their piece of the force is transferred to the others, making the remaining ones stronger. The Avengers with nowhere else to go move to K’un L’un (home of the Iron Fist) when he reveals he can help Hope control the Phoenix.

The Final Act begins a few days after the Wakanda battle with the Avengers regrouping in K’un L’un. Spider-Man has been tasked with teaching Hope how to control the Phoenix, and more and more Avengers are being captured by the X-Men in their quest to recapture Hope. Captain America hatches a plan to save some of their captured numbers, while Iron Man & Black Panther try to find a way to stop the remaining Phoenixes. With the help of Charles Xavier & Storm (The former not approving of his former pupils recent actions & the latter fearing the P5 and feeling guilty over Namor’s destruction of Wakanda) help the Avenger’s infiltrate Magik’s Limbo prison. Their rescue is impeded by Magik & Colossus who try to cut them off, things get desperate as the fight drags on but Spider-Man decides to sacrifice himself to allow the others to escape. He succeeds in forcing the siblings to turn on each other, causing them to knock each other out, losing their Phoenix powers, but this new development doesn’t go as well as expected, as Emma finds the Avengers location and Cyclops (whose power has increased due to Magik & Colossus losing theirs) arrives in K’un L’un to take Hope away. Scott proceeds to tear through K’un L’un and the Avengers standing in his way, but Hope uses a technique called the Omega Fist to transport him to the moon, only increasing his anger as he rushes back to Utopia in order to seek more power. The story reaches it’s climax where it began, on the island of Utopia. The Avengers arrive on the island, not for Hope, but to stop the remaining Phoenixes. Along with X-Men, the Avengers succeed at holding them at bay, until Scott absorbs Emma’s power, becoming the one true Phoenix. He begins to lose control of the power however, and becomes Dark Phoenix. Xavier tries to reason with him, but Scott not wanting to hear anymore more words, kills his mentor & father figure. Cap, having exhausted all other options, sends in Hope & the Scarlet Witch reasoning that only their combined power can defeat Cyclops. They succeed (after Scott sees a vision of his ex-wife Jean Grey telling him to let go), but the Phoenix leaves Scott’s body and enters Hope. Hope uses the power to restore the mutant population, and together she and the Scarlet Witch wish away the Phoenix for good.

In the end, Scott is put into to prison for his crimes (only to be broken out by Magneto, Magik, Emma, & Danger) & Captain America (feeling that the Avengers hadn’t done enough to help mutantkind) creates a new team comprised of both Avengers (Cap, Thor, & Scarlet Witch) & X-Men (Wolverine, Rogue, & Team Leader Havok). Thus changing the status quo and leading Marvel to a new era.

Two different universes, two different legacies, each being changed with a bang.

One being restarted:

The other heading into a new era:

Each of these world’s has become something more than what they were before, both taking bold, new steps, but which universe is taking a step in the right direction?

Ladies & Gentleman I welcome you to the New NOW!