It seems everything old is new again at Marvel Comics.
While the publisher has been hinting for months at a brighter, shinier future for its core superhero universe with the advent of May's "Heroic Age" branding, Marvel made the first official announcement of its post "Siege" event plans today via a story in USA Today. And the first stop on the upbeat tour of the Marvel U is the Avengers franchise which will see a new core series – titled simply "Avengers" – launch from writer Brian Michael Bendis.
"The 'brand new day' of the Heroic Age presents a tonal shift to optimism, a world filled with hope but quite hellish villains," Bendis explained in the story, which also included word from Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada who noted that in the new branding for the Marvel line "heroes will be heroes again" featuring "a throwback to the early days of the Marvel Universe, with more of a swashbuckling feel."
The announcement represents a major, though not unexpected, shift in the tone of the publisher's stories, which have gained sales dominance over the past several years for plot lines exploring the darker side of superheroing from the highly publicized "Civil War" event to the recent "Dark Reign" status quo.
The USA Today story also noted that the relaunched "Avengers" monthly would start with a new #1 rather than pick up the original series numbering which Bendis himself helped end in 2004. No artist or full lineup was revealed for the book, however the comic will feature Marvel's "big three" of Captain America, Iron Man and Thor. And while that may come as no surprise to fans after the company strongly hinted at a classic lineup for their marquee team, much about the story specifics remain in doubt. For example, while the article promises a "reborn" Captain America, the promotional art by Jim Cheung features new Cap Bucky Barnes rather than the recently revived Steve Rogers.
The art also holds possible hints to the state of Marvel's heroes in the wake of "Siege" such as a heroic Hawkeye – possibly Clint Barton regaining his mantle. And regular readers will doubtlessly be wondering what's in store for the entire Avengers franchise. While Bendis recently confirmed that the four comics which currently make up the brand would end as "Siege" wrapped, it's very doubtful that Marvel would replace four of its most profitable titles with only one ongoing series.
For more on this first piece of "Heroic Age" news, read USA Today's story and check back to CBR for more info on the Avengers franchise as it becomes available.