How Are Deadpool And Co. Doing With Fresh Start?
In late November of 2017 C. B. Cebulski, former editor and international Talent Liaison for Marvel Comics, took the job of Editor in Chief (https://www.bleedingcool.com/2017/11/17/scoop-c-b-cebulski-editor-marvel-comics/ ). Then in February of 2018 Cebulski and Marvel announced Marvel Fresh Start; a new publishing initiative to excite the readership (https://www.cbr.com/marvel-comics-2018-refresh-reboot/). Part of the Fresh Start initiative was that Marvel was going to relaunch their books with brand new number ones priced at five dollars. This, much to the agitation of Marvel’s readers, was less of a Fresh Start and more of the same.
The biggest part of the problem is that just six months before this, the previous Editor in Chief, Alex Alonso, had launched Marvel Legacy, which renumbered many series back to their original numbering, which also meant that several books that where about to hit major milestones, Captain America #700, Amazing Spider-Man #800, Deadpool #300 to name a few, were going to get over-sized, six to ten dollar issues. So, not only are they going to charge you ten dollars for Amazing Spider-Man #800, but in just two months you can buy Amazing Spider-Man #1 for five dollars. Are you excited yet? No? Bueller?
Even Marvel’s announcement of new number ones instantly got them flak online. So, much so that they had to run damage control by announcing that the Fresh Start books would feature ‘dual numbering’, which meant a nice big number one at the top and a smaller print number reflecting what the legacy numbering of the books would be underneath (https://www.cbr.com/marvel-fresh-start-trade-dress-dual-numbering/). This isn’t an original move from Marvel either; they did the same thing on their books in the early 2000’s. To me the dual numbering idea seems like a last minute panic meeting solution to a problem they didn’t see coming and what’s sad is that they didn’t see it coming.
There were encouraging announcements as well, such as the return of the Fantastic Four. I’m not a fan of the comic myself, but I know that it’s a popular book that fans have been asking about since the title ended in 2015. Marvel said that Dan Slott would be writing the book with Sarah Pichelli on art. I like both creators, the team themselves don’t excite me as a reader, so I’m not picking up that book.
The one Fresh Start title I am looking forward to is Immortal Hulk, written by Al Ewing. The premise is that every time Bruce Banner dies, the Hulk climbs out of the grave. From that explanation it will come as no surprise that this is aiming to be more of a horror comic. Much like the FF, I’ve never been a big Hulk fan, though I have read more Hulk comics in my life then FF. That being said I like horror comics, I love Al Ewing and I’m lukewarm to the Hulk, but those elements combined make this a comic I want to read, which shows that a new writer with a fresh take is what Marvel needs right now.
The creative team on Deadpool is also changing, which I’m apprehensive about. Skottie Young is taking over from Gerry Duggan. I’ve been loving Duggan’s run on Deadpool. It’s in at least my top three favorite Deadpool runs, so I was very disappointed that he was leaving. Then they announced Young and as a writer I haven’t been impressed with this offerings. I haven’t read his Image book I Hate Fairyland, about a girl who gets stuck in a fantasy world as a child and now decades later just wants to go home and will take her violent revenge on Fairyland if she can’t. I did read his Rocket Racoon and Rocket and Groot from Marvel and the early issues were entertaining, but it got boring especially in the later half and after a year and a half he left the book.
Marvel is still announcing books for the Fresh Start initiative, so they may yet surprise me with a new book I’m exited for. I’ve been down on Fresh Start so far, but what I’m seeing is just rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. Taking writers off books they’ve been on for years and moving them to a new title. Sometimes those changes were necessary, I’ve heard a lot of negative comments on the last few years of Dan Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man, and some I feel weren’t, like Duggan on Deadpool, but Duggan may have wanted to leave. In the end I just can’t be excited for a new batch of number ones. Marvel is like a grandparent who you gives you socks for Christmas every year, no matter whether you want them or not.