Are the new Marvel Comic books entitled Marvel NOW! a reboot? What exactly is a reboot in the preferred nomenclature of the modern comics world? Does it describe a fresh, new start for the characters in an ongoing series that’s become stale and anachronistic? Or is it something else all together?
For some of us comic book nerds, it is as easy as it is haughty to get mired in endless, Mobius Loop-like debates over semantics. An example of this headache-inducing, almost impossible for comic lovers to shy away from situation can be found in the aforementioned word “reboot.” One can hardly read two paragraphs on the vast majority of comics-related blogs and websites these days without encountering this word at least once. It is one of those enigmatic terms that looks a lot simpler than it is once you get up close and personal with it.
It wasn’t that long ago that the verb reboot was almost exclusively used to describe the actions involved in powering down a personal computer and immediately powering it back up again, most often as an attempt to refocus its electronic brain. During the last decade or so, however, the comic book realm’s brain wizards and their sycophantic minions, including those of us who endeavor to report the news of the realm, have usurped the word.
In fact, the word reboot is used so often these days – usually as a succinct, convenient, one-word method to describe major changes within a specific publisher’s universe – that it has already worn out its welcome as a positive, or at least neutral, verb and has been forced to relocate in the negative sector of the universe.
This unfortunate turn of events for the bold and brave little word, reboot, was encapsulated by the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, Axel Alonso, when in an Entertainment Weekly interview he felt it necessary to explain that the legendary comic book publishing giant’s new Marvel NOW! initiative “ain’t a reboot. It’s a new beginning.” Alonso most likely said this as an effort to separate Marvel NOW! from DC Comics’ New 52! overhaul, and not because he has a personal vendetta against the word reboot. But since the terms “reboot” and “new beginning” are similar enough to bring about a furious debate between us semantically attuned comic book freaks, the damage was done.
Reboot can now only hold out hope that one day, in the not-too-distant future, it will once again receive its own personal reboot back into the positive connotation realm.
And Now: Marvel NOW!
In an attempt to stave off blood-vessel-bursting arguments over semantics, we will make every effort to avoid that particular word mentioned above and just give you a nuts-and-bolts description of Marvel Comics’ shiny new Marvel NOW! initiative.
Marvel announced over the summer of 2012 that it will unleash the beast it calls Marvel NOW! in the fall with the publication of Marvel NOW! Point One. Written by a team of comic book industry superstars, including Brian Michael Bendis, Matt Fraction, and Jeph Loeb, and drawn by an equally impressive squad of artists, such as Michael Allred, Ed McGuinness, and Steve McNiven, this title sets before itself the monumental task of answering the biggest question in its universe: Who will shape the future of Marvel now!?
All of your favorite Marvel superheroes – Avengers, X-Men, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and countless others – are revving up their engines, mythical adrenaline nearly bursting through their mythical veins, in breathless anticipation of Marvel NOW!’s advertised release date of October.
Are you ready, or do you need a reboot first?
Kevin P. Hanson