The Cliffs of Insanity: My Version of the Marvel Reboot

Avengers vs. X-Men
Is this too confusing for new readers? Disney apparently believes so. Image copyright Marvel.

The Marvel Universe, as we’ve known it since 1961, is ending.

The Marvel Universe is beginning.

In comic book terms, Marvel is doing a reboot or hitting the reset button. Reboots are one of those weird phenomena specific to comics. Basically, the powers that be determine that their universe of characters have too much baggage, too much backstory, for any new reader to understand. The answer is rebooting and starting fresh with all the characters back to the beginning, perhaps with some new pieces, and perhaps with old, non-working pieces jettisoned.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that cleanly. DC has rebooted three times since the 1980s and each time, all the old stories were tossed aside and new ones were told. But sometimes the new stories were so similar to the old ones (see: Batman) that it was hard to remember what had happened to the Caped Crusader and what no longer applied. The Legion of Superheroes, which seemed to undergo perpetual rebooting, now has backstory so mixed up that likely only Mark Waid can keep it straight. I try and my brain melts.

Marvel Entertainment is, of course, now owned by Disney, and though details remain sketchy as to what the new universe will look like, a sure bet is that it’ll look more like the cinematic Marvel Universe. Because Disney isn’t satisfied with just the regular comic book market found in local comic shops. They want to reach all those moviegoers. This is likely their first step.

Xavier and Magneto Would Be a Couple in My Marvel Universe

A couple of years ago, I was playing a game on a comic board (the late, lamented Bendis Board on Jinxworld) and one of the exercises was to reboot and then recreate the Marvel Universe.

Just chess? I don't think so. Image via 20th Century Fox & Marvel Entertainment
Just chess? I don’t think so. Image via 20th Century Fox & Marvel Entertainment

Not only did we have to decide what the new starting point was, we had to decide on creative teams, and also on weekly shipping schedules. To make the game interesting, we couldn’t just pick creators out of a hat. We had to use creators who could reasonably expect would agree to be on the books. However, our reboot differs from the real upcoming reboot in that it contains the X-Men and Fantastic Four, whose movie rights are owned by companies other than Disney. Odds are good that the new Marvel Universe will find a way to work around these characters.

Participating in our group were myself and fellow board members, Wayland Smith (Kingsmythe on the board), Kedd, Slewo O., Mark4Myself, and JasonWGBB007.

Doctor Strange in the 1930s? Image via Marvel Comics
Doctor Strange in the 1930s? Image via Marvel Comics

It was truly one of the most fun things I’ve ever done.  You can see we took chances on going outside the box and changed the nature of relationship between Professor X and Magneto from the books. I’d argue it’s a slight change because, really, one only has to watch the X-Men movies to see the subtext that’s practically text.

Our basic concept of the reboot was that more single titles that covered many genres would be more likely to appeal to the audience that isn’t reading comics on a regular basis, especially those we could reach through the same-day digital issue via Comixology.

In our reboot, we could assign creators if they were plausible. But if this was truly happening, we’d have to get all these people to agree to take on the work. Not an easy task.

My favorite single pitch was the Dr. Strange book set into the 1930s as a mystic agent of the British government. A mystic Indiana Jones. I know, Marvel won’t actually do it but I’d love to see it. Hey, someone tell Kevin Feige and Benedict Cumberbatch about this please. And some of our titles have come to pass, such as S.H.I.E.L.D., which is now also a television series, albeit with a different cast.

So, GeekMom readers, what titles do you love that you’d like to see more of right now and, if you’re not reading, what kind of titles would bring you in?

Avengers Line

1. Avengers–Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, and Captain Marvel are the army to call in when all else fails. Uneasily aligned, their first task may be their last: How do you stop the all-powerful Celestials from remaking the Earth?
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Olivier Coipel

2. Captain Marvel–Carol Danvers is an Air Force colonel, test pilot, and superhuman by virtue of her contact with the alien race, the Kree. Her first mission as a superhero is to stop their secret experiments on the human race, and planned invasion of Earth.
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artist: Dexter Soy

3. Thor–For Thor, the god of Thunder, life has taken a turn for the worse: His father is missing, his brother is on the Throne of Asgard, and he is trapped on Earth. He must now use his godly powers to protect humankind, as well as find a way to return home and restore order to Asgard.
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Stuart Immonen

4. Iron Man–Billionaire inventor Tony Stark has a team of Iron Men to fight on the front lines of wars across the world, though with public opinion turning against his new weapon, Stark is fighting on multiple fronts. With support from his friend James Rhodes, and trusted assistant Virginia “Pepper” Potts, Tony fights in the boardrooms of his company and the military. But when money and finesse aren’t enough, Stark suits up as the Invincible Iron Man to protect what he holds dear and fight against threats to his company.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: David Aja

5. Captain America–James “Bucky” Barnes, the new heir to the Captain America title, struggles to continue filling the void left by his old partner Steve Rogers the original holder of the mantle and fight the new evils of the 21st century alongside his partner: Rikki Barnes, his great-niece and the new Bucky.
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Gabriel Hardman

6. Captain America & Bucky–The history and legacy of Captain America through the decades. Featuring Steve Rogers and all of his successors.
Writer: Bryan Q. Miller
Artist: Dustin Weaver

7. Excalibur–The British lead European S.H.I.E.L.D. team. Made up of members from across Europe and focused on defending against regional threats, Excalibur tries to prove to the world that different cultures and nations are more powerful working together than against one another.
Cast: Captain Britain, Psylocke, Colossus, Pete Wisdom, Nightcrawler, the Black Knight, and Faiza Hussain.
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Alan Davis

8. Hulk–Bruce Banner struggles to control the raging monster that exists within him, while rebuilding the life he saw torn apart by his own obsessions.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Dale Eaglesham

9. Avengers: The Initiative–Under Commander Maria Hill’s direction, unaffiliated Avengers Operatives insert themselves into the worldwide superhero community searching for allies in the on-going fight against the deep seeded reaches of terrorist organizations like HYDRA, A.I.M., and Black Spectre.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Bryan Hitch

10. League of Losers–Even henchmen have aspirations. Several low level henchmen from evil organizations around the MU come together at The Bar With No Name to commiserate, heal the wounds of a thousand beatings handed out by Spider-Man, Captain America, Luke Cage, and other heroes, and drink. But these lackeys want more out of life than being the punching bags for some roided up guy in a flag suit. They want to be their own boss. They want to create their very own super villain organization. But what will be their greatest enemy? S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Avengers or their own incompetence?
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Kev Walker

11. S.H.I.E.L.D.–SHIELD director Maria Hill leads a covert team of highly trained spies including Hawkeye and Black Widow, on the black ops missions that keep the planet from slipping into all out war at any moment.
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Mike Deodato

12. Thunderbolts–The Avengers’ rapid response team. When situations are spiraling out of control the Thunderbolts are sent in to hit hard, fast, and without mercy.
Cast: Luke Cage (leader), Valkyrie, an exile from Asgard, Goliath, Inertia, Sunspot, and Songbird.
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Terry Dodson

13. Alpha Flight–Canada’s super-powered team operating out of Department H and slowly making themselves known as big time players in the super powered arms race, but with increasing pressure from the Canadian government for more oversight, and a growing distrust from the Canadian public, how long can the team truly last?
Cast: Guardian, Vindicator, Sasquatch, Northstar, and Snowbird
Writer: Michael Avon Oeming
Artist: Esad Ribic

14. Black Panther–T’Challa has inherited the crown of the most technologically advanced and isolationist nation in the world, and his first act is to open the borders in an attempt to break down generations’ worth of paranoia and xenophobia. The only question now is will his external enemies get him before his internal enemies have a chance.
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Sara Pichelli

15. Young Avengers–The next generation of heroes. They’ve been trained, but being thrown into the middle of the fire won’t leave them all unscathed.
Cast: Patriot, a Captain America legacy character; Stature, the daughter of a S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist who was accidentally exposed to his growth ray; the mysterious Iron Lad; Hulkling, the result of Skrull experimentation on humans; and super-powered twins Wiccan and Speed who were found as babies after a botched S.H.I.E.L.D. raid. Their origins remain unknown.
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Humberto Ramos


16. X-Force–The U.S. Government’s blackops team of mutants that has existed since the first World War in some form or another. Their existence is on a need to know basis only.
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Chris Bachalo

17. Uncanny X-Men–Magneto’s book.
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Tim Seeley

18. X-Men–Xavier’s book.
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Barry Kitson

Professor Charles Xavier and Erik (Magneto) Lensherr were friends, lovers, and are now enemies. Xavier believes in teaching peaceful co-existence between mutants and humans while Magneto offers mutants a chance to survive, if necessary, by pushing humans out of the way. They’ll fight each other for the hearts and minds of the next generation.

19. Deadpool–The so-called “Merc With a Mouth,” Wade Wilson aka Deadpool is out to prove he was the greatest product of the Weapon X program, and gain all the fame and adulation he can handle, as the World’s greatest mercenary.
Writer: Fabian Niceza
Artist: Mark Bagley

20. Exiles–Magda Lensherr ran away from her husband, Erik (Magneto), when it became clear that the need for power would eventually consume him. Now she fronts a loose organization of mutant outcasts and misfits, some hidden beneath cities across the world, some hidden in plain sight, like her children Wanda and Pietro. But soon, Xavier & Magneto’s war will pull her world apart.
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Amy Reeder

21. X-Men Legacy–A trip through the mutant past of the Marvel Universe, peaking into the younger selves of Xavier and Magneto as well as mutants of generations past.
Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Chris Samnee

22. Wolverine–He’s been everywhere in the world and done everything except find a cause he can believe in. But with a possible war between humans and mutants, he can’t stay on the sidelines.
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Butch Guice

Cosmic Titles

23. Fantastic Four–The first family of science. They are explorers as well as heroes, often finding new problems simply through Reed’s inventions. Classic line up of Reed, Sue, Johnny, Ben. Based in the Baxter Building in New York.
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Marcos Martin

24. Nova–Richard Rider is pulled in way over his head when is mistakenly granted access to the Nova Force. When the responsibility of defending the planet is thrust in his lap will he be able to rise to the occasion or will fear and self-doubt lead to the destruction of the universe?
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Salvador Larocca

25. Guardians of the Galaxy–The universe is in chaos, with the fires of conflict spreading thick through the galaxy, something must be done. A group brought together out of necessity, rather than choice, forms to save everything. Star-Lord: Disgraced hero and now a wanted man, Groot: King of Planet X, Rocket Raccoon: Half-World’s top cop, Quasar: Protector of the Universe, Gamora: Deadliest Assassin in the Galaxy, Adam Warlock: Universal Savior. They’re brought together by Major Victory, a man who claims to be from the future, and the only one who can save the present from utter annihilation.
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Leonard Kirk

26. Inhumans–An offshoot of humanity created by the Kree and relocated by their advanced technology, the mighty king Black Bolt rules over Attilian, a mobile space station. With the Inhuman royals (Medusa, Crystal, Triton, Karnak, Lockjaw, Gorgon) they keep the peace aboard the station and deal with travelers, merchants, and criminals.
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Fiona Staples

27. Mar-Vell and the Starjammers–Kree Warrior Mar-vell is wanted by his own people as a traitor, he’s hunted by the Skrulls as an enemy and he’s hiding in Shi’iar space under the name of Corsair and leading a gang of pirates who try to be on the right side of justice. Crew: Hepzibath, Raza, Ch’od, Sikorsky, Xenith, and Lyja (a Skrull).
Creative team: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Declan Shalvey

28. S.W.O.R.D.–Tasked with keeping Earth safe from extraterrestrial menaces, S.W.O.R.D. is based on an orbital station, watching over their home world. Abigail Brand uses captured alien tech and whatever sympathetic aliens they can recruit to fight off the far too many aliens that are interested in Earth.
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Steve Sanders

Marvel Knights

29. Spider-Man–Peter Parker has been Spider-Man for only eighteen months and now he’ll have to enter the world as an adult following his high school graduation. As he moves out on his own, he’ll have to tackle college, dating, and a higher profile in the growing world of superheroes.
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Pia Guerra

30. Punisher–Following a deep cover operation gone wrong, Frank Castle’s family was targeted by a loose connection of crime bosses. Now Frank teeters on the edge of sanity, barely maintaining his day job as an ATF agent as his thirst for vengeance and his need to punish the guilty grows out of control.
Writer: Brian Bendis
Artist: Michael Lark

31. Daredevil–The city of Boston in a powder keg waiting to explode between the Irish mob, racial tensions, and the demands of a growing city. By day, Matt Murdock works within the flawed system, using his skills as a lawyer to right wrongs within the system, by night he takes to the streets as Daredevil using his fists to punish the criminals that escape through the cracks.
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Paolo Rivera

32. Marvel All Stars–Focused on short arcs and featuring team ups between street level MU heroes and villains. Cast rotates every arc or two.
Writer: Brian Bendis
Artist: Amanda Conner

33. Daughters of the Dragon–The Daughters of the Dragon are more plugged into the seedy underworld of the MU than any else. Acting as information brokers, vigilantes, and middlemen in the constant battle against the rot and decay of crime, the DotD prove that knowledge truly is power.
Cast: Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, Jessica Jones, Paladin, Cloak & Dagger, and She-Hulk as sometime lawyer, sometime muscle.
Writer: Paul Dini
Artist: Alex Maleev

34. Strange: Agent of MI:13–In the 1930s, Stephen Strange works as a field agent and occult expert for MI13, he circles the globe hunting for obscure artifacts and battling against rival occultists, demon obsessed Nazis, and the occasional death cult.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Francisco Francavalla

35. Iron Fist–The Seven Capital Cities have been destroyed, and it’s up to Danny Rand to find whatever is responsible and hopefully rebuild the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven. But first, he must convince the champions of each city that he was not reason behind all of the destruction.
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Cassandra James

36. Ghost Rider–Too stubborn to die, Johnny Blaze clawed his way out of hell hoping to redeem himself, now he’s on the run from angels, demons, and fanatic freelance spiritual bounty hunters. With nowhere to turn all Blaze can do is ride.
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: David Mack

37. Moon Knight–Marc Spector nearly died, should have died, and his life was redeemed by Khonshu, Egyptian god of Justice and Vengeance. He now fights crime as the Moon’s Knight of Vengeance. He uses an array of weaponry adapted from his career as a mercenary, and receives guidance in the form of intuition and the ability to fade into the darkness of the night. He is joined on his quest by Frenchie, a helicopter pilot from his merc days, and Marlene, his lover and manager of his wealth and businesses from his cover identity of Stephen Grant.
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Mark Texeira

38. Sleepwalker–Nightmares are escaping from the dreamscape and it’s up to the Sleepwalker and his human alter ego, Rick Sheridan, to make sure the world can sleep easy.
Writer: Joe Hill
Artist: Ben Templesmith

39. Midnight Sons–Blade and Damien Hellstrom hunt the things that go bump in the night, but their uneasy alliance and history of bad blood may destroy them before the monsters and demons get a chance.
Writer: John Rozum
Artist: Becky Cloonan

40. Nick Fury and the Howling Commandos–WWII action from Nick Fury’s perspective. Nick & his commandos are out in the middle of the Pacific, stranded, and first must rescue themselves from a raging sea, sharks, and enemy subs before they can even begin the job of getting to mainland China and driving out the Japanese invaders.
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Will Rosado

41. Rangers–A loose team in the American Southwest dealing with the unique challenges of the badlands, including sometimes fighting among themselves. Shooting Star is a markswoman with trick bullets of different types. Texas Twister controls small cyclones. Red Wolf is a Cheyenne warrior with connections to the Cheyenne wolf god. Phantom Rider is a mystically powered cowboy ghost. Firebird is a mutant with flight, energy, heat powers who sees Red Wolf as a collaborator with the white conquerors.
Writers: Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Paco Medina

42. Runaways–When S.H.I.E.L.D. takes down a major villain, their families are often left in disarray. Under the guise of creating stability, S.H.I.E.L.D. takes the children of captured super-powered villains into custody. In reality, they’re monitoring the kids for signs that they may just be the super villains of tomorrow. How far will one group of kids go to escape S.H.I.E.L.D. custody and prove that they are nothing like their parents?
Writer: Brian K. Vaughn
Artist: Adrian Alphona

43. Brother Voodoo–Thrust into the role of sorcerer Supreme, Jericho Drumm must hold line and defend the mortal realm against a continuous bleed of mystical enemies.
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Sean Phillips

44. Silver Sable and the Wild Pack–Silver Sable and her Wild Pack operate in the gap left between heroes like the Avengers and official groups like S.H.I.E.L.D. If the money’s right and the client’s credit clears, they’ll take the job. They work for private clients, governments that want deniability, and the occasional good cause when their PR agent screams loud enough. First arc: The Chinese government hires them to capture a band of new rogue supers, but the team learns all isn’t as it seems and start questioning the nature of the job.
Writer: Daniel Way
Artist: Jamal Igle

45. Power Pack–A family outing unexpectedly results in superpowers for a group of young siblings. Granted superhuman abilities by the mysterious ship they call “Friday,” Alex, Julie, Jack, and Katie Power decide to try becoming superheroes. But in a world still just adapting to the idea, what will the reaction be? The return of a fan favorite by the original creator.
Writer: Louise Simonson
Artist: Gurihiro Studios

46. Venom–Venom is an alien symbiote that escapes from SWORD custody and bonds itself to Flash Thompson, who’s just blown out his knee and won’t have that college football career he so desired. Flash tries to balance his ego, his newfound power, and his fear of the scary men in black who seem to be chasing him.
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Darick Robertson

47. Ka-Zar and the Savage Land–Lost as a child, Ka-Zar has come of age in the hidden world of The Savage Land. Now outsiders threaten to destroy the only home he’s ever known and Ka-Zar must bring together the squabbling factions of mutates to repel an enemy force like none they’ve ever seen.
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: ChrisCross

48. Marvel Two-Gun Western–Matt Hawk always believed in the rule of law until he moved West and found the rule of the gun only applied in Tombstone. As things get ever weirder around him and the town is put under siege by steam gadgets controlled by an immortal alchemist, Diablo, Matt’s going to have to call in all the help he can get, whether they’re wanted men or not.
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Khoi Pham

49. Werewolf By Night–Cursed by the bite of a werewolf, Jack Russell is determined to find a cure, punish the creature responsible for his condition, and hopefully return to the life he was forced to abandon.
Writer: David Liss
Artist: Emanuela Lupacchino

50. Amadeus Cho: Prince of Power–The 7th smartest person in the MU is 16, loves riding his Vespa, playing with his puppy, Kirby, and has his hands full running the Olympus Group and reigning in the Olympian Gods that act as the board of directors.
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Skottie Young

51. Union Jack–Set in the 1960s, Brian Falsworth is an MI6 agent charged with hunting down war criminals across the world. His mission takes us from the rainforests of Brazil to the Australian outback and anywhere else evil men may hide. Falsworth has seen how desperate men will stop at nothing to escape justice for their horrors they have committed.
Writer: Andy Diggle
Artist: Patrick Zircher

52. New Warriors–The New Warriors are young, popular, successful crime fighters funded by Lincoln Industries. They’re starting to think, however, that their boss is the vicious kingpin known as Tombstone and that he’s using them to eliminate his competition.
Cast: NightThrasher, Firestar, Debrii, Speedball, and MVP.
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Denys Cowan

Writer, Mom, Geek and Superhero. though usually not all four on the same day. Author of the award-winning Phoenix Institute Superhero series and the steampunk novel, The Curse of the Brimstone Contract.