12:36pm PT by Graeme McMillan
Marvel's Comic Book Future Is "Divided"
Marvel's comic book universe is going to stay divided following the current Civil War II storyline, if a newly released promotional image for this fall's Marvel NOW! publishing relaunch is anything to go by.
Bearing the tagline, "Divided We Stand," the image by Mike Deodato, the current artist on Invincible Iron Man, features two groups of characters separated by a literal chasm. Fans have already been speculating on what each group stands for — is one the morally ambiguous anti-hero team, with the other being the more upstanding group of heroes? Is there a generation gap present, with all but one of the characters on the right of the image being significantly younger than their counterparts? — but one thing can certainly be drawn from the promotional image: Some of the biggest names from Marvel's comic book universe appear to be missing.
Absent from the image are the current versions of Thor and Iron Man, as well as the Sam Wilson Captain America and Peter Parker Spider-Man, the Black Widow and Ant-Man, with only one member of the Guardians of the Galaxy visible. (Also missing: any members of the X-Men or Fantastic Four.)
Instead, the image features multiple members of the Deadpool & The Mercs For Money lineup, including the gun-toting Foolkiller and Solo, as well as deadly clown Slapstick, alongside a Doctor Doom holding the Iron Man helmet, Odinson — the original Thor replaced by Jane Foster two years ago — and Steve Rogers, the original Captain America recently revealed as an agent of Hydra. Elektra, Black Panther, Jessica Jones, Captain Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy's Gamora fill out the left side of the image, with those on the right including Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, Doctor Strange, Moon Girl and new creation Mosaic.
"It's a glimpse as to whom we can point to in the coming year, with just enough 'What the heck's going on there' spots to get people speculating," Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso told Fast Company about the image. "They'll either be in a solo series, or they'll be a key member of a team or they'll do something that you will be talking about in a Marvel book that will bring them into a position of prominence."
Marvel NOW! launches this fall, with the publisher promising more details about the lineup in coming weeks.