Ever since I wrote about how I’d have handled the big DC Comics relaunch/reboot/whatever, I’ve been thinking about what I would do with Marvel titles in a similar situation. I had a much harder time with Marvel than I did with DC—partly, I think, because many of DC’s characters can be boiled down into very iconic (ugh, I hate that word) representations, while Marvel characters tend to be more layered. I don’t know.
Anyway, I thought the best way to approach this was to roll the clock back and just start at the beginning. The Fantastic Four has just gone public with the accident that gave them their powers; the Avengers have assembled for the first time; no one on Earth knows what the holy hell a mutant is.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Peter Parker is a freshman at Empire State University. He’s been swinging through the concrete canyons of Manhattan for almost two years, but that doesn’t make it any easier. How will Peter juggle his classes, his job at The Daily Bugle, and being everyone’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man? As always, Peter has the love and support of his Aunt May and his two high school friends Harry Osborn and Mary Jane Watson. Of course things get even more complicated when Peter meets Gwen Stacy and Spider-Man meets the beguiling Black Cat.
The Spectacular Spider-Girl
For two years, teenager Anya Corazon has heard stories about Spider-Man. Inspired by his example, Anya trains herself in gymnastics and martial arts and, making a costume for herself, becomes the Spectacular Spider-Girl. Anya knows she’s really made it when a mysterious benefactor leaves her a new costume and spider-gear, contained in a package of webbing.
Jessica Drew, a top agent with SHIELD, was hand-selected to take part in a top secret experiment to recreate the powers and abilities of New York’s famous wall-crawler. Although the results were not what SHIELD expected, Drew became SHIELD’s first super-powered agent, Spider-Woman.
Daredevil: The Man Without Fear
Leaping from rooftop to rooftop, Daredevil is the scarlet-clad protector of New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen. Whether you’re a costumed criminal, a gangster, or a common thug, every crook in the Kitchen knows to beware of the Man Without Fear. And, let’s be honest, anyone who calls themselves Daredevil is not some emo, broody wanker. Or shouldn’t be, at least.
There are enough costumed heroes in the world to deal with the would-be conquerors and the alien menaces, but what about those who suffer at the hands of common, everyday criminals? That’s where Frank Castle, the Punisher, comes in. Frank Castle was an ex-Marine who lost his wife and kids to gangland violence. Using his military training, Castle becomes the Punisher and uses whatever means necessary to clean up the mean streets of New York City.
T’Challa is the exiled prince of Wakanda, forced to leave his people behind when his father’s wicked advisers usurped the throne. Trained as the Black Panther, the legendary Protector of Wakanda, T’Challa could no sooner stop protecting the innocent then he could stop breathing. With his younger sister, Shuri, at his side, the Black Panther travels the world offering assistance to those in need.
When soldier of fortune Marc Spector nearly dies on a mission in Egypt, he seeks refuge in what he believes to be a simple cavern. The cavern turns out to be an abandoned temple to the ancient Egyptian god of the moon, Khonsu, who appears before the dying Spector and offers him a second chance at life if he agrees to be his avatar on Earth. Upon agreeing, Spector is revived and granted the powers of the Moon Knight. With his associates “Frenchie” and Marlene Alraune by his side—as well as a list of alter egos, including millionaire Steven Grant and cab driver Jake Lockley—Moon Knight faces a variety of foes, both human and supernatural.
The Invincible Iron Man
Wealthy industrialist Tony Stark always has time for another drink or another beautiful woman. But, this playboy is also one of the smartest people in the world. Tired of seeing people using their genius to hurt others, Stark dons the Iron Man armor and tackles hi-tech villains, super criminals, anyone who seeks to use science for evil purposes. Stark’s employees Happy Hogan and Pepper Potts are always ready to assist his armored alter ego.
Steve Rogers is a man out of time. One minute he was fighting the Nazis and the next minute he awakes in the modern day. As Steve adjusts to the changes that have occurred in the world, Captain America becomes a symbol of liberty and justice once more. Cap is frequently joined by Nomad—aka Rikki Barnes Proctor, the grandniece of his former sidekick Bucky—as well as SHIELD operatives Falcon and Sharon Carter.
The Mighty Thor
Thor may be a god, but when the son of Odin is cast out of Asgard and banished to Earth until he learns humility, he must rely on the very human Jane Foster to help him figure out the stranger aspects of Midgard, like telephones.
The Incredible Hulk
After the incident that created the monster known as the Incredible Hulk and the battle with the newly-formed Avengers that resulted, scientist Bruce Banner must leave his old life behind and go on the run. Banner moves from place to place, staying one step ahead of General Thunderbolt Ross and the US military, and trying to keep the monster inside of him in check. Banner is aided on the road by teen prodigy—and former student—Amadeus Cho, Rick Jones, and Betty Ross.
The Sensational She-Hulk
After a blood transfusion from her cousin Bruce Banner, law student Jennifer Walters discovers that she can transform into the Sensational She-Hulk. With more control over her jade alter ego than her cousin, Jennifer embraces her new powers, teaming up with countless heroes around the world whenever danger strikes.
The Fantastic Four
When an accident gives them superpowers, scientist Reed Richards, pilot Ben Grimm, journalist Sue Storm, and Sue’s teenaged brother Johnny become the Fantastic Four. When they aren’t fighting supervillains or preventing alien invasions, Reed leads the Fantastic Four on missions of discovery into every corner of this universe, and universes beyond.
Cloak and Dagger
Cloak and Dagger were born when two teen runaways were kidnapped and used as lab rats by an underworld chemist attempting to create a new designer drug. Using their new abilities, Cloak and Dagger decide to devote themselves to protecting the homeless and runaway population of New York City.
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Half-brothers Johnny Blaze and Danny Ketch wander the backroads of America, taking odd jobs here and there. But, when a soul cries out for vengeance, Johnny and Danny become the host for Zarathos, the spirit of vengeance. Powered by hellfire and driven by vengeance, the guilty can not hide from Ghost Rider.
Set during World War II, this series focuses on the exploits of Captain America and Bucky, Human Torch and Toro, Miss America, Union Jack and Spitfire, and Namor as they face the Axis Powers in both the European and the Pacific Theaters. The Invaders will include a back-up feature starring Colonel Jack Fury and the Howlin’ Commandos.
The Powers—Alex, Julie, Jack, and Katie—never expected to be anything but ordinary kids. But, when an alien ship crashes in the woods behind their house, and the dying pilot transfers his powers into them, Power Pack is born. Shortly after the Pack’s first adventure, their father moves the family to New York City so he can take a teaching position at Empire State University; Alex and Julie befriend Johnny Storm and Anya Corazon.
What do you do if you find out that your parents are supervillains? If you’re the children of the Pride, you runaway from home. The Runaways travel the country, trying their best to foil their parents’ evil plans, while avoiding the never-ending stream of “professionals” loosed upon them by the Pride.
The Agents of Atlas
Who are the Agents of Atlas? Are they heroes? Villains? Both? Neither? Former SHIELD agent Jimmy Woo leads a rag-tag team that includes Namora, Marvel Boy, Gorilla-Man, Venus, and the Human Robot.
Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD
Tired of sitting behind a desk, SHIELD director Nick Fury hands control of the agency over to Maria Hill and returns to the field. With more experience than any other agent, Fury takes only the toughest missions. Fury’s old friend Dum Dum Dugan joins him, as well as Sharon Carter, Black Widow, and Falcon.
Blade and the Nightstalkers
Vampires, werewolves, zombies, and demons: they exist and they are beyond the skills and training of ordinary heroes. Half-vampire Blade has assembled a team of expert supernatural hunters: vampire Hannibal King and slayers Elsa Bloodstone and Frank Drake, and parapsychologist Dr. Rachel Van Helsing. Dr. Quincy Harker provides the research and Blade’s mentor Whistler provides the weaponry.
Dr. Stephen Strange heads a group of the most powerful mystics on the planet. They stand between our world and the worlds of eldritch beings of unlimited power and limited compassion. Strange, Brother Voodoo, Clea, Amanda Sefton, Pixie, Hellstorm, and Wong are all that stand between us and creatures that would fracture our sanity before they destroy our world.
Dr. Strange. Namor. She-Hulk. Valkyrie. Silver Surfer. Moon Knight. They may not get along. They might even hate each other. But, when the Earth is in danger, they will defend it.
The Howling Commandos
In a world where men and women with strange powers and abilities is becoming more and more commonplace, SHIELD would be foolish to turn a blind eye to the supernatural threats that plague our planet. Agent Clay Quartermain leads a special unit of supernatural agents.
Heroes for Hire
When an ordinary person needs a hero, there’s Heroes for Hire: Misty Knight, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Colleen Wing, Jewel, and Shang-Chi.
Led by Captain America’s occasional sidekick Nomad, the Young Allies—Spider-Girl, Toro, Firestar, and Gravity—are not a team as much as they’re a group of like-minded young heroes who band together whenever there’s trouble.
Obsessed with eradicating crime in all forms, Night Thrasher assembles a team of heroes he calls the New Warriors: Speedball, Namorita, Justice, Nova, Hellcat, and Squirrel Girl.
After a group of heroes forms the Avengers to confront a rampaging Hulk, heroes around the world start banding together to form teams to defend humanity from threats too large for individual heroes to handle. SHIELD (unofficially) refers to this process as “The Avengers Initiative.”
Bruce Banner, victim of a terrible accident, transforms into the Incredible Hulk and begins rampaging through the streets of Manhattan. Heroes Iron Man, Thor, Ms. Marvel, Ant Man, and Wasp join forces to defeat the Hulk. On that day, the Avengers were born. Operating out of Tony Stark’s Fifth Avenue mansion, the Avengers ranks quickly grew to include Captain America, Scarlet Witch, and Vision.
The West Coast Avengers
In an attempt to expand the Avenger’s influence, Tony Stark creates the West Coast Avengers. Stark’s friend Jim Rhodes, aka War Machine, leads the team that includes Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Wonder Man, Tigra, and Photon.
The Young Avengers
Inspired by the Avengers, several teen heroes band together and form the Young Avengers, taking on identities that pay homage to the older heroes: Patriot, Hawkeye, Hulkling, Wiccan, Stature, and Speed. Upon learning of this team, Tony Stark provides them with Vision 2.0, who decides to call himself Jonas.
Canada’s premiere superhero team. Led by the husband and wife team of Guardian and Vindicator, Alpha Flight—Sasquatch, Puck, Snowbird, Northstar, Aurora, Shaman, and Talisman—began as a government-controlled strike team. However, they soon grew wary of government interference and political expediency, deciding to go “freelance.”
The Winter Guard
Ursa Major, Crimson Dynamo, Red Guardian, Vanguard, and Darkstar form the Winter Guard, a team with a history that stretches all the way back to post-war Soviet Russia.
Named for the legendary sword of King Arthur, Excalibur is the United Kingdom’s own team of super-powered heroes. The roster includes team leader Captain Britain, his twin sister Psylocke, Meggan, Lionheart, Banshee, Black Knight, as well as the grandchildren of the original Union Jack and Spitfire. MI5 spook Peter Wisdom serves as the team’s liaison with the Home Office.
A joint U.S.-Canadian operation that dates back to the days of World War II. Weapon Plus was responsible for the creation of the Super Soldier Serum that created Captain America, as well as the adamantium bonding process that was used on Wolverine. Today, Weapon Plus is a special black ops arm of SHIELD and is led by former SHIELD agent George Washington Bridge. Weapon Plus operatives include Maverick, Deadpool, Silver Fox, Kestrel, and Marrow.
The Uncanny X-Men
Professor Charles Xavier created the Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngsters as a means to find teenagers with newly-manifested mutant powers and teach them how best to harness these powers. Over time, Xavier also decided that these young people could also use their gifts to fight evil and protect the helpless. The team of mutant superheroes known as the X-Men were born. Xavier’s first class of students—Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman, and Angel—have decided to stay on staff as “adviser” for the newer students: Nightcrawler, Rogue, Colossus, and Shadowcat. Xavier’s teaching staff also includes Moira MacTaggert, Storm and Wolverine.
The New Mutants
Xavier’s newest class of mutants: Cannonball, Magik, Magma, Sunspot, Wolfsbane, Karma, and Moonstar. The New Mutants have little experience using their powers and will have a long way to go before Xavier allows them to go out into the field.
X-Factor is a team of mutant heroes assembled by SHIELD. The roster was chosen by former SHIELD director Nick Fury and Professor Xavier: Havok (the older [yes, older] brother of Cyclops), Polaris, Multiple Man, Quicksilver, Siryn, Strong Guy, and M.
Explore the Marvel multiverse with Blink, Morph, and Mimic in this dimension-hopping series.
And because I love a good anthology…
Marvel Comics Presents: The perfect showcase for characters who don’t appear in any of the above books.
Marvel Team-Up: Spider-Man teaming up with the Human Torch? She-Hulk fighting crime alongside Black Panther? This is the title where you’d find amazing stories like those.
What If…?: Love the crazy hypothetical stories of the old What If…? series.
Astonishing Tales: Two stories every month. Tales of adventures in far-off lands or from times long ago.
Amazing Fantasy: Two stories that focus on sci-fi and speculative fiction.
Journey into Mystery: An anthology title that focuses primarily on horror and fantasy stories.
Tales of Suspense: Each issue would contain two stories of mystery/suspense or the supernatural.