The Watchtower
A Tale of Two Watchtowers
The Watchtower is a weekly column, commenting on the biggest and strangest comic news and rumors of the week. Each column will include noteworthy books scheduled for release that same week. As always comments and discussion are welcome. Until I think of something better, news items will be titled by HORRIBLE puns and word play.

Smart Monkey!

A few weeks back, Chris Roberson made a very public departure from DC Comics in response to their treatment of creators and creator's rights, specifically DC's handling of Before Watchmen. In the week's that followed, Roberson revealed his plans for MonkeyBrain Comics. The books would be published digitally first exclusively through Comixology with the creators themselves maintaing rights to their characters and any other media or merchandising, and receiving the lion's share of the profits, minus only money taken by MonkeyBrain to cover the cost of marketing. The first five titles launched today on Comixology, and the whole lot can be picked up for $6. Check back later in the week for a special review of the first wave of MonkeyBrain books.

New 22, New 22!

We've known for quite some time that Marvel has big plans in store for key creators, characters, and franchises following the end of Avengers vs. X-Men. Today, in an EW exclusive press release, Marvel began to reveal their plans for 2012 and beyond. Since the initial announcement, more details and rumors have been trickling out, most courtesy of Bleeding Cool. I'll begin with a roundup of the news that has been confirmed, follow that with persistent rumors, and finish up with my own thoughts and speculation.

-The initiative has been titled: Marvel NOW!
-The initiative is a relaunch, it will feature new titles, old titles launching with new number 1s, and many of Marvel's top creators tackling new assignments and characters they haven't had a crack at yet.
-The initiative is not a reboot. There will be NO continuity resets accompanying the relaunch.
-22 titles in total will be launched as part of the initiative, one new title a week, running from October through February.
-Many characters, including Captain America, Thor, Cyclops, and Hulk will be getting costume redesigns.
-Three titles have been confirmed.
---All New X-Men: Brian Bendis and an unknown artist. The book will feature the original five X-Men traveling to the present and being less than pleased with the world they discover. It is unclear if this is the premise for the whole book or if this is just the opening story line or if this is a mini series akin to Spider-Men. Too me, this sounds like the premise of an opening arc, with Bendis taking over a roster of X-Men roughly similar to Kieron Gillen's current squad.
---Uncanny Avengers: Rick Remender and John Cassaday. The EW article calls this book Marvel's new flagship title and that it will directly spin out of the end of AVX and feature Captain America and Wolverine leading a team of Avengers and X-Men.
---Avengers: Jonathan Hickman. Featuring longer arcs as well as standalone stories, featuring a team of over 18 Avengers, and shipping bi-weekly.

----Captain America: Rick Remender and John Romita Jr.
----Wolverine: Frank Cho
----Iron Man: Kieron Gillen and Greg Land
----Fantastic Four: Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca
----Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.: Jeff Parker
----Guardians of the Galaxy: Bendis
----Nova: Loeb and Ed McGuinness
-----Avengers Assemble: Mark Waid

---Marvel generally publishes around 40-42 ongoing titles per month. Meaning the relaunch will encompass a little over half of their catalogue, not quite as extensive as DC, but still impressive.

---Drawing the relaunch out over 5 months will help the titles gain a foothold, and not overwhelm retailers the way many complained the New 52 did. However trying to maintain the excitement over the full length of the launch and hold the news cycle might prove difficult.

---Don't fear for your favorite title yet, as it seems like half of Marvel's catalogue will remain intact and the fact that Marvel is launching new titles as late as August (the highly promoted Hawkeye for one emphasizes the fact that this is not a reboot, and many titles will continue on unaffected.

---Dan Slott's been saying big things are happening for Spider-Man after issue #700, I wouldn't rule Amazing Spider-Man out as a relaunch book.

Again thanks to Bleeding Cool for compiling such comprehensive Marvel NOW! coverage. More rumors, speculation, analysis, and the occasional fact will be posted as they become available.

That's it for this week. Check out these titles in stores tomorrow (or Thursday depending on your retailer given the holiday):
MonkeyBrain Books Exclusive to Comixology Digital Platform:
Aeson's Ark #1
Edison Rex #1
Bandette #1
Amelia Cole and The Unknown World #1
October Girl #1

Action Comics #11
Animal Man #11
Batman Earth One HC (Geoff Johns and Gary Frank!)
Earth 2 #3
Swamp Thing #11
Amazing Spider-Man #689
Avengers vs X-Men #7
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #15
Uncanny X-Men #15
Morning Glories #20

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