We know that Marvel Comics already have a big “event” booked to follow up Civil War II this year, with the Captain America- centric Secret Empire. But on February 16, Marvel teased something potentially even bigger, something they are calling Generations. Marvel tweeted out the image announcing this new series, with art by the legendary Alex Ross:
GENERATIONS – coming Summer 2017. pic.twitter.com/YdLf37UL8G
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) February 16, 2017
We still don’t know what Generations is yet outside this one image. Is it an upcoming event mini-series, or is it the next overarching storyline to cross over all the various Marvel titles? What we do know is that the art by Ross features the original and modern versions of Jean Grey (the Phoenix and the time tossed teenage Jean, who are technically the same person), Wolverine (Logan and X23), Thor (Odinson and Jane Foster), Captain America (Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson), Nova (Richard Rider and Sam Alexander), Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell and Carol Danvers), Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers and Kamala Khan), Hawkeye (Clint Barton and Kate Bishop), Iron Man (Tony Stark and Riri Williams), Spider-Man (Peter Parker and Miles Morales) and the Hulk (Bruce Banner and Amadeus Cho).
Recently, its been suggested that after the somewhat disappointing buzz for Marvel’s Civil War II, and an overall dwindling of Marvel’s usually dominant market share in 2016, the publisher was going to a “back to basics” approach with their characters, meaning the well known, original versions of many of these beloved icons will return. So, Wolverine will come back from the dead and possibly take his name back from X-23, Bruce Banner will return, and, almost certainly, Tony Stark will come back as Iron Man.
But Marvel faces a dilemma in doing so. After all, all those beloved, classic characters, or at least most of them, are white dudes. And their replacements have been people of color and women, a true sign of Marvel being forward thinking. But the original versions are what appear in movies, and are what are plastered all over merchandise of every kind. If they bring back the originals, does that negate all the progress they’ve made?
Of course, you can have your cake and eat it too with some of these characters; for example there are two Captain America books at the moment, one for Steve Rogers and one for Sam Wilson, and two Thor titles, one for the Odinson and the other for Jane Foster. But can that rule be applied to all of these characters? Can the market support two version of each of the iconic heroes?
Although there are only two X-Men characters in this image, my belief is that this Generations comic — whether it’s a mini-series or an overarching publishing initiative–will focus on the original time-lost X-Men. The original five, or “O5” as they are now called, have been in the modern Marvel universe for almost five years now, brought forward in time by the X-Men’s Beast. And with the group getting their own titles soon, X-Men: Blue, it’s obvious that Marvel has no plans to send them back to their own time anytime soon.
The apparent anomaly of the original X-Men co-existing with their future counterparts has been put on the back burner for a long time now, but that storyline needs to be addressed once and for all, and I think Generations might be doing that. And in doing so, I think will bring other Marvel characters from the early days to the current Marvel Universe. It’s no coincidence that in Alex Ross’ image, the “classic” versions of Hulk, Captain America, Thor and Hawkeye are all wearing their early ’60s costumes — which happens to be the same era of the original five X-Men.
DC Comics had great success last year bringing their more iconic versions of their heroes back with DC Rebirth; could Generations be Marvel’s version of the same thing? I imagine we will find out soon as more details emerge.
What do you think Generations could be? Share your thoughts with us on Marvel’s latest with us down below.
Image: Marvel Comics