Day 4 of Keb’s Marvel NOW! analysis and we can’t be stopped like Geto Boys. Today Keb analyzes series that changed titles and numbering such as Avengers Arena and Superior Spider-Man.
Tuesday's New Series
Yesterday's Re-Launched #1s
Today’s piece will be a lot shorter as we only have seven books to look at as opposed to ten or thirteen. That’s also a bit of a relief for me because I won’t have to write so many damn analyses. So far, it’s been fun though. Let’s get into it!
One of the biggest events of last summer/fall was the build-up to Amazing Spider-Man #700. It was a big deal not just because of the numbering but also because it marked another drastic change in a franchise that gets drastically changed every three years. The change in Spider-Man happened to align perfectly with the events of AvX, presenting Marvel with the perfect opportunity to take a number of their books and completely revamp them for their readers. There were only five books that got what I like to think of as mega make-overs: Amazing Spider-Man, The Mighty Thor, Avengers Academy, the Incredible Hulk and Dark Avengers*.
(note: I’m not 100% sure about Dark Avengers but I do recall Thunderbolts becoming Dark Avengers at some point so I’m doing some guesswork. If I’m wrong, let me know and I’ll give you a pat on the head.)
Under the Marvel NOW! re-launch, many of the characters remained (relatively) the same while helming books with different titles. In most cases, the status quo had changed for the characters, but in some cases the writers took a completely new approach to the title and built either a new story or new teams.
But geez Keb stop yammering. Get into the numbers already!
Superior Spider-Man (by Dan Slott & Ryan Stegman): Perhaps one of the most controversial stories of 2012 was the end of Dan Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man run. Basically, some shit happens and Peter Parker dies but doesn’t die and Otto Octavius is in Peter’s body and something. I try not to think of these things because I don’t want my brain to clot. In any case, some people were pissed enough to jump off Amazing Spider-Man at issue 700 and not look back. Of the 5 who were reading, 2 decided they hated Dan Slott and their childhoods were ruined. The other 3 readers, as well as 8 new readers wound up buying Superior Spider-Man for a total of 11 pick-ups. Even though it’s not enough to crack the top ten, I’d say it wasn’t so bad. Since the launch only 2 people have dropped the book, meaning 82% of readers are actually okay with Doctor Spider-Puss. I can’t wait until everything reverts back to normal in time for the next movie. That’s just me though.
Indestructible Hulk (by Mark Waid & Lienil Yu): There was a lot of hype for this book and I can understand why. The book picked up shortly after Jason Aaron’s Incredible Hulk run and took the Hulk’s 40-odd year theme and turned it around completely. Instead of Hulk on the run, we have Hulk and Banner working for S.H.I.E.L.D. It sounds pretty neat! Obviously a lot of OHers were excited for the book and it received a SMASHing 19 pick-ups! Of those, only 4 were staying on board after Aaron’s run and 13 people were going to start this fresh take on the Hulk. Can you blame them? Two people did decide to drop the Incredible Hulk beforehand (it had 6 readers pre-NOW). With only 2 of those 19 buyers dropping the book, Indestructible Hulk takes the third place among books with readers to date. Hulk SUCCESS!
Avengers Arena (by Dennis Hopeless & Kev Walker): If you ask OH writer Punchy about Avengers Arena and Tumblr, he might break down and cry like a girl. For those who aren’t aware, the title Avengers Academy changed, with new writer Dennis Hopeless taking the kids in the book and throwing them into a Battle Royale-style arena tournament thingy. Tumblr, probably the strangest corner of the internet, went into a rage with the possibility of some characters dying. Tumblr must have done something right because all 4 people reading Avengers Academy decided to pick up Avengers Arena, joining another 6 new readers for a grand total of 10 pick-ups. With 2 people dropping Avengers Arena, the series maintains a pretty decent following, losing only 20% of its new readers. The Tumblr reaction to the series has yet to be determined. At least I don’t know what’s going on there. I’m afraid to look at that thing...
Thunderbolts (by Daniel Way & Steve Dillon): I didn’t know this was Dark Avengers until about seven minutes ago. I’m still not sure. The Thunderbolts book by Way seems to be a completely revamped team of anti-heroes all being really ... anti-heroish. If this was the 90s, this book would be awesome and full of muscles! Obviously it’s not and only 4 people picked this book up. 5 people were reading this book pre-NOW and only 4 people picked it up. Thunderbolts lost 3 people pre-NOW and also lost 1 person after the launch. That means there is only one person reading Thunderbolts right now. He is probably very lonely and needs a hug.
Thor: God of Thunder (by Jason Aaron & Esad Ribic): When resident Marvel bad-ass Jason Aaron took the reins of Thor, it was expected that it was going to be extremely bad-ass. The Outhouse thinks it is and 14 people picked up the title during the NOW launch, tying it with three other books for 6th place. With 4 people reading the Mighty Thor and two officially dropping out pre-NOW, the Thor book picked up 12 new readers! That is pretty bad-ass. So far, only 1 person has dropped Thor: God of Thunder and that person is probably regretting dropping it even though they’ll probably post something saying they’re not. Stop living in denial guy! Go and get back on the Thor bus! Admittedly, I’m not reading it but I probably would if I could afford it. Actually maybe I will sooner or later.
So with the exception of Thunderbolts, these re-named, re-numbered titles appear to be doing quite well with Outhouse readers. There were a lot of people who hoped Superior Spider-Man would stink and others who wanted Avengers Arena to be extremely awesome just to make Tumblr people cry. I’d say that all titles still managed to do really well. It’s not surprise that Thor and Hulk came out on top. After all, they are immensely popular since the Avengers movie and the creative teams on both books are top-notch.
There were two other titles that I thought deserved a quick look even if they weren’t really talked about or hyped or any of that nonsense. Those two are the two Marvel NOW! limited series debuting in March and April. The first is Age of Ultron, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Bryan Hitch, Brandon Peterson and Carlos Pacheco. Age of Ultron had not been released when the survey was conducted but has now started coming out. 3 people had marked that they were going to be buying it. No other data is available, but if you are buying and want to let us know how it is, please leave a comment.
The other mini-series is Thanos Rising by Jason Aaron and Simone Bianchi. While I can’t guarantee that it will be extremely bad-ass like Thor: God of Thunder, I can assume that no one is really that excited as it only got 2 potential pick-ups. The series debuts in April, so we’ll see how that goes and what happens.
There are still 8 more titles for me to look at. Tomorrow I’ll give you the numbers for the on-going series that were integrated into Marvel NOW! Books like Wolverine & the X-Men, Daredevil and Red She-Hulk as well as some that weren’t officially part of the launch but brandished the NOW logo such as Hawkeye and Captain Marvel. After that I’ll close up this series of articles and then I’m going to bed. For seven years!
Here is the collected data for these two sets of titles:
| Title || Pickups || Continues || Prior Drops || Crnt Drops || Readers T.D. || New Readers || Jump-off % || New Rdrs % |
| Superior Spider-Man || 11 || 5 || 2 || 2 || 9 || 6 || 18% || 55% |
| Indestructible Hulk || 19 || 6 || 2 || 2 || 17 || 13 || 11% || 68% |
| Avengers Arena || 10 || 4 || || 2 || 8 || 6 || 20% || 60% |
| Thunderbolts || 4 || 5 || 3 || 3 || 1 || -1 || 75% || -25% |
| Thor: God of Thunder || 14 || 4 || 2 || 1 || 13 || 10 || 7% || 71% |
| Title || Pickups || Readers T.D. || Jump-off % |
| Thanos Rising || 2 || 2 || 0% |
| Age of Ultron || 3 || 3 || 0% |
Written or Contributed by Keb Ellis
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