Art by Steve Dillon
Honestly, I've never been a fan of Thunderbolts. I understand the concept, the characters used just didn't really appeal to me. Now, though, Daniel Way is introducing a whole new roster and idea for the team. No longer are the Thunderbolts connected to the government, so their actions are their own. Red Hulk (with obvious references to General "Thunderbolt" Ross) now leads the Punisher, Elektra, Venom, and Deadpool. All of these characters together feels like it's going to be amazing. I was especially intrigued when Way, in an interview, explained that he would have liked for the title to be Thunderbolt's in the possessive because Red Hulk is leading the team. "Thunderbolt" has been good in the pages of Avengers, but this move to make him leader of his own team is smart.
Art by Kev Walker
Is in The Hunger Games or Battle Royale or a little bit of both? Let's hope it's just Battle Royale. Dennis Hopeless is set to pit a large group of teenaged mutants and metahumans against one another at the whim of classic Marvel villain Arcade...ON MURDERWORLD! If that doesn't sound awesome, I don't know what does. Characters from Avengers Academy - including X23, Hazmat, Reptil, and Mettle - as well as Chase Stein and Nico from Runaways. I was a huge fan of Runaways, and I'm still holding out for some Young Avengers thrown into the fold. I mean, Wiccan is on the cover of Marvel NOW! Point One, so I'm banking on this possibly being the title.
Cable and X-Force
Art by Salvador Larroca and Frank D'Armata
Dennis Hopeless will give Cable his old team back, but only in name. Along with their fearless, futuristic leader, Cable and X-Force will feature a recently villainized Colossus, Forge, Domino, and a much more bad-ass looking Dr. Nemesis. Similar to Thunderbolts, the new X-Force will be a shadow operation not answering to a higher-up. But while the Thunderbolts consist of those unfit to work in a group under normal circumstances, this new iteration of X-Force is a team of misfits and villains on the run from the rest of the Marvel universe, who view them as a squad of super villains. Again, I've never been a huge Cable fan, but I'm extremely interested in this title.
All in all, it very much feels like Marvel is endeavoring to make their universe more cohesive. In this post-Avengers vs. X-Men world, there are no more rules about 'Avengers' and 'X-Men'. And perhaps that's the real idea behind the event. The last eight years have been heavy on the definitions between the two entities, many books from each family never crossing over with the larger Marvel U. Now, mutants and metahumans enjoy membership on the same teams, new groups are being introduced to make the crossover more concrete, and the switch-ups to old teams are generally moving in a good direction. The days of Avengers and X-Men being separate are apparently at an end.
This is good.
Avengers vs. X-Men has literally proven that the two-party system has run out of steam and it's time to reach across the aisle to create new and interesting stories moving forward. If only our politicians could be as perceptive as Marvel.