Post-Secret Wars, Marvel is pushing “All-New All-Different” as its marketing hook.

It’s a phrase that Marvel has some history with. It heralded the mega-successful X-Men re-launch back in the mid-70s. It’s Marvel’s way of saying they’re taking a new approach to a property.

For the most part, though, it’s really “New-Ish Sorta-Different.” A lot of the series rolling out in October, November and beyond are more a variation on a theme.

But Marvel is trying a few things that could fall into the All-New All-Different category. Here are a few upcoming series that might be just a bit more New and Different than some other concepts.

All-New All-Different: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur

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Of all the books so far announced for Marvel’s re-launch, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur might be the one that comes closest to the All-New All-Different ethos. This is an intriguing new twist on an obscure, old Jack Kirby creation. The original involved a primitive boy and the large red dinosaur with whom he shared a psychic connection. It was one of Marvel’s odder properties and it had a tendency to turn up in the most unexpected places (the Fallen Angels limited series). This new take focuses on a gifted young African-American girl who finds herself bonded to the titular big lizard. It’s placed in mainstream continuity and looks to be a thoroughly contemporary story that continues to expand the diversity of Marvel’s line. If handled well, this could give Marvel another Ms. Marvel-esque success, recasting a more or less vacant role with an intriguing, relatable new heroine.

All-New All-Different: Black Knight

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The Black Knight has been around for decades. He’s been a supporting player in any number of team books, usually Avengers. He’s had random solo adventures, but this will be the character’s first ongoing series. The concept places the Knight as the ruler of a kingdom on the Secret Wars Battleworld. Delving into the mythology of the character and his Ebony Blade, it’s cast as both a superhero-meets-sword & sorcery series, but also a study of addiction, compulsive behavior and family legacy. The cursed sword not only drives its bearer mad, it compels the Knight to use it more and more. It’s a potentially fascinating take that recasts a frequently misused character as a complex anti-hero. The mix of modern and fantasy elements should give the book a distinctive identity in Marvel’s line. If this works, it could completely redefine the Knight and make good use of the bits of mythology that have been created piecemeal over the years.

All-New All-Different: The Vision

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Long-time Avenger Vision has starred in a few mini-series (both on his own and with ex-wife Scarlet Witch). With a high profile after this summer’s Avengers movie sequel, the character moves into his first ongoing series. The twist: the artificial man who’s always longed for a family decides to create one. He uses the technology responsible for his own artificial birth to whip up a wife and two kids, setting up as some kind of fractured take on the American nuclear family. This looms to be one of the more interesting takes on the Vision, but one that’s grounded in decades of the character’s complex psychology. It’s a clever way to put a spin on the Vision’s eternal identity quest, but one that also gives the book a strong pulse of futurism. This book seems like it’s a strong fit for the brand Marvel’s developed for solo series that focus on quirky character beats over gaudy action.

All-New All-Different: Karnak

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Marvel continues its build-out of the Inhumans franchise with the first member of the traditional Royal Family to get an ongoing solo series. Karnak might not be the most obvious Inhuman to headline his own book. For one, he was dead until very recently. For another, his profile hasn’t been as high as those of Black Bolt, Medusa or Crystal. But if handled correctly, Karnak could become a distinctive entry in the Marvel line. The character’s hook is that he can “see the flaw in all things.” Traditionally that was restricted to finding flaws in physical objects. In recent years, some writers have started taking that ability in a more metaphysical direction. If the new series can effectively couple that kind of philosophical exploration with martial arts action, in the context of the broader Inhumans story, this book has major sleeper potential.

All-New All-Different: Scarlet Witch

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Like ex-husband the Vision, the Witch has never previously starred in a solo ongoing, despite being a prominent character since the early ‘60s. The new series aims to take a female-centered approach to the exploration of magic in the Marvel Universe. That could bring a very different sensibility to the topic than what will be seen in the forthcoming Doctor Strange series. The plan for the book apparently contemplates a series of self-contained stories, each with a different artist, that form a larger tapestry, as the Witch meets other practitioners. The series also aims to delve into the effects of magic on the Witch’s psychological stability over the years. This seems like a reader-friendly approach that will split the difference between accessibility and telling a bigger story. If it can nail the female-centric approach to magic as a compelling POV, the book could have a strong identity and be a good showcase for a character who’s felt like she’s been at a crossroads for years.

All-New All-Different: Squadron Supreme

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Marvel has presented various takes on the Squadron over the decades, but this new book might be its most interesting concept for the team. Post-Secret Wars, the survivors of several destroyed universes wind up on the main Marvel Earth and band together as a new team. The line-up includes the version of Hyperion that featured heavily in Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers, the female Doctor Spectrum from New Avengers, the Supreme Power version of Nighthawk and long-time character Thundra. This seems like it could be a compelling new iteration in Marvel’s long history of “outsider” stories. It’s also a good example of what Secret Wars was supposed to accomplish: bring into the main continuity colorful characters with potential who were languishing in neglected corners of Marvel’s catalogue and give them energizing new purpose. Marvel’s done an effective job of successfully raising the profiles of other team concepts in recent years, so Squadron Supreme feels like a risk that could pay off handsomely.

Originally published at thunderalleybcpcom.ipage.com on August 26, 2015.

Author (Grievous Angels) and pop culture gadabout #amwriting

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