Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Marvel made a lot of hay over the introduction of its five key writers, the Architects, in 2010. “The very fabric of the Marvel Universe is changing and the Architects are the ones leading the charge.” the publisher said in its initial press release. But now, with its event series Avengers Vs. X-Men winding down and Marvel NOW! taking shape for the fall, those original Architects look to be in the middle of a renovation.
Marvel’s chief writer for the past few years, Brian Michael Bendis, is going from three key titles (Avengers, New Avengers, Avengers Assemble) to one (All-New X-Men); Matt Fraction is ending his long-term commitments on Iron Man and Thor to work on the Baxter Building with Fantastic Four and FF (along with Hawkeye); Jonathan Hickman is passing off all of his titles to take on Bendis’ Avengers and New Avengers load; and Jason Aaron has shuffled off Wolverine and The Incredible Hulk for just two titles in the Marvel NOW! era (at least, only ones announced), Wolverine & The X-Men and Thor: God of Thunder. Marvel stalwart Ed Brubaker, who revitalized Captain America, has whittled Marvel Universe workload to one book (Winter Soldier) that doesn’t seem to be a centerpiece of the company’s publishing plans.
Looking at that, it seems Brubaker might have effectively left the world-building Architects group entirely, with Bendis and Fraction reassigned to the X-titles and the Fantastic Four, respectively. Hickman is shifting in to play a more central role, and Aaron’s doing Thor: God of Thunder and Wolverine & the X-Men while seemingly waiting for another title (or titles) to be announced.
Analyzing Marvel’s November solicitations, there are a number of Architects waiting in the wings, however, most notably Rick Remender. Remender broke through to the upper echelon at of House of Ideas with the success of Uncanny X-Force and sealed the deal with Secret Avengers, making him (for me at least) the unofficial sixth Architect. Come this fall, Remender is adding to that by writing Uncanny Avengers and Captain America, two of the company’s most-coveted gigs. Another writer with all the skill, experience and know-how to take his place among the Architects is Mark Waid. Since distancing himself from DC, he’s become a key part of Marvel, winning them an Eisner for Daredevil and now spearheading the most recent Hulk revamp, Indestructible Hulk. After that, there’s a crowded field of talent that could shore up Marvel’s writer’s retreats, from Marvel’s newest face Cullen Bunn (currently writing three titles for the publisher), Brian Wood (currently writing two X-Men titles), Kieron Gillen (now writing Iron Man) and Kelly Sue DeConnick (who will be writing Avengers Assemble, Captain America’s team-up book and Captain Marvel).
I feel as if there are several more titles Marvel has up its sleeves. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in a couple of months, Marvel announces a new group of Architects, Young Guns, Ten Terrific or whatever they’ll be called next.