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Marvel’s Avengers franchise to end in the wake of Siege

New Avengers: Finale!

New Avengers: Finale!

April will see both the conclusion of Marvel’s Siege four-issue miniseries and the apparent end — certainly only temporarily — of the Avengers franchise.

That’s right, the publisher’s solicitations preview lists the series finales of The New Avengers, Dark Avengers, The Mighty Avengers and Avengers: The Initiative. It also solves the mystery of what comic writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Bryan Hitch have been collaborating on: It’s a 64-page one-shot called New Avengers: Finale.

Siege ends the Avengers … and this is how I find out?” Bendis joked late this afternoon on Twitter.

References to “the Age of Heroes” and “the Heroic Age” are sprinkled throughout the solicitation text, making it a safe bet that at least some of those titles will quickly return as part of a new status quo teased back in November: “Witness the Marvel Universe triumph over its greatest challenges ever as the Heroic Age ignites! Still lurking in the shadows are forces of evil and cosmic-level threats, but a new spirit of hope, courage, and the selflessness at the heart of heroism will rise up. The most extraordinary tales ever will be told in this Heroic Age of the Marvel Universe. The Age of Heroes is upon us!”

The New Avengers debuted in late 2004 in the aftermath of the “Avengers Disassembled,” followed in 2007 by The Mighty Avengers and Avengers: The Initiative, and in early 2009 by Dark Avengers.

Blackest Night vs. Siege: Place your bets!

Blackest Night #7

Blackest Night #7

Siege #2

Siege #2

They say nice guys finish last, but when event comics will finish is anybody’s guess. The demands of a high-profile series around which entire shared universes revolve can play havoc with scheduling. Naturally, editors and publishers love to maintain the artistic quality and consistency (and sales levels) provided by the big-name writer-artist teams that tend to lend such books a sense of “this is a big deal.” On the other hand, they need to get books out on time so that other series whose storylines depend upon what happens in the event can proceed as planned — and so that they don’t end up alienating retailers and readers. But these same readers and retailers can end up just as irritated if they get the sense that the creators are being rushed, or if fill-in artists aren’t up to snuff. It’s a tough row to hoe.

With his front-row seat for a variety of events this decade, including Avengers Disassembled, House of M, Civil War, and Secret Invasion, Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort knows this better than anyone. So it was with an obvious mix of boldness and trepidation that he made the following prediction on his Twitter account:

It’s height of hubris time: I’m willing to bet that SIEGE will wrap up before BLACKEST NIGHT does.

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