Leading to “Infinity war,” Marvel Comics Announces Digital Miniseries “Avengers: Back to Basics”

We all know now, courtesy of the majorly huge trailer from just a couple weeks ago, that the next epic adventure of the Avengers on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, subtitled Infinity War, will premiere on May next year. The film from Marvel Studios will see Earth’s Mightiest Heroes confront their most existentially threatening foe yet in the alien titan Thanos.

As is the fashion with the release of previous installments of the MCU, Marvel Entertainment’s original comic book publishing arm will be busy developing a limited-run comic book miniseries in a form of “synergy” with the upcoming movie, and set to come out around the premiere date. This miniseries is entitled Avengers: Back to Basics, and it will be made as the latest collaboration between Marvel Entertainment and prominent digital comics distribution service ComiXology.

Avengers: Back to Basics will initially launch as a ComiXology exclusive digital comic book title in March, two months before the premiere of Avengers: Infinity War. Written by Peter David, co-creator of the Spider-Man 2099 comic book and drawn in tandem by Brian Level and Juanan Ramirez, the six-issue mini will find the Avengers, comprised of classic “founding” members such as Iron Man, Thor and Hulk, against an apocalyptic disaster being portended by a solar eclipse, just as their big-screen counterparts are making ready to face off against Thanos in May.

Chip Mosher, ComiXology’s senior communications director and content head, said in a statement that Back to Basics is both a slice of nostalgia for longtime Marvel fans who knew the Avengers long before they became film icons, and an exciting gateway for new fans from the MCU days. “With buzz over the Avengers reaching a fever pitch, we’re thrilled to help bring fans — new and old — a brand-new Avengers story featuring Thor, The Hulk, Iron Man and other favorites sure to capture the imagination of all readers,” he said.

Marvel Comics has long been in the habit of altering their comic titles and characters often to match how they are depicted in live-action film. Leading to, and during the 2016 premiere of Captain America: Civil War (whose plot is loosely based on a 2006-7 multi-title crossover story arc) Marvel released another comic crossover with Civil War II.

Similar to previous Marvel-ComiXology collaborations, Avengers: Back to Basics will be released digitally on ComiXology starting March 7, with a trade print collection following sometime after.

Despite Impending Pullout of Marvel Studios Films from Netflix, Disney Can’t Remove Netflix Co-Produced Miniseries like “Defenders”

When Disney announced earlier this year that they were developing their own branded in-house on-demand media streaming service, it seemed to cause an avalanche with other major media producers to start building up their own platforms too. This signaled a shift from relying on services like Hulu or Amazon Prime or Netflix, to hosting their own films and TV programs.

This of course led to Disney making plans to pull out their media from platforms like Netflix: movies, animated films, series and so on. And that also includes stuff like Star Wars and Marvel superhero movies done by Marvel Studios.

Here is where a point of contention comes up. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is comprised of not just films but also TV series like Agents of SHIELD and Inhumans. On that vein, that also includes some original web programming co-produced by Netflix: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders.

The fact that Netlfix had a hand in the creation of these mini-series, despite being packaged as part of the larger MCU, has raised questions on whether or not Disney could pull them from the host platform to their own service in the future.

The streaming giant’s content director Ted Sarandos notes however, that Netflix holds the rights to keep the Defenders stable of miniseries with the service that helped create them. In addition, those rights include being able to produce more shows starring these characters, who are mostly ground-level superheroes focused on “normal” street crime, not super-villains.

Sarandos’ argument points out that being Marvel’s parent company does not mean Disney completely owns the comic book publisher’s IPs. Furthermore, Disney might try to keep their media content on their future platform at a G-PG keel, and the Marvel-Netflix shows are unabashedly R-rated. This explanation should hold for now, keeping Daredevil and friends on the Netflix service even as Disney targets the launch of their streaming service by 2019.