Marvel’s New Universe, Innovative or Fail?

Remember when Marvel’s New Universe was the coolest thing on the spinner racks back in the day? Yeah, me neither. Sure, bagging on the MNU is low-hanging fruit, and there may actually be fans of this imprint, I am not among them… yet I don’t go out of my way to hate any of these books.

This “new universe” began in 1986 and lasted three whole years… I know, I don’t recall much of it either. Sure, I jumped on at the ground floor like many others did. I was a two company man, not counting my TMNT obsession at that point, and if Marvel was going to chart new frontiers I was going to be right there with them. Well that ground floor entry took me straight to the basement. While I still appreciate the level of effort of the creators and the marketing, the end results were less than stellar. The consistency of the titles also left something to be desired. If I had to choose a title from the list of the MNU, I would probably go with Strikeforce Moritori. It seemed to be the more interesting option out of all of them for me.

I still think that Marvel trying something new was an awesome move, but it seemed like it was more of a vehicle to see what concepts would stick with the “new” gimmick, instead of just bringing them into the MU proper. As a sixteen year old, I had already been collecting comics for eight years by this point and back then new number one issues were not as common as they are today. That being the case, I picked up every one of these issues. It felt like I was doing my due diligence as a collector, and I still think it was the right move. Would I do it again… well no, I no longer collect actual floppies (as the hip kids call physical books). I have a few hundred old issues and none of them are MNU.

This could be the day when I look for some digital Strikeforce Moritori comics and see how well they hold up, if at all. Perhaps I will, if any exist.

How about you? Did you get into any of these titles? Were you all in, like I was? Do any of these characters resonate with you? Drop a comment and let’s discuss.


    1. I am glad that they tried something new, even though I didn’t like the overall product. The excitement of being part of something “all new and all different” in comics is a great memory.

  1. I think there was a certain amount of potential to the New Universe, but a number of behind-the-scenes issues severely affected it from Day One and prevented it from being any sort of success. It was probably an overly ambitious effort. As you say, at least it was an attempt to try something new. Props to writer Mark Gruenwald & penciler Paul Ryan for doing the entire 32 issue run of D.P. 7. They obviously believed in the series.

  2. I like the big swing Marvel took with the New Universe imprint, but I heard a lot of it was plagued by Jim Shooter being a bit of a tyrant behind the scenes. I really enjoyed Warren Ellis’s take on it with newuniversal in 2006 and an NSA backed version of the Troubleshooters showing up in Al Ewing’s Ultimates run tells me there’s still a lot we can do with these characters.

    1. I do think that Shooter was an issue. While his personality constantly clashes with a lot of folks, he could also get things moving. His time as EIC was complicated. I dig his work but I couldn’t work for him.

      I feel like the whole thing was forced, and there wasn’t a big effort in playing the long game. I stopped picking up books in 2006, came back sporadically until digital became a thing, so I didn’t read anything else that was related to the New Universe. I’ll check out that Al Ewing’s run though… sounds intriguing.

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