In a break with their usual tradition (last seen just this morning) of releasing a one-word teaser that made readers guess what character or characters might be involved, Marvel Comics released the image at right earlier today, along with the following message:
The Future of Marvel NOW! Is EXPLOSIVE.
Now, I might be going out on a limb here, but I'm going to go ahead and guess that this "explosive" preview has something to do with The Punisher and Elektra. UPDATE: In fact, it does! IGN has it that Noto will replace Steve Dillon on Thunderbolts, and that this is a teaser for his and Way's first issue together. Two of Marvel's most successful and notorious criminals, the pair appear to be getting hot and heavy following Frank's ongoing battle with the rest of the Marvel Universe in Punisher: War Zone. While they're extremely popular with comics fans, there's an odd bit of coincidence here: for one reason or another, this reminds me of the film Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, which starred Lucy Liu and Antonio Banderas, both fresh of major hits. The result was a disaster that left both actors diminished. Similar embarrassment met 20th Century Fox and Lionsgate in recent years, when they made the films Elektra and Punisher: War Zone.
On the other hand, it could be a fascinating character study. Neither of them is particularly good at having functional relationships. The Punisher in particular is interesting because he not only has an adversarial relationship with Elektra's most notable ex-boyfriend (see right), but also because he hasn't really had much in the way of serious relationships since his wife died as part of the emotionally crippling incident that left him an unstable, homicidal maniac. It could, also, be that the publisher is just having a little bit of fun with the now-famous cover to Justice League #12.