MARVEL EVENTS, MARVEL REBOOTS ITS REBOOT, AND MORE….

skottie young inhumans cover
I do not have event fatigue—let me clear that up.  I generally look forward to true events.  I loved Civil War.  Siege was pretty good.  I like the idea of a threat that brings a bunch of characters together outside of their regular books.  But Marvel has made it so that there’s no such thing as an event anymore.  Infinity is just an Avengers story with miniseries numbering (and now that EVERYONE is an Avenger, it’s hard to mix disparate teams).  It’s vast and sprawling (i.e., unfocused).  The stakes are so big, and there has been so much death in it thus far, that they almost seem nonexistent (i.e., there’s no sense of perspective–if you put an ant in front of an elephant, all the ant sees is the bottom of a toenail).  On top of that, there’s no narrative hero, which also makes it hard to buy into it.  And it’s told in Jonathan Hickman’s characteristically clinical style.  But despite the lack of emotional depth and tension, there’s something about it that I find very interesting.  It’s almost like it is succeeding in spite of itself.

And Battle of the Atom is just more of the same Bendis X-Men stuff.  I like Bendis’ X-Men stuff, too, but does he really need a 2-issue miniseries on top of two monthly series to tell the story?  And on top of that, do we need two other X-Men books and several Wolverine ones, on top of the same characters appearing all over the pages of Avengers?  The answer is no.  We don’t.  There’s no such thing as a solo book any more, pretty much, and there’s no such thing as truly self contained stories.  And, because of that, there’s no such thing as an event.  You can miss many of the books and you’ll be fine, because the same story is told in several books all at the same time

So, do I hate the Atom comic?  Do I hate Infinity?  No. 

But I don’t need them, either.

And now, less than 12 issues in to most Marvel Now! titles, we’re getting a reboot of Marvel Now.  All you cynics think it’s about new #1s.  And you’re right.  We’ll be getting Invaders by James Robinson and Steve Pugh, which will take place in the present (not WW2) and Inhuman by Matt Fraction and Joe Madiurera, which will spin out of the Infinity event, and All-New Avengers Now #1, which is just slapping a #1 on The Avengers. 

On the upside, certain Now issues will include free access to a bunch of back issues via Marvel’s digital comics app—to let readers catch up to the current storyline.

My thinking on comics has been shifting lately.  It’s less about sequentially numbered stories and more about arcs, so why not reboot every year with a new #1?  It really doesn’t matter, as long as the stories are set apart in ways that make sense.  It actually helps—I don’t have to read Avengers this year if I don’t like it, because I know it’ll restart next year with a new concept. 

Sadly, the quality of Marvel’s books is in decline—it’s become so much a movie-churning business that we don’t see as many cute, quirky stories/titles as we did before the Disney buyout.  There are still a few comics that don’t Matter (capital M) and therefore can be free to experiment, like Hawkeye and Daredevil, but even those have a high level of franchise potential.  Even the great Captain Marvel book was pulled into two events in a row, and as a result lost its character-driven focus—which was the one thing that set it apart from the others.
Of course, if you’re talking decline…I now officially have stopped reading Wonder Woman and Batman, so I have zero DC books on my pull list.  I tried Forever Evil and found it…Wanting.  And as for all the “point one” comics about villains?  Every single one is an origin story with a bad mommy and/or daddy.  Even Joker.  It makes it all so much less interesting.  Can’t a villain just be bad, without us having to feel sorry for him?  Or can’t his motivation come from something other than mommydaddy issues????
But what else is going in the world of comics?

TOP SHELF’S $3 SALE!  This one is worth a post of its own.  From now through black Friday, Top Shelf graphic novels are half price—and many are just three bucks!  Some of the deals I spotted: $25 for the hardcover of Alan Moore’s From Hell (reg: $50); the recent March civil rights OGN by John Lewis ($7.50 paperback); $10 for the brilliant Underwater Welder and Infinite Kung Fu; and $3 for stuff by Jeff Brown (one of my favorite autobiographers), great Manga, some Matt Kindt stuff, and more!  Oh, and a buck for “The Man Who Loved Breasts,” which is a really terrific little comic.

DC CANCELS INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US.  The best DC comic out right now isn’t printed, it’s digital.  And it’s a video game buy-in.  No kidding. Injustice: Gods Among Us sold great for DC, but the publisher is pulling the plug anyway with #36.  I’ve loved the book—I hope they collect it in a hardcover—but I also think it’s time for it to end.  I just hope the story has a conclusion, and doesn’t just cut out abruptly.

QUEEN AND COUNTRY THE MOVIE.  Greg Rucka’s terrific spy comic has been kicked around film studios for years, but now Ellen Page is in talks as a star—which means it could actually get made.  She’s done a comic book movie already (she’s Kitty Pryde in the X-Men franchise), but more importantly she did a brilliant little movie called Hard Candy.  That’s the one that proves she has what it takes to be tough-as-nails SIS agent Tara Chace.

ANT MAN IS COMING SOONER!  Originally a November release, it’s now slated for July 2015—just a few months after Avengers 2.  The move was probably due to them moving the next Pirates of the Carriblecccch movie from its announced July 2015 date.  (Mad Magazine, feel free to use that title for your satire version.)  Hopefully, that means another Marvel Studios movie will come in 2015—otherwise, I’m not sure what they’re clearing November for.  I also hope it doesn’t mean fewer people will want to see it—there’s going to be quite a few movies directed at comic book fans that summer: Avengers 2, the new Star Wars, Batman/Superman…

CBLDF LIBERTY ANNUAL 2013.  Image’s annual benefit comic for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund will feature work from Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, Gabriel Hardman, Richard Corben, Tim Seeley, Dave Stewart, and many more.  I have to say, I’m one of those guys who doesn’t really go for anthologies.  I also don’t like reading short stories.  I’m a long-form story/novel reader kind of guy.  But as these things go, Image’s annuals have always attracted very high quality work from high profile creators.  And I pretty much buy anything Richard Corben does.  I’ve loved him ever since I discovered him in Bruce Jones’ old Twisted Tales comic.

WARREN ELLIS TO COWRITE AVENGERS ASSEMBLE.  Why on Earth is Marvel wasting money buying Ellis’ contributions to an event-tie-in book? He’ll be cowriting Avengers Assemble #21 and #25, which tie in to the Inhumanity event.  This is the least-important Avengers book, and it’s a throw away tie in story to boot.  This is ponderous.

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