Ode to Marvel Comics … I Mean the Dry Erase Board.

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Posted August 30, 2013 by Robert Steltenpohl in Comic Books

Let me start off by saying that Marvel is not a complete  failure and/or has come up with some amazing stuff the past few years. Even today, there are some parts that I truly appreciate and look forward to each month. As a whole though, they are really treating the marvel universe like their own etch a sketch. Now I am fully aware that death doesn’t exist in comics at all. Even in DC. I mean you have only about 5-7 characters that had
relevance that have stayed dead for a significant amount of time (Gwen Stacy, Jean Grey, Uncle Ben, etc.) There have been many deaths lately in Marvel’s universe about 90% of them haven’t mattered at all. Reason: Because they never stick to it.

My decision to do this has been building for a few weeks now, but today the straw had broken the preverbial camel’s back. These teasers for events that Marvel is coming out with over the next year are getting
ridiculous. I am tired of them. I am tired of events, deaths, and crappy choices made by Marvel and their writers. Over the course of this I plan on starting at the dying point of Marvel and showing you the mistakes they have
made, while also comparing them to the main competition, DC. But before I begin, please just know my comparison to DC is just to make a point about Marvel’s failures. DC has their issues that will be discussed at a later time.

First, let me give some praise: Avengers Disassembled –Civil War was great. I loved the journey, the battles, the lessons learned, and the heroic moments. Some may have a problem with how Civil War ended (Cap’s death) but I won’t take away its epic parts and overall conclusion. Now on to the negative portion.

avengers-disassembled

Unfortunately, it starts at Civil War. This event did a

couple things: Peter Parker revealed himself to the public, Cap was shot, and
families were split up (Richards family from Fantastic 4). These are all
awesome concepts, but what does Marvel do? They shake their little red box
filled with metal shavings and two knobs on the front to erase it. All under a
year! Cap comes back because the bullet he was shot by sent him through a time
vortex

Parker makes a deal with the devil to
save Aunt May and in turn no one knows he’s spidey anymore and MJ. They just simply erased two of the most monumental comic moments of this

generation’s time and then just change it. Now do I agree with them doing

either of these things? No. At the time, I hated it. But that’s not the point.
I am ok being an upset reader because of something that is done by/to a
character, but stick to it! This begins Marvel’s decline and constant need to
event the hell out of readers.

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Then came Secret Invasion. Oh boy, Secret Invasion. I truly
believe that Secret Invasion was Marvel’s best potential at a game-changing
event. The premise was amazing. It was basically for years a race of shape
shifting super beings has been infiltrating our world. It was awesome for its
first 3 issues then it just fell flat. There’s a moment in the opening segments
where I was said, “Holy crap this is scary.” It’s when the Skrulls reveal
themselves to the world as who they are impersonating. Presidents, kings,
superheroes, actors, talk show hosts, etc. They end the broadcast with, “He
love you.” Apparently there was a religious backing to why they were doing it. It
was great.  But then it got dumb. A ship
full of skrulls (looking just like classic avengers) land in the savage land
and its just one big battle. But all of a sudden, out of all the skrulls on the
ship there’s 1 … just 1 that isn’t. Mockingjay was apparently kidnapped or
something no one cares about and then it just got worse. We never found the
solution to the world dominance. Oh wait yes we did. Reed Richards came up with
radar to find them. Dumb. Then we get to the end, and we receive no clarity on which
“He” is, the queen was Spider Woman the whole time (which no one cares for
anyway), and Tony Stark was made to lose his job. I feel that was the whole
purpose of it. It was an event that didn’t accomplish anything except Dark
Reign, where Norman Osborn, Green Goblin, was basically put in charge of world
security.  It was a breath of fresh air,which was a positive note.

secret-invasion-6-final-cover Secret_Invasion_Vol_1_2_page_5-6_Savage_Land_Skrulls_(Earth-616)

Dark Reign was pretty awesome. Norman created his own version of the Avengers (Sentry, Bullseye, Daken, Aeres, Moonstone, Gorgon, and Venom) being lead by himself in an Iron Patriot suit, ‘Merica! Him and his Avengers battled the New Avengers, Spiderman, Xmen, and the Avengers. Also, an amazing encounter with Molecule Man that makes you fear Sentry. It was great. I can honestly say it was a year of fun times in Marvel. Then Siege came and ruined it.

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Siege

Siege: The full on attack of Asgard by Norman and his Avengers. This was publicized for months. Almost a year. It was supposed  to be Marvel’s next big event, which by the way was a little more than a year after Secret Invasion. The opening books, once again, started great. Ares, the god of war, was literally ripped in half by Sentry, who at this point is the Void. (yeah that’s a huge story that I cant get into now and it’s ten shades of annoying. He’s basically the man version of Phoenix.) So this occurs and the actual Avengers show up and all hell breaks loose. Well so to speak. Also, what was expected was for Ares’ son, Phobos (basically a god of chaos), to rock everything out of anger. Did we get that? No. By the way, Secret Avengers was there as well and was great up to this point. It did not continue after this.  So the story fell flat again. It gave us what they had intended the whole time, which was the end of Norman Osborn. So it ended flat and was kind of cheesy. So the trend continues and Robby continues to be annoyed. Not even a month later we start getting advertisement for ….

Fear Itself!

fear-itself-captain-america DoYouFearFamilySecrets

Fear Itself was again, a great concept. That fell short. (are you seeing a trend?) It was the return of Red Skull, now the daughter of the original, while receiving aid from the Serpent, Asgardian god, and they were going to cause chaos. Which for a brief stent, they did. Also, during this time Cap America had just returned to carrying the shield. So this was kind of a built up event. It was the return of Cap, Red Skull, and Asgard. What did we get? A huge cluster of could have been and disappointment. We did see the death of Bucky Barnes, which didn’t matter because it lasted one bloody issue, Cap’s shield be broken, which could have been epic and emotional, but wasn’t, and we saw Tony Stark humiliate himself to get aid from Oden. All of which, at the time, bright spots, but were soon wiped away by a little shake or poor writing. Marvel tried to pull a Power Rangers moment and give our heroes some fancy new powerful weapons to defeat the enemy. Oh did I mention the Hammers? Yeah so 7 evil powerful hammers were sent out to random characters in the world and we got some fights between some old school rivalries. But again, didn’t lead to anything but some cool art. Nothing came from Fear Itself. It didn’t change anything and anything done, didn’t stick.  Then what do we get while were in the middle Fear Itself? Oh a new promotion for the next event, Avengers vs X-men.

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AvX was an amazing premise that had been brewing since Avengers Disassembled and Messiah Complex. That is where we first met Hope, the baby that has been fought over for 10 years almost. The Phoenix Force is heading to earth and the X-men want Hope to accept it and save the mutant people. The Avengers are trying to keep that from happening. So basically we get Civil War part 2. It was awesome. Friends battling, World War 2 references (reenactment of Normandy), and 5 x-men become the Phoenix 5. They all became super powered and power hungry. Professor X was murdered by basically his son, Cyclops. That moment was pretty epic. Also, Cyclops is now public enemy number one. Overall the event didn’t fail. It just didn’t feel important, with that being said the birth of new mutants for the first time in 10 was a big deal. Now here’s the test: will that stick, will Xavier stay dead, and will Cyclops stay hated.

Constantly, we get great ideas and some moments of brilliance but then Marvel acts like a little child and says, “Just kidding.” They lack the audacity to continue what they start. Spiderman for example. Marvel’s most popular character. The most popular 616(the main universe) character ever probably. After 700 issues, they finally risk it and kill him. Now this would be a shocking and great moment, but unfortunately it was a failure. Peter doesn’t die from an epic battle or some gun shot. He dies in a disease infested Doc Ock body. Yes, Octo-arms. He does a switcheroo and puts himself in the Spiderman’s body. Then his body dies with Peter’s mind in it. And he goes on to be Spiderman. Now a cool part of this was seeing Peter see his uncle, Gwen, and Captain Stacy. But he gets told by his uncle that he has to keep fighting a little bit longer. It was great. Emotional and epic, but! We don’t get an epic ending. Peter fails stopping Ock. So he dies and they start a new spiderman series called Superior Spiderman. Now how does Marvel handle it? First flipping issue? They tell us that Peter’s not even gone. Oh and get this … starting issue 10, Peter is back as Spiderman. Rid-ic-ulous!

They can’t stick to their guns because they don’t have any
anymore. I have lost faith in Marvels ability to keep continuity, tell major
stories, and keep me interested. Now, many still read. I’ll admit that I will
continue to read certain books done by them because there are certain
characters that I still enjoy. Maybe not always happy but I love the
characters. So take this as you will. It might just be a fan-boy nit picking
but I see it as someone that is tired of low quality work on something I grew
up loving.


About the Author

Robert Steltenpohl

I'm a teacher from Georgia. I love sports, video games, comics, and movies. I think the Bioshock series tells the best story ever in video games.