By Cronoman66 0 Comments
As the new year begins we all have plans of having a fresh start, maybe it’s going to the gym or drinking less. Most of us have one even if you don’t actively think of one. So with that in mind I turn my attention to the big two of comic book publishing, and think about what they could do to improve themselves in the new year.2011 was, like most years, and interesting year for comics. DC had a company wide “reboot” in a bid to gain new readers, and from most reports was successful, even if some controversy came along with it. Digital comics gained a more significant presence as apps for e-readers and other devices appeared and DC launched day one digital downloads, with Marvel also experimenting with a similar process. But for all the advances the two companies make, there is always room for improvement.
DC Comics should really use recap pages.
It’s something Marvel has used to for quite some time now and it’s something where the positives most definately outweigh the negatives. Recap pages are great for new readers, because it’s a great way to get up to speed on a story if you miss the first issue or start reading mid way through. The only reason I can really see for not doing it, is an artistic one. It could be seen that writers/artists want to use as much as they can to create good pages of comics and not have a paragraph of text getting in the way of that, similar to Batwoman #4 having all of it’s adverts placed at the back.
However with DC on a constant quest for new readers surely something like this would help a new reader continue reading after one issue as they’ll know what came before it better than they would of without the recap. At the end of the day, something like the New 52 reboot can only happen every once in a while. That or you completely change how you publish and organise your books, which I don’t think is going to happen anytime soon.
Marvel: Super Mega Crossover Event Story Fatigue.
Crossovers are a crutch, and both companies use them. Marvel is seems has been falling back on them in a bad way this last year. I’ve written about this beforebut it’s a major weakness for Marvel right now I feel. Last year’s Fear Itself was an incredibly inconsistent, overblown story that couldn’t be contained in the seven issues it was given. While Marvel seems to have more foresight and planning for the upcoming X-men vs Avengers, to me it looks like and incredibly lazy story for a year long event. A combination of retreading old ideas (the return of the Phoenix) and a fan boy forum bait with the Avengers fighting the X-men.
For a person who recaptured their love for Marvel comics with the Civil War story I know that Marvel can produce good crossover stories. However right now there seems to be a level of readjustment that the creative teams need to overcome, and recapture some of the same magic events and saga’s like Civil War and Dark Reign captured.
DC: Please make your continuity less confusing
DC has a bit of a reputation when it comes to the continuity of their universe, Crisis on Infinite Earths is now infamous for the amount of continuity headaches it caused. In the 25 years since this story DC undid a lot of the “fixing” they did in Infinite Earths with many of the characters who died returning and the alternate earths returning to stories. With the New 52 once again we are faced with a continuity shift. With Justice League having the team meet each other for the first time and obviously forming the League at some point. Action Comics started out with Superman’s heroic career in it’s infancy and the Barry Allen returning as the Flash after dying in Crisis on Infinite Earths.
However a lot of stories have been carried over from before the reboot, Green Lantern picked up almost exactly where it left off with the War of the Green Lanterns. Batman had both Scott Zynder’s story and Batman Inc spill over into the new continuity as well as Batwoman carrying on as if nothing had changed ( A good amount of delays caused this, but this book was worth the wait)
There is plenty of questions about DC continuity, many of which are needless, some times it has to be ignored if you want to tell a good story. But in a time where it’s unclear if Crisis on Infinite Earths is actually in continuity I feel DC needs to address their continuity before they realise they wiped away 25 years of stories for a few more book sales.
[As a side note for this entry. I had to do a lot of extra research to make sure I wasn’t talking out my ass, and I’m still not entirely sure on some parts. Which goes to show you how messed up their continuity really is.]
Marvel: You really like bringing back dead characters don’t you.
I’ve been pretty passive about some of the death and rebirths of some of Marvel’s characters over the years. When Colossus returned in Astonishing X-men I couldn’t have been happier, when I was a youngster he was always my favourite, and the subsequent story with Kitty Pryde made his return worth ignoring the retcon. When Captain America died, I wanted him to stay dead, it was way more of a meaningful death that superheroes usually get and a great ending to Civil War. Furthermore the passing of the Shield to Bucky (another hero who has died and returned) built up a story of living up to the legend of Captain America. Only for him to return.
This is where I started to become annoyed by characters returning from the dead. Even if it was planned out ahead of time I found how they explained how Captain America ( which was weirdly a very similar explanation for Batman’s return) survived by being shot by a bullet that shot him threw time to be an incredibly lazy and silly explanation. It’s a bit late for me to have a rant about this but I’ve always found this explanation to be really bad.
I finally snapped recently. Cable returned in Avengers: X-Sanction. I found this book to be the absolute worst book I’ve read all year. It was completely out of character after his final sacrifice, in Second Coming. The finale of that book really felt like a good send off for that character, Hope made it back to Utopia, he’d gotten old, he’d raised her in a hellish future, he finished his mission.
If Marvel are so desperate to keep Captain America alive for as long as Marvel are in business, why not write throw back stories? WWII is a rich vein where plenty of stories could be told. He could have lived on in these stories. Or how about having stories involving characters earlier in their superhero career, like the early days of the Avengers for example.
I feel at this point comics really need to grow out of this crutch of a story point, it’s lazy, it’s almost a soap opera in it’s drama, and it deflates any meaning or sacrifice to the characters death.
So there are some of the things I wish Marvel and DC would consider this year, I may be just one fan but I’m sure there are others who feel the same. I’m feeling a little burnout on comics these days and a post Christmas culling of my reading list is in order.
For More Articles, Reviews and my own comic series go to www.abandonearthcomics.com