This is something I've had on my mind for a minute and figured I'd gain your guys opinion. Two major concepts in comics are science and magic. In terms of characters their powers are usually derived from either the concepts of science or magic. In the real world the concepts of science and magic are very different and very defined. Although magic was the controlling factor of the world for many hundreds of years science has taken over and science has replaced magic but in the world of comics science and magic exist side by side. Magic and religion where used to describe the features of existence that couldn't be proven or explained at the time, but as time moved on scientific examinations began to prove that the universe was not originally how it was once viewed.
However where as in the real world magic and science are total opposites and contradictions in comics magic and science can be seen more as different view points able to come to a compromise and often times merge. For instance Doctor Strange is considered the leading magician of earth even still without the title of Sorcerer Supreme able to move objects with his mind, alter perceptions, change one object into another via spells and magic. Then you have the Silver Surfer who is capable of many of the same feats, but draws his power from a cosmic source with no perceived connections to any mystical forces.
Does It Really Matter?
At times however from the human stand point you won't be able to tell the difference. It could be possible that the only difference between the two seems to be the pure perception and faith of the person. For example Mr. Terrific and Ragman once had a discussion about how Mr. Terrific sees the mystical and spiritual events and characters of his world. Ragman being Jewish saw characters from a religious stand point but Mr. Terrific being atheist saw them from a fully scientific perspective.
A battle between Odin and Thanos also made me question the differences between magic and science as well or more precisely is one stronger than the other? During their fight Thanos and Odin seemed to be fairly equal but with all fights of grand beings they boasted the own powers. During the fight Odin claimed he would win basically because his power was mystical where Thanos's was mostly scientific, but Thanos replied that might is might whether it be science or not. Basically saying it doesn't matter where it comes from it's all the same. Another theme was present in Mighty Avengers when Hank Pym became Wasp and built a new Avengers team he began to view magic in terms he understood and saw magic as just another form of science. Eternity even rewarded Pym for his idea by granting him title as Scientist Supreme viewing him as a "mage" a term used to describe a powerful and wise wizard.
Are They One and The Same?
However that brought up the idea of the difference between real world science and comic science. The real world has a number of finite rules and laws that govern what happens real world science can't do as much as comic science because real world science is limited by THE REAL WORLD where comic science is limited by ones imagination. Still though are the terms magic and science simply perspectives? If I brought my cell phone back to feudal era Japan would they consider it magic or would they view it as some form of science from the future?
As many Marvel fans now recently a lot of running titles as well as upcoming titles have been cancelled. The growing number of cancellations has caused many of Marvel's fans to wonder about the future of the company in terms of why are the comics being cancelled , what will happen to their favorite characters now and more important why is this happening. As of right now I consider myself among the fans that blames the failing sales of Marvel on the renewed success of DC's new 52. I myself however as a fan of comics as a whole over just one industry was very excited when they revealed the company wide reboot of the universe. I saw it as a move with great potential that I hoped would not be allowed to fail as so many attempts at saving the industry do. I was glad to see that my hopes where realized. As any visitor to comicvine can see many of the titles are reviewed with the highest remarks.
As with many fans I found myself particularly pleased with the new Aquaman book which has as many reviewers have stated made many of us appreciate and understand Aquaman far better than we ever have before I find this especially amazing as I was never much of an Aquaman fan to begin with but so far have read all 4 of his 5 issues and loved each one. Also despite the fact that not all the titles lived up to the expectations of the company I was glad to hear that although they indeed cancelled titles they counter this by at the same times revealing new titles that they would use to replaced them. I applaud them for paying attention to the failings of the storylines and although not perfectly do their best to please their audience.
However as a Marvel fan I am pained to notice that they have not lived up to what I normally expect from them and they to me are not keeping up with DC in terms of quality in both writing and are attempting to sway the audience with half hearted gimmicks and empty promises of success. Yet these are things that many fans have said over the months and I admit I'm not really saying anything new. Still as a fan I pose the question what could Marvel be doing behind the wall to catch up with their rival company DC? It makes me wonder about what moves may satisfy the audiences cries for repair in a failing medium but also what are they doing now to maybe fix their problems?
Why Can't Marvel?
First lets take a look at some of the titles and storylines recently. A prime example of a fairly well succeeding comic would have to the Spider-Man books. Dan Slott has been doing very well on many of his storylines in the flagship title the Amazing Spider-Man where fans are finally seeing a Peter Parker not burdened by failure but by success and happiness. An almost biblical change from one of Marvel's most abused characters. As well as the return of the Scarlet Spider one of the most loved Spider-people. Next we saw the renumbering of the Incredible Hulk as well as his split from his alter ego Bruce Banner. Yet the revelation that Bruce has become insane without the Hulk is an amazing spin on an all too common plot device of separating Bruce and Hulk more importantly we are also still in the dark as to how it happened but beside the point the inner thoughts of the now freed Hulk show a side to the character rarely ever seen.
Next we go to another beyond abused character Wolverine. Wolverine has recently made the change from bezerker killing machine to nurturing father figure. Now although he has often been the role model to many young X-Men he has always been the crazed killer we love and hasn't changed much but now he has gone from maybe guiding a few lost children to running an entire school of them. Not only that but each issue so far has been filled with great concepts that have been hiding in the history of Marvel begging to be released (i.e a school for mutants built on land that is itself a living mutant come on you have got to love it).
Then you are dragged to the other franchises who's success seems to either go up or down depending on whats going on, the Avengers and the X-Men. Many fans are growing more and more disappointed with the growing number of titles that the characters are in. Some of the titles seem fairly pointless and readers are left wondering why is this here. Personally I don't understand the need for New Avengers, X-Men, New Mutants or X-Men: Legacy anymore. But even still those franchises are being reworked to change certain problems. For instance the Secret Avengers has had storylines and a roster that doesn't fully seem to reflect to purpose of the team as a black Ops team, but with this new roster featuring some characters that seem slightly more suited to that ideal (Hawkeye and Venom) we may get to see the team we have always hoped for. Also I was more pleased with Uncanny X-Men than I ever expected to be considering that I dislike Cyclops as well as his methods and prefer Wolverine over him.
When you look at these points the company really aren't doing so bad at all in truth and although many titles where being cancelled many of them where not doing very well in sells and some many fans wished gone to begin with but their are those that seem confusing such as X-23 and Moon Knight but hopefully that just means we will see these characters in other places. X-23 will be joining Avengers Academy and who knows what future may hold for Moon Knight. In truth however there is one side of Marvel that I am very disappointed in and that would be the Ultimate books. I am a long time fan of many of the Ultimate books namely the first 2 volumes of Ultimates, Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate X-Men. I like many fans was saddened during Ultimatum but I looked forward to the future of the books but since then have for the most part been fond wanting. Even the recent relaunch has not made me feel much better as I sadly dislike Miles Morales primarily because I actually miss Peter Parker greatly and wish to see his return. I personally feel that Miles however would be perfect as a Spider-Man spinoff under some other name. I wanted to see more Hawkeye and didn't want it to be a mini-series and I didn't like how the Ultimates new enemy seemed to kill the Asgardians so easily. Ultimate comics X-Men so far is the only thing I'm actually enjoying and can't wait for their roster to grow.
But enough with the complaining lets get back to the important part of this. Despite a few problems Marvel is actually doing fairly well as it is to me. Many fans are not looking forward to Avengers vs X-Men and I agree I can't say I feel anyway about because I have been let down by many event's lately but I'm going to simply reserve judgement till it arrives and just ignore it knowing that more than likely no lasting event will happen in the story. However I honestly can't hold in my hope that Marvel will do a reboot of their own merging the current universe with the ultimate one creating new unique spins on old characters and flooding the stories with brand new amazing characters.
This is only a fantasy and I know more than likely it won't happen but what can I say a guy can dream. Still I feel that at some point soon Marvel will do something that will make us no longer question the sanity of the writer for years to come. We can read about a world where there are fewer X-Men teams and Avengers teams and Wolverine and Spider-Man don't have to appear in every single comic out there. :) lol
This has always been a changing and flowing industry and the point of both companies being rivals is that they fuel each other and make each other try to out do the other going back and forth and the result is just great stories for the readers to enjoy.
The Mighty Thor #5Now as you can tell from the title this is about religion which is always and will always be a touchy subject for many individuals but this is mostly just my personal opinion and I intend to be as respectful to peoples faiths as possible so here goes. I simply wanted to express a long standing curiosity at how religious figures are expressed in comics and other forms of fiction as well. One of the main subjects I will talk about will be Thor a personal favorite of mine. As many of us know Thor is the Norse Pagan god of Thunder, Lighting and Storms worshipped by ancient Germanic and Scandinavian peoples. In the comics the character of Thor is often classed as one of the most powerful beings in the universe and defiantly one of the most powerful super heroes of earth. However despite his title and the strength of his fandom which has more than likely not dwindled in many years in my opinion Thor is not represented in such a manner. I draw attention to many of Thor's battles over the years since his creation and the present. The god of Thunder has battled many of marvel's powerhouses such as Hulk, Gladiator, Hyperion, Wonder Man, Sentry(briefly) and even DC's Superman ( although this is often treated out of canon).
However despite these character's levels of power only one of them is truly classified as a god that being Thor. However despite being a god Thor has on many occasions either been beaten or gravely wounded by these individuals and other beings of the marvel universe. The main point I'm trying to reach at is if Thor is a god shouldn't he be able to easily best save those from his realm of equal or greater divinity? As mortal beings when people think of the word god the definition of powerful being worshipped by people comes into mind. Thor's battle record often makes me wonder do his writers truly respect him as a former god of man?
In modern times much of the world only uses the term to described one all powerful divine being. I asked myself the question that because Thor is no longer deemed a god by people do writers simply ignore his status and the great level of power he should possess as such. For instance despite being the god of thunder, lighting and storms Thor is also worshipped as the god of strength, healing and oak trees. Of course Thor has been known to have immense strength but little to often does Thor seem to attempt to heal anything let alone manipulate any form of plant life. Usually in comics when a being is referred to as a god if not a truly historically one or one worshipped by an alien species that individual usually has numerous powers, or simply the ability to bend reality to there whim. Still in stories these characters are often able to easily beat groups of superheroes even some of the strongest heroes known.
It begs the question of should Thor be depicted with greater numbers of powers and abilities tied to his godhood than he is often shown using. I remember seeing early scans of Thor using Mjolnir for tasks such as manipulating magnetic fields, transmuting elements, create anti-matter, paralyze individuals, etc. Yet as time moved on many of these feats where never repeated by writers and often times I see Thor only using his hammer as a striking weapon or summoner of lighting. Which in my personal opinion seems quite odd to me. In my opinion if one can be descried as a god of anything then said individual should possess almost total control and mastery of that action or object. They should be able to manipulate whatever force they control to the absolute minimum action said force can be used form. In my opinion this is not the case with Thor. When you take into account all the elements that make up a storm you have, wind, lighting, thunder, rain, cold and if Thor can summon storms than he should be able to win fights without having to use simple brute strength.
This whole idea came about after I was talking to my older cousin about Thor him being a Thor fan was displeased when I told him about certain fights Thor had in recent years such as his famous battle with Red Hulk, his inability to break Bastion's force field surrounding Utopia, his loss at the hands of Norman Osborn and his Initiative and even his far more recent defeat at the hands of the DeviantTutinax. He told me that this doesn't sound like the Thor he knew. He remembers Thor battling Celestials and even though he lost these where still great accomplishments and he fought foes with the power to end reality as we know it and at least wound them yet he gain be beaten by a crazed fool in a suit of armor?
It makes me wonder why he loses any fights at all with some of the feats he has displayed or even feats that similairy powered individuals have used. Thor beat Hyperion once by shrinking him and trapping him in a glass ball. Superman once fought a group of crazed super heroes and beat one of them by creating a hurricane sucking out his air it made me wonder why hasn't Thor ever done anything like that to the Hulk? (I know there's a Hulk fan out there saying it wouldn't matter he'd just get so angry he wouldn't need to breath but as a Hulk fan myself please shut up lol). Why in his fight with Red Hulk didn't he simply create a mini lighting storm in Ross's brain lobotomizing him, why in his fight with the Silver Surfer didn't he simply drain the power cosmic out his body with Mjolnir?
All these events and potential feats make me wonder why Thor seems so weak in recent times. I remember seeing a scan that says Thor was bested by some super villains because he holds back his strength, but even if he holds back his strength shouldn't he still be able to knock enemies unconscious with a flick of his fingers? It easy to say that it's simply the lack of imagination of the writers, but that seems so very odd to me even to this day. Even if one writer can describe a being a possibly weaker that they should be it seems odd that they can lack so much imagination and still be allowed to write comics.
I now go to a different religious character more relevant to modern times Lucifer Morningstar another favorite of mine although. Lucifer being the Devil in modern Christian mythology is a much feared being. The character often displayed a level of power where he so rightfully should. Often outsmarting the Angels of Heaven, Beating his brother Michael and even his greatest feat creating his own Creation separate from our own. Such feats only increased my belief that if Thor was a being worshipped by people today he would also be able to perform feats of equal measure. But sadly he is not. He is a character who in my opinion continues to be greatly disrespecting by writers in resent years and will only continue to be so simply because he is of a different faith than the majority of his readers. Although writers can show an amount of respect for characters of different religions these are usually just the followers and not the divine beings worshipped themselves. I fear this is so simply because writers are afraid to display feats that may beg the question who's religion is right or wrong.
Touchy Subject I know Bare With Me
As I feel I'm getting to the touchy part of the subject I will explain that that is not the question I am asking. What I have been getting at is that despite not being the modern god of society I wish for Thor to be shown with a level of respect of a god once worshipped by mankind. It is not the writers duty to tell someone which god maybe be real and which is not but when you use a character and intend to use them to the best of your ability do not weaken them for the sake of the story express them in all their glory and might. When I picture Thor feats I hope to hear of things such as crushing mountains with his hammer, lifting whales and submarines with his bares hand like they where paper, resisting the force of a nuclear bomb not even getting so much as a sunburn, deflecting bullets with his hair, punching opponents with the speed of lighting, shouting loud enough to shatter a man's bones, hearing the prayers of one of his followers anywhere in the world, commanding entire forrest to grow out of a desert, get punched by a fully grown Hank Pym resulting in the bones in his arm shattering, healing an entire hospital of people by simply waving his hand, stopping the Hulk by turning him back into Bruce Banner by simply touching him, etc. When a fan asks who should win Thor or Hulk or Thor or Superman there should be no question it is Thor because Thor is a divine being and Hulk or Superman aren't not. Stan Lee himself even created Thor with the intention of having a being stronger than the Hulk.
In my mind every religious character to have the utter most respect that can be given to said character and that they instantly display knowledge and power far beyond anything that can be achieved by mortal means. This does not mean said character need be flawless. Even the original Pagans did not believe their God's to be 100% flawless. Thor was deceived by his brother Loki resulting in him lifting part of the Midgard Serpent, Odin needed to hang himself to gain the secrets of the universe. Zeus's lighting didn't come from him but Hephaestus blacksmith of the gods. Even God chose not simply stop Lucifer from rebelling when he simply could have made it so. The point is don't allow the fears of the masses to hinder creativity and show respect for all religions not just your own.
First off what would any catchy title be without a well thought of explaination behind it. Well lets slow this down a bit and get your brain cells firing and let you imagine what I'm talking about. I'm sure that unless you've been under a rock or not reading comics you have heard of recent storylines such as Hulked out Heroes, Quaratine, Fear Itself and and the upcoming Spider-Island. Now your no doubt wondering which of those you liked and which was you didn't and the ones you hope end up better than every other storyline you've read thats states "Everything will change and nothing will be the same when this is over".
Well I'm not here to talk about what we expect out of these stories and what we don't get. What this is about is the plot those stories use to get themselves moving. Each of these story arcs share the basic plot in that a famous and well known heroes powers are either stolen and/or copied and then spread among other beings both normal and already superhuman. By now I'm really hoping your not going "Psssh so we already knew that you idiots $%^ you". If you are stop reading if not please continue.
First up we have Hulked Out Heroes which was really more like a tie in to the Fall of Hulks/World War Hulks plot wear the Intelligencia and Red Hulk depowered Bruce Banner and gamma blasted heroes and marines causing them to become Hulks themselves. Then theres Quaratine which was an X-Men storyline where a super intelligent mad scientist called Lobe began to sell off temporary mutant powers while the X-Men where infected with a power stripping disease. Lobe even went ahead and gave some of his clients costumes very much like the original X-Men's uniforms. Next we have Fear Itself going on now where a rogue Asgardian has awakened and created mystical hammers that fell to earth and selected men and women deemed worthy to wield them and bestowed upon them great powers.Lastly we have the upcoming Spider-Island which will feature the entire city of Manhattan gaining the powers of Spider-Man thanks to the Jackal creating a mutated plague of bed bugs.
So since you took the time to read all that I'm going to sum it all up for you. For around the last 2 years give or take Marvel has felt the need to simply turn mass numbers of people into copies of some of their most famous heroes turning their individual themes into a new plague. Specifically Hulk, X-Men, Thor and Spider-Man. This I fear is a reflection of the growing lack of imagination left in the world and more specifically the comic book writer. Things such as this are beginning to make me wonder how can we continue to enjoy the stories and characters we love so much that we would fight and more importantly spend money to talk and read about. Even the recent Silver Surfer mini featured Norrin Rad's power cosmic and silver skin being stolen by the High Evolutionary and spread among normal people. It makes me wonder what lines aren't these publishers willing to cross.
When will Spider-Man get adamanatium claws and a healing factor. When will the Avengers become blind and have their remaining senses heightened. When will cosmic rays hit the U.S.A turning America into the Fantastic 4,000,000,000 I know Doctor Dooms never coming out of his castle again. Even Marvel's rivals at DC have been doing similar things with their storylines. Recently Superman inlarged the city of Kandor creating a 100,000 people with the exact same powers as him. And Grant Morrison ended his very well received Death of Batman story by having Bruce spread the ideals of Batman around the world.
Even the recently discovered 8 Lantern Corps (counting Black and White) are mass production of famous Green Lantern Corps which is also an earlier attempt at this recent method for the famous Green Lantern. The difference between these and Marvels ideals is these events are well thoughts out and took years to build up to and in many ways are just a logical next step after years of stories, but the spread of powers in Marvel recently has only been a temporary transformation happening suddenly and without much long term thought in some cases.
Although I'm sure long lasting effects have and will come from these stories I doubt The Worthy are going to keep their Hammers or New Yorkers will keep their Spider-Powers. In the end the comics are making more and more poor decisions based off lack of interest, public attention and stale reader ship. But I'm not bringing this up to simply complain I'm bring this to your attention so that we can see what is happening with in our books. So we can at some point speak out against the staleness of what we read and hope for something better. As almost anyone on this site knows DC is attempting to do just that. I doubt it will be a true revolutionary step in the creation of comics but regardless it is a step in the right direction. So think about what you read and feel a new sense of understanding for the books you pick up. Or just don't care and keep spending your 2.99/3.99 I don't know about you but I'm just a black broke college student. I don't have that kind of money to buy the same thing over and over again just saying.
Like many of you I'm sure I have begun to notice a growing number of unusual changes in the comic books that we have grown to love. Now of course changes in the story lines and histories of some of our favorite characters is indeed nothing new. For years and years different teams of writer have taken over writing a book and at times they will take a character in directions we would have never seen coming. Sometimes this is met with universal praise and other times this has damned characters to a limbo they have never escaped. But the topic of this blog is not so much the changes as much as their cause. At first any change to a character could be blamed on the imagination of a writer but now we have been seeing an increasing number of films and TV series based off our loved characters. These films have often (at least those that did well) stuck closely to the source material.
However the films are not just retelling a story but are also modifications and adaptations of these characters. Some things are left out from the comics or are added in for a better more smooth and enjoyable effect. Yet this is usually not and issue for most fans as a balanced change can actually be enjoyed. Yet like many of you I have begun to notice a growing and somewhat disgusting need to no longer allow the shows and films to reflect the comics but the comics to reflect the shows and movies.
What I mean
Two of the earliest examples of this would have to be the choice to change the X-Men's costumes and give Spider-Man organic webbing. The X-Men have been on of the most colorful and unique superheroes to exist in comics despite their origins as being mostly WASPs in black and yellow masked uniforms. But when the X-Men where chosen to be turned into a film the often times colorful look of many characters was removed in favor of black leather body suits. In truth I have and had no issue with this at all. It made perfect sense as even if people gained super powers in real life it would be beyond silly to have them wear bright colored costumes running around saving people versus functional, very tactical and potentially stealthy uniforms.
However with in at least a year after the movie's release the X-Men let go of their colorful and various costumes in favor of very streamlined black and yellow leather outfits and even got rid of the masks some members wore. This indeed gave the team an edger and more aggressive look and was very cool to say the least. A few years after that the Ultimate Universe expanded from just housing a younger version of Spider-Man to also have a young version of the X-Men who like their counterparts wore black and yellow leather outfits. Again a modern look similar though not identical to their movie uniforms.
Next we go to Spider-Man everyones favorite Neighborhood webslinger. After the success of both his first and second(we can argue the second one later) movies a storyline had him captured by a new supervillianess called the Queen who forced Spider-Man to mutate into a giant Man-Spider (hmmm what TV show was this in). Of course he became normal old Spider-Man again but this time with the added ability of his own webs. The Spider-Man film series also made itself apart from the books by giving Spider-Man organic webbing as well. Possibly to make it easier to explain where they came from or to save on the budget from having the studio build the devices either way it doesn't matter.
Some years later we saw the great film Iron Man based off it's name sake. As expected Tony Stark dawned a suit of red and gold armor to redeem himself and battle threats. As it should the film maker paid attention to the design of his armors and made a model for the model that was based off those that existed in the comic world but with changes to make it seem as realistic as they could. The success of the first film caused a sequel which featured even more armors based off ones in the comics no problem. Yet after the second movie Iron Man got a new armor. Big deal Iron Man has had dozens of armors over the years and a new one didn't mean anything. Yet this new armor had a helmet almost identical to the one in the movie.
This may be an example of the comics reflecting the movies but even I barely care about this point but it needed to be made, but even more distasteful was the films effect on the Ultimate Version of Iron Man. The Ultimate Universes Iron Man had a suit very different from many seen before. However after Iron Man 2 I can barely tell the difference between the movie armor and the Ultimate version. And this is only what I notice among the Marvel comics industry.
Going over to their counterpart in DC it has been less noticed consider the fact that DC has been having a much greater timer converting their comics to films and even TV. Batman being the only real staple of DC that has been converted into a decent movie series in the last 20 years. Of course we remember the Christopher Reeves Superman movies of the 80s and the early Batman films of the 90s but only Batman has made a dent in the film DC film industry. But as his character is so well characterized and complex in the comics the films need very little to any change. Only making the heroes uniform solid black versus grey, blue, and black etc. and more mechanical. However you have to remember the movies only show one Batman so could this be the reason Grayson is becoming Nightwing again? But after the announcements for DCs relaunch and solicits I began to notice changes in their heroes that seemed familiar.
First and most controversial would have to be Wonder Woman. As we know she both had a change in costume and a failed TV show. Now the costume change did proceed the show's announcement but the timing of the two ran so closely that it made me wonder. It takes months before a show will even get a pilot and costumes designs are more than likely made far in advance. I personally believe that the idea for the show sparked the idea to alter her uniform to match up with each other. Next we have Green Arrow who has been a character present on the CW's Smallville that recently ended. With the relaunch he receive a new uniform that looks almost identical to the one he wore in Smallville. Even more recent is the upcoming Green lantern film debuting a more organic version of the characters uniform and during the Flashpoint series featuring a living Abin Sur we saw a more organic version of the Green Lantern costume.
I know right that was way too much bs you just don't care about, but still I think a few of us especially me have been wondering are the comics doing the right thing by trying to reflect their alternate media counterparts. I'm still on the fence myself. I feel like sometimes the movies make more sense than some of the comics costume wise. I love more practicality than just flash but I fear this isn't change for change sake but change just to make money. I fear that we will become buried in a series of events that is geared towards only making money and not making any change just to better their product.
[Edit] In retrospect this should have been put in general discussion. I apologize for the mistake if someone could move it there if anyone cares that is lol :P