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Thursday, August 28, 2014 

What Marvel needs is not a reboot per se, but to excise a decade's worth of bad storytelling

A writer on IGN is making the claim Marvel's universe doesn't need a reboot:
With the Time Runs Out story approaching in Avengers and New Avengers, the Internet has been abuzz with claims that Marvel Comics will be using it as a means to reboot their entire comics universe. After all, it was only 2011 when DC Comics did just that with their “New 52” reboot. They deleted decades of continuity save for certain iconic stories, modernized nearly everyone’s looks and origins, assigned new artists and writers to nearly every comic, and then restarted every comic series over at #1. Marvel and DC copying each other is a tale as old as time, but this time, Marvel has good reason not to follow suit.
In a sense, this is a laughable argument, because Marvel's continuity has been a shambles for more than a decade now, which calls for a reboot, but not in the sense they suggest. Rather, it calls for clearing away more than a decade of older storylines, beginning with what took place in 2004, like Avengers: Disassembled, and Spider-Man's One More Day also counts. There is more from earlier times - like some X-Men stories and Spider-Man's Clone Saga - that should be discarded from continuity as well, but the disasters since 2004 make a good start for what demands a retconning.

The part about DC's "modernization" is pretty laughable too, because it's only amounted to diversity at all costs, and the changing of costume designs to less appealing ones, like Superman's all-blue metal-like outfit. And none of it is actually character-based, it's only designated to draw publicity for short-term sales. And one of those "iconic" moments they kept in place happens to be the battle between Superman and Doomsday, which amounted to nothing but a sales stunt that the medium's never recovered from. DC also calls for a quasi-reboot, but in terms of a retcon like I described before, one that would clear away much of the disasters they published since 2004, and some earlier stories could be omitted too, but for now, we concern ourselves primarily with their output since 2004.
Just to get ahead of the obvious knee-jerk comments, let me state that I am not writing about how Marvel is better than DC or vice versa. Both publishers have a lot going for them, and sure a lot of areas they could improve, but what I’m discussing in this space is the merits of Marvel rebooting or not.
A real head-shaker and sigh-inducer. Whatever they had going for them was thrown away years ago, as merchandise began to take priority over the comics themselves, and self-interested publishers started producing stories that appealed only to them, and as a result, wound up pandering to smaller audiences with no interest in character drama or common sense. That's exactly why Mary Jane Watson and Lois Lane, to name but some leading ladies in superhero comics, were largely marginalized.
For those who strongly desire a Marvel reboot, the truth is that they already got one in 2012’s Marvel NOW! initiative. Well, for the most part. Marvel redesigned their characters’ looks, assigned new artists and writers to nearly all of their comics, and restarted almost every comic series at #1. Sound familiar? The one major difference between Marvel NOW! and the New 52 was that Marvel decided to keep all of their continuity. The loss of years of beloved continuity has been cited as the biggest sore spot of the New 52. Marvel clearly saw this fan response and then acted accordingly when they launched Marvel NOW! They received all of the benefits of a reboot without actually doing one; it was more of a “refresh” than a “reboot,” and thus far it has paid off fantastically.
Now he's really sinking into dishonesty. These "refreshings" have been an embarrassment for years now. Besides, they did reboot something: the Spider-marriage status. But, unsurprisingly, that's all been forgotten, proving these would-be Marvel fans never had any interest in coherency and consistency. Some more of continuity's been rewritten too, even if it's only subtle, and is just as unappealing as the deal with Mephisto. And any redesigns they've made are no more impressive than DC's, nor do they substitute for compelling characterization for the casts.
If Marvel were going to do a reboot, they surely would have done it as part of their Marvel NOW! launch. But they didn’t. And if they needed a big time travel story to set it up, they would have used last year’s time travel event comic Age of Ultron. And if they wanted a parallel universe story, they only need turn to their Ultimate Universe. What I’m getting at is that Marvel has had multiple opportunities to do a reboot, but has never decided to go that route. Just because they’re doing some stories that have elements usually associated with reboots, that’s not a direct indicator of what they are planning.
What an ignoramus. They already rebooted and definitely retconned their continuity at least a decade ago, without using crossovers per se. The difference here, however, is that the retcons were very, VERY bad. J. Michael Strazcynski did some pretty embarrassing glitches in 2001 when he first took over Spider-Man (Aunt May says Uncle Ben went for a walk after an argument and met his fate outside, when better written setups show he died after walking IN and discovering the burglar in their Forest Hills house). The Ultimate universe has already affected the mainstream, in a way. They didn't need a time travel story to initiate these changes either; Mephisto was the tool. In fact, when DC was doing it more recently in 2004, they didn't use time travel effects for Identity Crisis either, they just forcibly retconned whatever they felt like, based on their repellent modern PC visions.
Even when not taking all that into consideration, what would Marvel have to gain from a reboot? They have a variety of comics that cater to many different tastes. There’s the pop art of Mike and Laura Allred’s Silver Surfer, the adrenaline-fueled pencils of Tradd Moore’s All-New Ghost Rider, and the endlessly detailed Daredevil by Chris Samnee. There’s the mind-blowing twists of Uncanny Avengers, the epic saga of Thor: God of Thunder, and the clandestine shenanigans of Secret Avengers. We’re at a time where there’s a large variety of stories from multiple genres, all brought to life in starkly different art styles, so how would a reboot even factor in to improving that?
What have they gained from their current direction? Did that ever occur to IGN's ignoramus? Curious how he limits his scope to the book artists but doesn't mention the writers, like Mark Waid, Brian Bendis, Dan Slott, Rick Remender or even Jason Aaron. Those are some of the worst writers in the business today, and Remender's work on Avengers amounts to little more than wiping out Rogue and Scarlet Witch. Even if they were reversed, that gets no mention here either.
In my opinion, the only reason to reboot is to make a fresh starting point for new readers. That’s the most common hurdle for people who want to get into reading comics -- they don’t know where to start. Thing is, Marvel, DC, and just about every other comic publisher out there have made it so almost any issue is a good jumping-on point. [...]
Very funny. The best place to start is the zygote, the origin stories from the Golden and Silver Ages! Today's output is so dull, pointless and incomprehensible, it's not worth spending so much money on for nothing. This article also ignores the padding practice that became increasingly common since the 1990s, and got worse when Bendis took over Avengers. Instead of telling most stories in just two or three issues, as was once common, now they take up at least 6-7 issues, and often are so padded out it makes the tale seem slower. How are those good jumping-on points?
...Marvel has been the market share leader for years, so there’s little monetary incentive to do a full reboot when they are already number one sales-wise.
With many books selling so little? I don't think so.
Marvel has gone 75 years without a full continuity reboot, and while there may be some reboot-ish stories currently unfolding, I don’t see it happening anytime soon. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Wrong again. They have been in sore need of a tune up since the early 90s when the speculator market took over. If he really believed what he's saying, he would've panned One More Day as the travesty it really is. The truth is the reboot already did happen, just not as a crossover per se, though some of their crossovers in the past decade have served the purpose of contrived retcons, as Original Sin's proven.

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I think they have been rebooting the universe with what I would call "soft reboots". They have not done a major end and restart but if you look they have changed characters and histories of characters as well as their behavior for years.
For example Captain America- Steve Rogers removed and replaced (soft reboot), after a few years Steve Rogers replaced again (soft reboot).
Spider-Man- same thing, notice how different Peter is now.
Iron Man- reboot soon
Avengers- New members and direction…soft reboot again.
Marvel is rebooting all of the time but they are doing it under the radar.

Market the story instead of the identity politics of the creators. I see entire marketing efforts on twitter focused on who the creators are instead of what the book is about. Just sell me a cool story without trying to earn diversity points.

I think the market really is looking for cool stuff from new voices all the time as long as its quality. Going for the emotional sell only gets you so far if the content isn’t great.

Also for big publishers, the market is way too flooded to expect much success from new/minor characters from new creators. Go all in or your not trying.

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