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Tuesday, February 03, 2015 

Bellingham Herald's uncritical coverage of new Secret Wars

The Bellingham Herald wrote a superficial piece about 2015's version of Secret Wars, planned as Marvel's imitation of Crisis on Infinite Earths. One of the weakest commentaries it makes is this:
The mechanism for doing this has been an ongoing storyline in the flagship Avengers titles for the last year or so. Here's the plot:

Somewhere in the multiverse, the Avengers learned in 2013, something had gone awry in the barriers between dimensions. So now an infinite number of universes are plowing into ours, one by one, always with the Earths of each universe the breach point. So the Avengers have been struggling for a way to stop these "incursions," as they are called. But all they've managed to do so far is survive - by destroying each invading Earth. That's not very heroic, but it does reset the clock for the next incursion, by which time, the heroes hope, they will find a way to change the rules.

It turns out, according to Brevoort, "They won't." In "Secret Wars" #1 in May, the Ultimate Universe is the one invading, and the heroes of both worlds fail to stop the collision. At which point, most Marvel titles will be canceled, because Marvel Earth will be no more. Instead, what we have left is something called "Battleworld."
So now the Avengers are turned into actual killers of planets?!? That almost reeks of the Phoenix saga! And the article otherwise lets the writers setting this in motion off the hook for making the Avengers into something no true fan wants them to be. All topped off with the theme of failure, and it won't be surprising if this turns out to be very different from how Crisis handled it. Overrated as Crisis was in its time, they did depict the superheroes acting heroically and in character.
"Secret Wars" will run eight issues, but with the old Marvel Universe gone, what else will Marvel publish? A lot, as it turns out, in three umbrella categories:

Last Days: Books with this trade dress will focus on what certain characters - some of whom will probably not survive the transition - do in the last eight hours before the end of the world.

Battleworld: These books are a macro look at the new reality, with stories covering how the zones deal with one another, who's in charge of what, and overarching issues of that nature.

Warzones: These books will be smaller, human-level stories about individual characters or opponents.

And after that? Marvel's mum, but we must assume they'll keep the characters or story arcs that are popular and jettison the ones that aren't. So expect Wolverine to return (he's currently dead), and for that Ultimate Spider-Man guy to hang around, as he seems to have a lot fans.
It's just like these propagandists to let the possibility the editors plan to obliterate "unpopular" characters go by without argument why it's no way to write a universe. This is the same mentality that lurked around Identity Crisis and later Flashpoint - use a crossover to erase characters who allegedly aren't cared for because they're just an impediment, when all they have to do is just put them in limbo, or look for writers with appealing ideas for what they can do with them, and in self-contained tales.
And that's not all. Alonso said the stories created during "Secret Wars" will "have legs" and continue into the new Marvel Universe, whatever that will look like.

"If we wanted to resurrect Gwen Stacy, this would be the place to do it," Alonso said, referring to Spider-Man's first serious girlfriend, who died in 1972 (in the comics) and in 2014 (in the movies).

"Or if we wanted four Gwen Stacys ..." Brevoort joked. Or is it a joke?
Past experience with these dreadful people demonstrates why we needn't think it is. They could be doing this as a means for keeping Mary Jane Watson out of the picture. Reviving Gwen is one thing, but not at Mary Jane's expense. And it's not very accurate to say Gwen was Spidey's first serious girlfriend either, because Betty Brant took that role for a time before her. And Gwen died at the hands of the Green Goblin in 1973, a year later than what's stated.
Of course, with the popularity of the Marvel movies, one must wonder why they're rocking the boat. Why do all this? And the answer is the same one it always is: To sell a lot of comic books. Oh, wait, I meant to say "to tell a good story." Because, in the end, those two goals usually overlap.
Nope, not anymore. The same people as before are working on all these brand new changes for a post-Secret Wars universe, and if there's anything we can be sure will get carried over from the old MCU, it'll be their overbearing editorial mandates, with the prohibition of a Spider-marriage to Mary Jane one of the most glaring examples.
But it's certain to cause a lot of controversy, especially among older fans who will feel dissed. Do their favorite stories no longer matter?
Obviously, the columnist doesn't care about past history. Otherwise, he wouldn't go easy on the editors, after all the trash they put out for more than 15 years that disrespected tons of decently written heroes and co-stars. The editors have seen to it that all the best stories no longer matter for years already, and the only thing that does matter is selling books with no lasting story value to speculators, even as the retail value for modern pamphlets continues to decline.

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I'm a big fan of the Avengers, and it'll be interesting to see what Secret Wars is about and the actual direction they take the series. Either way, I'm sure I'll read it.

The "1972" instead of "1973" could simply be a typo, so I wouldn't make too much of it.

Of course, most of the stuff that the Big Two have published for years have proven that they can't "sell a lot of comic books" and that they don't even want "to tell a good story."

The real money is in movies and merchandising, so the parent companies probably don't care what is going on with the comics themselves. So Slott, Brevoort, and Alonso have a free hand to run the series into the ground.

Are they blowing up planets by hurling pallets of unsold comics at them?

Maybe they can throw Slott at the planets and help us all.

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