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Sunday, April 15, 2018 

IGN whitewashes Mark Waid's take on Captain America

And even what they're doing with Thanos. Leave it to IGN's comics section to serve as Marvel's apologist for the bad direction continuing in the Star-Spangled Avengers under Mark Waid, and they even draw a moral equivalence between good scribes like Stan Lee and bad ones like Dan Slott, claiming the latter's work is oh-so classic already. It goes downhill early on:
Few would argue that Marvel Comics didn't have a rough go in 2017. The ambitious Secret Empire crossover courted plenty of controversy but failed to translate that into steady sales. And while the Marvel Legacy relaunch promised a nostalgic return to the Marvel of old, it's been pretty much a case of business as usual for the company in recent months. Despite this, there's reason to be optimistic for Marvel's future. And it's all thanks to the most unlikely of alliances - Captain America and Thanos.

Legacy underwhelmed largely because so little about Marvel's comic book lineup seemed to truly change. Beneath the renumbered covers, most Legacy books featured the same creative teams working with the same characters as before. The ongoing Captain America and Thanos titles are two notable exceptions. With Captain America, writer Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee came on board to give readers a "back to basics" story about Cap getting back in touch with the people of America following the events of Secret Empire. With Thanos, God Country creative team Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw took the reins of the series to tell a story about the Mad Titan confronting his own future self.
I don't see how, within the context of Secret Empire's aftermath, this could work. Certainly not after Waid continued the ultra-leftist agendas in the pages of Captain America's solo book lately, and it's bound to get worse with Ta-Nehisi Coates coming on board. That's not back to basics so much as it is a continuation of radical leftist basics in the modern age. And what was so "ambitious" about Secret Empire depicting Cap as a nazi? I can't see their point.
On the surface, these two books might not seem like they have much in common. One stars a bright and shining hero, while the other one of Marvel's most fearsome villains. One features a well-established creative team, and the other a pair of relative newcomers. But both books have quickly become two of Marvel's best during Legacy, and largely for the same reasons.

Both the Waid/Samnee Captain America and Cates/Shaw Thanos runs succeed because they focus on telling clean, accessible and self-contained stories. Captain America may spring out of the events of Secret Empire, but it really just uses that event as a starting point to explore Steve Rogers' strange road trip across America. Thanos, meanwhile, downplays continuity to the point where it could be taking place at any point in the modern Marvel timeline. Both creative teams are bucking the trend by telling short, six-issue-long stories. Rather than trying to build multi-year runs on these titles, the two creative teams have simply focused on telling one ambitious and very enjoyable story.
So, what's so great about a story in the 700th issue set in a future timeline where Cap ends up fighting futuristic takes on Donald Trump, and possibly Ben Shapiro? That Cap later returns to the present and "resets" everything is no excuse for such a crude concoction. And how is 6 issues short? There have been tons of stories for nearly 2 decades running as much as 6 parts, all for the sake of trade collections, and it's actually resulted in quite a few getting padded out for the sake of the idea. Brian Bendis is particularly guilty of leading to this embarrassment. In the earlier days, whether it was an ongoing or a miniseries, they were usually just 3-4 parts, and that's all they needed for a story. Today's tales have been forced by editorial mandates to go as many as six or more, and that's hardly what I'd call "short". Except on brains, as the columnist demonstrates he lacks.
Frankly, Marvel could use more books like this. As I've explored in the past, Marvel doesn't put a lot of emphasis on self-contained, standalone comics. Where DC has books like The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen - books that remain perennial bestsellers year after year and are perfect for new readers who have no interest in grappling with complicated continuity - Marvel tends to emphasize ongoing series. The best Spider-Man comics aren't singular graphic novels, but lengthy runs from creators like Stan Lee and Dan Slott. The focus is always on stories building over time and leading into new stories and forever expanding on the struggles of these iconic heroes. That approach certainly has it merits, but it doesn't do much for readers who just want to read one good comic with a definitive end point.
Oh, so at least he admits the deviation from self-contained storytelling hurt a lot of books from Marvel and elsewhere. But then, why say 6 issues long is something short? It's not when you look under a magnifying glass.

And again, nice moral equivalence they pulled there, claiming Slott's the greatest writer to come down the pike since Stan the Man. It's not even clear what they mean by lengthy runs - in Stan's case, there were all sorts of developments occurring, and best part is that they came organically. But in Slott's case, he was abiding by an editorial mandate that condoned trolling the Mary Jane Watson fans, insulting everyone's intellect with shoddy, protracted tales like Doctor Octopus taking over Peter Parker's body as part of a bizarre "one man's criminal is another's freedom fighter" type of insanity, and even the Spidey comics under Slott's reign had their connections with at least a few of Marvel's company wide crossovers.
My hope is that Marvel is looking at the critical and commercial success of these two series and working to replicate it in their upcoming Fresh Start relaunch. Sure, it's been great fun watching Jason Aaron and his artistic partners build a truly epic run on Thor, but not every comic needs to go down that road. Not every series needs to devote years to weaving a complex superhero saga. Not every creative team needs to stick around for the long haul. There's a lot to be said for books like Captain America and Thanos where creators swing for the fences and then get out while the getting is good. One great superhero adventure is always preferable to several mediocre ones. That sort of "quality over quantity" approach is exactly what we need to be seeing from Marvel's impending "Fresh Start" relaunch.
Last time I looked at sales charts, Cap's sales predictably were anything but spectacular, and without figures given, the columnist should just take his propaganda and stuff it. Still, at least he's given us a hint what he thinks of Jane Foster, if he's not sorry she's been thrown under the bus in Thor. And the incoming Coates on Cap is no assurance of a "fresh" start. One of the commenters said:
Not to be a Debbie downer but the Cap book isn't redeeming anything. I thought the worst idea that marvel could have was turning Cap into a Nazi. But Cap battling a deformed Donald Trump in a dystonian future may be the worst storyline ever written for the character.
Absolutely, and time travel's no excuse. IGN's writing staff has only proven they're in the tank for the social justice panderers at Marvel, and therefore not worth listening to.

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MD.Shameem Mridha
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