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Wednesday, January 21, 2015 

Marvel universe is being rebooted/retconned, and all we can do is yawn

They sent telling hints of this earlier. Now, it's official:
The Marvel Universe is about to start afresh. At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Marvel Entertainment ended months of speculation by confirming that it will reboot its comic book universe during this summer’s much-hyped Secret Wars event.

The first issue of the series will feature the end of the current Marvel Universe, with the patchwork “Battleworld” advertised in earlier promotional images for the event being described as the “melting world from which the new Marvel Universe will be fermented,” according to executive editor Tom Brevoort. “It’s difficult to imagine something that would be larger in scope and scale than Secret Wars,” he said, jokingly adding, “What we’re going to do to top it is hopefully going to be someone else’s problem.”
Why should we want such a lethargic plot to be topped? These crossovers have already resulted in more than enough fatigue. And if the Beyonder turns up in this new take on the tale from 1984, he's likely going to play the part taken by the Anti-Monitor in Crisis on Infinite Earths, which as some people have argued, was overrated and confusing in its time.
“This is putting an end cap on decades of stories,” editor-in-chief Axel Alonso said of the eight-part series launching in May. “This is a place where we’ll be putting new pieces on the board and taking old pieces off.”

“We’re working with a lot of licensees for this,” Marvel’s Chris D’Lando added, naming Hasbro, Upper Deck, Mattel’s Hot Wheels line and Funko as partners already signed to produce new product for the event. Additionally, Marvel’s games team is “working on developing interactive content” related to Secret Wars that will be revealed in the future.
I don't see what's so great about playing with merchandise based on an "event" that spells the end of a universe we once loved, before these awful people came along and destroyed it as they became more and more obsessed with movie adaptations instead.
“You’ll be shocked at the chances we’re willing to take,” Alonso said about the future of the Marvel Universe. Brevoort added, “The Marvel Universe as you know it is done.”
It ended a long time ago. It began to seriously unravel with the Clone Saga in 1995. Actually, it may have begun even earlier in the Silver Age, slowly wrecked by merchandise and people who wanted to exploit it all for building adaptations that would make more money than the comics publishers were trying to. People who don't see the value of storytelling, and prefer these products more as something like video games, which don't require the kind of serious scripting a comic book does.

Graeme McMillan's willing to admit it's bound to leave everybody underwhelmed:
The news that Marvel Entertainment is "ending" the Marvel Universe as we know it in this summer's Secret Wars is intended to be a big deal for those following the company's comic book continuity. (In promoting Tuesday's press conference, Marvel referred to the news as "the announcement to end all announcements," somewhat hyperbolically.) In that it's the first full-scale reboot for the universe since its 1961 inception, it is something to take note of — but in the wider scheme of things, it's difficult to get too fired up about the news just yet.
It's hard to be excited at all. Even Crisis on Infinite Earths wasn't all that necessary. It certainly wasn't necessary to have all those tie-ins appearing in issues from ongoing series. If they had to reboot anything, they could've done it without giving the vibe they were trying to fleece the readers of too much money.
Part of the problem is that, while this is the first universe-wide reboot for Marvel's comic book continuity, the concept is very familiar to comic fans, thanks to the many reboots offered in the last three decades by Marvel's biggest competitor, DC. In a lot of ways, much of today's Marvel announcement called back to the first — and arguably, the best — of DC's multiple universal reboot stories: 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths. Not only does Alex Ross' cover for the first issue of Secret Wars mirror George Perez's cover for Crisis on Infinite Earths No. 1, but the DC series also featured refugees from a number of parallel Earths emigrating to "New Earth," the one, final Earth that remained at the end of the series — something that appears to be the core of Marvel's "Battleworld" concept for Secret Wars.

(DC also rebooted their universe in 1994's Zero Hour, 2004's Infinite Crisis and 2011's Flashpoint, the last of which also saw the publisher relaunch all of its titles with a new first issue, another cue that Marvel might take from DC, given that the former has already teased something called "All New Marvel" in September.)
But they already pulled issue relaunch stunts like those. The earliest was probably Heroes Reborn from 1996. This wouldn't be particularly new either.

The news reports tell that this new take on Secret Wars will see the merging of a number of characters from the failed Ultimate universe into the mainstay (I'd say 616, but I've got a feeling that'll no longer be valid), like the new mixed-race Spider-Man, Miles Morales. It raises a lot of good questions what their vision is for a NuMarvel universe. Will they supplant Peter Parker entirely with a new, politically correct version of what they think Spidey should be? And will similar steps be taken with various other Marvel cast members?
Another hurdle to great enthusiasm is the fact that the idea of Marvel rebooting has been floating around for decades; Sean Howe's Marvel Comics: The Untold Story [5] describes such plans as far back as the mid-1980s, and similar reboots have been teased almost every decade since. While it might be exciting that Marvel is actually going to do it this time, the idea, at this point, is far from a new one.
I'd heard years ago that Jim Shooter wanted to replace a lot of established Marvel heroes with new characters, but Stan Lee made sure that wouldn't happen, and I don't see what Shooter thought would be so great about it. It's not hard to guess why Quesada and his awful staff are doing it now with Lee no longer able to object - they want to make everything perfect as a mirror for the movies.
There's also the fact that, for a lot of fans, the very idea of a Marvel reboot is something to be afraid of, and not excited by. One of Marvel's core strengths, traditionally, has been that "everything counts" in terms of previously published material. While that's not technically true — something I'll get to in a moment — the fact that Marvel's mythology doesn't have to deal with the difficult-to-explain concept of "Post-Crisis," "Post-Zero Hour," or "Post-Flashpoint" eras has been something of a point of pride for Marvel. As recently as 2012 [6], Marvel's chief creative officer Joe Quesada was promoting new publishing initiatives by boasting, "We love our hardcore constituency. We're not rebooting, we're not saying, 'Hey, all that stuff you read doesn't matter anymore.'" Surely rebooting in 2015 doesn't send an accidental message that Marvel doesn't love its hardcore constituency anymore — but you'll have to ask that very constituency how they feel about that.
I think the emigrants from their readership over the years - casual or otherwise - have answered the question. It's not something they're afraid of, but it certainly is something that insults and alienates them. No longer are most readers surprised - this is an editorial board that long eschewed plausible character drama for cheap stunts. They've proven they'll do anything they think gets them headlines they don't deserve, under the confidence the mainstream press by and large won't ask them any hard questions or hold them to any standards.

And the message they're sending out is no accident. Their terrible mistreatment of Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson has long proven that. This reboot, if that's what it'll be, is nothing more than disrespect for both old and new readers, and with the exact same people in charge, that's why nobody should think this'll yield better storytelling than before.

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Yawn. Yet another line-wide Big Event that will probably create more problems than it solves.

Actually, I don't recall a lot of comic book-related merchandising or multi-media adaptations in the Silver Age. The Batman TV show was a huge hit in 1966, and there was a lot of merchandising (e.g., toys) associated with it, but not so much with comics in general. The TV series based on Marvel characters were animated cartoons in children's time slots (Saturday mornings and weekday afternoons). There were no other really successful TV or movie series based on comics. Some series went the opposite route. That is, there were comic books based on TV action-adventure shows like The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Wild Wild West. There was also merchandising (toys, posters) based on U.N.C.L.E. and James Bond movies.

It's kind of ironic that Marvel is now trying the same ploy (a line-wide reboot) that DC has done repeatedly for years. In the Silver Age, Marvel seemed to be aiming at a slightly older audience than DC. Not adults, of course, but maybe adolescents. Then, in the Bronze Age (1970's and early 1980's), DC emulated Marvel (longer story arcs and crossovers, character development, more complex plots). Now, Marvel seems to be imitating DC.

And, as with post-Crisis DC, the rebooted series will soon build up its own convoluted continuity, and they will need to try to clear it up with another reboot, which will only complicate things further.

It's time for Who's Turning Gay: Marvel Edition.

Meanwhile, over at DC... Jimmy Olson has turned black.

The Black Avengers, Thor Gir, Ms Moslem, the all female A-Hole Avengers, and now a complete reboot that will probably be a PCboot.

The Marvel Morons obviously thinks Disney has and endless supply of money to waste, so why don't they go full retard and make the Avengers "the Transgervengers?" Or just make the entire Marvel universe an lgbt universe, were the characters all cat fight in overpriced homes and clothes?

Guardians 300 will be the only quality book they have left, assuming they don't cancel or wreck that one too.

The Black Avengers, Thor Girl, Ms Moslem, the all female A-Hole Avengers, and now a complete reboot that will probably be a PCboot.

The Marvel Morons obviously thinks Disney has an endless supply of money to waste, so why don't they go full retard and make the Avengers "the Transgendervengers?" Or just make the entire Marvel universe an lgbt universe, were the characters all cat fight in overpriced homes and clothes?

Guardians 300 will be the only quality book they have left, assuming they don't cancel or wreck that one too.

If Jim Shooter really wanted to retire a lot of Marvel heroes then it's a shame Stan lee did not support him on this. What was really needed in the late 1980s was not some horrible bloodbath in which a lot of heroes are killed, but just a natural aging process which encourages many to move on, retire, and be replaced by a newer batch. It's funny that when criticizing some of the bad decisions Marvel made over the years I haven't noticed you mentioning what was the most decisively horrible retcon: the annihilation of the marriage of Johnny Storm and Alicia Masters.

The original marriage between Storm and Masters was one of the best examples of superheroes growing up. At first it generated some tensions with the Thing, but over time the story started to take the track that Ben had found a new girlfriend as part of the new Fantastic Four. These developments in the 1980s offered the perfect opportunity for a scenario of the 1990s in which Johnny and Alicia would announce that they feel a need to go off by themselves for a time while Reed and Sue would still be occupied with taking care of Franklin. The Thing and his partner could occasionally appear outside of any regular series as supporting characters. By 2000 we would be ready to hear that Franklin had grown up. This would have been much more tasteful than anything which was done with the Fantastic Four since 1990.

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