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Friday, May 21, 2021 

There is a way to mend damage to the Big Two's continuities: clear away much of the worst stories from over 30 years

As Marvel and DC's futures continue to look less certain, and the possibility of closure looks more likely for their comics publishing some day, here's something I was thinking of writing up for some time that decidedly has potential, and is entirely worth trying, if the chance were ever to come, but provided they could one day reopen under better ownership and management: Specifically, jettison much of what they've published within the last 20-30 years that's not consistent with continuity and characterization, or is just plain terrible.

Let's take, as an example, a comic that many are likely to agree suffered some of the worst abuse: Green Lantern. The Silver Age hero in the role, Hal Jordan, was easily the earliest victim of poor story crafting, beginning in mid-1988, pretty quickly after the end of the 2nd volume, in the pages of Action Comics Weekly #601, where Katma Tui was slaughtered by Carol Ferris under the Star Sapphire influence. It got no better when the Emerald Dawn miniseries came about, along with the 3rd GL volume, which, under the helming of now notorious Gerard Jones, the characters were undermined at the start by a lethargic setup for what would become a political metaphor. And of course, after it became apparent this wasn't working, so editor Kevin Dooley punished fictional Hal instead of the writer by turning said fictional character into Parallax in the Emerald Twilight event of 1994, which led to Kyle Rayner replacing Hal as otherwise the only GL in the DCU. Much of what came during the 90s was just so awful, I firmly believe it should be jettisoned from continuity.

Another example would be the other comic the aforementioned slimebucket Jones scripted at the time, Wonder Man's solo book from the early 90s. This dreadful comic, much like Jones' work on GL, reeked of political metaphors just as noxious, to say nothing of fishy allusions to the scribe's twisted mentality on how he views women and children. If there were ever a case to be made for why even the Marvel universe has stories not worth keeping canon, this would make a good start.

And there's another two from the mid-90s that could be dropped from Marvel canon: Spider-Man's Clone Saga, and X-Men's Age of Apocalypse. Now it's bad enough the setup insulted the readers' intellects with the idea the guy we thought was Peter Parker for a nearly 2 decade span would turn out to be the clone named Ben Reilly. But if you want a more challenging observation worth considering, I'd say what was really angering was the point where Peter, enraged about having his life stolen by a carbon copy, would first physically assault said copy, followed by accidentally injuring Mary Jane Watson after she tried to stop his irrational violence. Whatever point the writers were trying to make, including Tom deFalco, in clearly what wasn't one of his best writing efforts, they failed miserably. The scene of violence was uncalled for, and this definitely makes a moment in comics built on action scenes where mayhem should not have been the basis. That alone, IMO, is reason enough to drop the story from continuity, because of how horrific it was, far worse than the confusing concept of who's the Peter-clone or not.

Age of Apocalypse also galls me, because what was the point beyond portraying the heroes living in an alternate reality caused when a mentally impaired character first seen in New Mutants during 1985 named Legion travels backwards in time to kill Magneto? One of the most troubling moments actually came during the beginning, when the X-team arrives in the Sinai desert, and we're told that what's going on spooked Israel and the PLO into working together. I found the moral equivalence – or considerable lenience on the latter – very disgusting, considering all the murder and evil they committed in the name of the Religion of Peace till this day, when the 1993 Oslo accords were signed and the Labor party, then in charge of the Israeli government, allowed them to take hold of areas in Judea/Samaria/Gaza. And co-writers Scott Lobdell and Mark Waid just went along with this, without doing any research or consideration?

Another storyline worth considering for being jettisoned is the Death & Return of Superman, or at least, certain parts and elements that took place at the time, like the murder of Cat Grant's son at the hands of the Toyman, perpetuating the pathetic notion that the only way to part ways with a character allegedly considered redundant is to kill them. It's insulting to the intellect, and a cliche that the superhero genre has to distance itself from.

I'd even recommend ridding continuity of Heroes Reborn's 4 series volumes proper - certainly those penned by Rob Liefeld - which never aged well due to his awful penciling and inconsistencies.

The Justice League material written solo by Jones, in case I forgot, is another example of something that's got to go, including – but not limited to – the story where Power Girl gets pregnant with a character who grows to adult size in what must've been an attempt to mimic the 1981 Avengers story where Carol Danvers was injected with Immortus. And whether or not Jones authored the retcon, if Obsidian was turned homosexual around this time, it's got to be jettisoned as well. Notable creations by more respectable veterans like Roy Thomas cannot be allowed to get hijacked by SJWs. The same goes for Stan Lee/Jack Kirby creations like Iceman, lest we forget.

And then, there's only so much coming from both companies since the early 2000s that, if it hadn't been dropped from continuity, it'd do a lot of good if it were. Though of course, it is pretty moot at this point.

But it can't be done effectively unless both publishers and franchises are bought out by altruistic sources that aren't conglomerates and corporations, and who aren't driven by political agendas. Only that way will it ever be possible to rebuild Marvel/DC into something palatable again. And even then, I'd strongly advise, after all these years, to go for a finite plan wherein they could eventually end in a decent way that could honor the memory of the people who'd worked hard to develop the classic creations in the first place. Yes, seriously, however things are handled in such a scenario, a decent ending must be allowed for the MCU and DCU alike. It's not like they have to continue forever. Maybe that's what brought us to this sad situation in the present to begin with.

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My idea is to re-introduce real time back to Marvel continuity by using the Beyonder and Franklin Richards to reset continuity to 1989 or so (see https://zak-site.com/Great-American-Novel/ff_end.html) then, having the characters age in real time, so they will have to come up with new versions eventually. Fixing DC is simple, better stories with no political agendas and/or violence and rape.

It is happening to some extent. In the Fantastic Four, Franklin and Valeria are now teenagers, and Crystal's baby is growing up.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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