Right, so, Marvel? Weird, weird company.
2007 began badly. First we had the shit-tastic ending to Civil War
which went out with a whimper, not a bang. (Cap finally deciding to give up? Really?
) This was immediately followed by a flood of new books, Initiative and Avenger-related, the vast majority of which I ignored.
Then, we got the final issue of Nextwave
, and seeing that title end made me so very, very sad. It was a postmodern four-color love letter to the crazy, stupid, irrational joy of superheroes
(Side Note: Nextwave
was also notable because Warren Ellis seemed like he finally learned that it was OK to mock superhero comics and have fun at the same time, instead of trashing them in a bitter, vengeful kind of way.)
Following that, Cap died. This, as you might have heard, was regarded as something of a big deal, and rightfully so. While I can't deny that it was well-written and set off an interesting chain of events, I feel like Bucky, Falcon, and co. have been treading water ever since, and I'm running out of "faith in Brubaker" cards
to play. We'll see how CapBucky works out this year.
Things started turning around with the smashy yumminess of World War Hulk
, a beautifully drawn slugfest that stood up just fine without reading any of the tie-in/spinoff/whatevers.Annihilation:Conquest
also began, and while it's too soon to tell whether it's going to pay off or not, it's been okay thus far despite lackluster miniseries prologues.
The ending to What If Annihilation Had Reached Earth?
Was. Awesome. And a much better way to end Civil War
... and Annihilation
, for that matter. Been said before, but it bears repeating.)
More importantly (to me), Iron Man started his long road to creative rehabilitation.
Between the outstanding Iron Man: Hypervelocity
miniseries from Adam Warren, the joyous Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin
miniseries from Joe Casey and 2GBC fave Eric Canete, Christos Gage's Iron Man Annual
, and the wow-there's-actually-a-Brubakeresque-long-range-plan-here
surprising goodness of the Knaufs' work on the regular Iron Man
series, Tony Stark is becoming somebody you'd actually want to read about again. Who'da thunkit?
Of course, after having been characterized as "fascist assclown
" for the majority of 2006, anything was bound to have been better.)
And hey, howzabout the return of Thor
this year? Strazcynski's been much
better than I expected despite one or two bad storytelling choices (Thor v. Darfur, anyone? No? Good.) , and added three or four legitimately interesting twists
on bringing back Asgard and Company. Can't say I have much love for Coipel's art, but I certainly can't say it's bad, and that's good.
As for other Marvel books --- well, Moon Knight
died on the vine
erupted in flaming vomit.
And then there's Spidey. I don't regularly read Spider-Man
, and an editorially-mandated deus ex Mephisto divorce story
sure as shit wasn't going to make me start. Since I didn't actually read it, I can't comment on the quality of the storytelling (though it certainly smells pungent
from where I'm sitting), but I will say this: I don't know anyone that was reading Spider-Man
for the marital drama. I don't know anyone that will read Spider-Man
for the insight into the singles scene.
I guess what I'm trying to say is there's bad
, and then there's unnecessarily bad
. "Fixing" something that wasn't "broken" in the first place except in the mind of a relentlessly-poor-judge-of-story Editor-in-Chief is forgivable if it's done as an honest piece of work; doing it because you shot your wad for cheap press and shock value in Civil War #2
and have to backtrack is insulting.X-Factor
has been hijacked with the God-damned Messiah Complex
crossover for... well, I think it's been 4 months, but it seems like forever. Please, I beg you, stop the madness.
Oh, and the confusingly-titled Marvel DCU
launched this year; anyone out there using the digital model now instead of the paper kind? Let us know how that's working out for you.
when I first saw Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited abbreviated as "Marvel DCU", I immediately went into 3rd degree respiratory failure as every shitty Amalgam
comic came rushing back into my brain. And yes, I read far
too many of those.)
So yeah; lots of ups and downs for Marvel this year. Like I said, weird company. I guess my hopes for 2008 on the Marvel side boil down to 2 things:
1) Stay true to your characters.
Someone wants a fresh take or re-imagining? Fine. Slap an Ultimate
label on it. Don't mess with the 616 unless a
great story demands it.
2) Let's get the band back together.
At this point, the only Big Event series I want to see is Captain America + Every Marvel Hero Ever banding together to fight off the super-army of Dr. Doom + Every Marvel Villain Ever. Give me 5 issues of that, good vs. evil, good guys v. bad guys, throwing down in a super-sized bar fight
, and I will be one happy reader. Christ, at this point, I'll take Secret Wars III
Is that asking too much?