On the eve of Civil War II (written by Bendis) I thought I’d switch gears to talk about the overral shape of Marvel Cosmic.
Of course, what I have to say won’t be pretty.
When (ten years ago!) the first Civil War broke out, we had the double whammy of Annhilation, arguably one of the highest points of Marvel cosmic. Now, not so much. Frankly, the situation in the year 2016 is a dire morass of disjointed egos and broken storylines.
With the post 2010 promise that Marvel was going to unify and consolidate cosmic, Marvel has instead turned the cosmic into the most compartmentalized and segregated world in its history. In this fractured realm, the territorial pissings of rock star writers abound. For this once proud area of Marvel Comics, unifying continuity and consistant quality is a pipe dream long lost.
Nova has no effect of GOTG. Bendis only does things “his” way and his token crossovers all come off as pouty phoned in “compliance” and the character interactions come off forced and distant. Thus, Abnett’s Guardians and Bendis’ vapid Guardian’s material are totally non-compatible.
Unfortunatley, most of Jim Starlin’s stuff is totally shut off from everything as well, save for token cameos. Characters seem totally different from one book to the other. Thanos is the complex searcher in Starlin’s stuff, then pops up as a simple villian in tales like Secret Wars . I havn’t really loved Starlin’s new takes either, which kinda pains me to say.
Thus far, since both came back in 2012, Star Lord and Sam Alexander Nova have met once, in that horrid Black Vortex jazz. The Silver Surfer has been hanging out with his chick in the polka dot zone. (I don’t hate Slott’s stuff- but nevertheless it is isolated and self contained)
The solo books for Drax, Rocket and Groot, and Star Lord feel like they all exist in elseworld pocket dimensions. They have little effect on anything.
Carol Danvers book is just on its own, making up weird stuff like Alpha Flight as an unrelated space team that fly around in ships ripped off from Nova Corps MCU. I’m a huge fan of Carol and some parts of the hook I dig, however I don’t dig it at the expense of Alpha Flight, their fans and Nova Corps fans, with a dash of Abigail Brand SWORD fans who may feel disenfranchised by this direction.
I’m not sure what the hell they were doing with Bucky in space but thank god that’s done. Venom is still doing something out there that no one reads and it too, feels like some sort of alternate universe book. I’m not sure what the Angela book is even doing. Then we have Howard the Duck…totally on its own flapping at the back end of the top 100.
I’m not sure the Secret Wars did anything for Cosmic save destroy it. The GoK and the IG mini series was a huge dissapointment, save for Weaver’s artwork. Fantastic Four and the fairly vibrant Marvel multiverse were , unequivocally, themes that did not need to be shitcanned.
Worse, within the current batch of “cosmic” these writers all feel like they have agendas swirling and really seem to dislike acknowledging other’s work or to build something together.
Let me re-state that:
…within the current batch of “cosmic” these writers all feel like they have agendas swirling and really seem to dislike acknowledging other’s work or to build something together.
For a solid run, DnA and Giffen and all the other talent involved with that era had no such issues. Thats not to paint a rose colored viewpoint on the era, becuase eventually not seeing the importance of the cosmic in the main marvel universe is what sunk the DnA era. (namely guys like Bendis, Millar and Hickman being too absorbed to acknowledge the other cosmic themes with what they were doing) Starlin and Abnett seem to want to do this more, but stuff just doesnt get on point. As long as Bendis is on GOTG this will be an issue.
Richard Rider is mothballed and completely forgotten, even as motivation for other characters you would think he would be. At times Rider’s legacy seems like it is the target of some Orwellian rewriting of the past. (Bendis has never explained the Nova Corps emblem on the new MCU inspired GOTG patch/crest) Cosmic heavy weights like Quasar are nowhere to be seen. (thats really dumb too) The Fantastic Four are in the dumpster. Phyla-vell, Genis-vell, Darkhawk, Cammie, Moondragon, Fire-Lord and many good old cosmic characters are on ice for 5 years now. The Kree, Skrulls, Shi-har and Badoon just show up and serve as races of generic mustached villians with no unified purpose or consistant characterization.
Fans want these characters back.
That being said, Ewing’s Ultimate’s is a book I won’t speak ill of. That and GoI are a step in the right direction.
Outside of GoI, sales back my point. Most of this stuff is settling to the back of the top 100 or below. Even GOTG is at the back part of the top 50. (37) Outside the slumping GOTG and , of course Star Wars, most cosmic is not selling and the problem is thus very real.
How do we fix this? First, lets get architects who care about the continuity, history, beloved characters and loyal fans who love and want support these books. Understanding fans are not controlling the direction of stories, we are up for new things, but we need a viable bridge and to heal the old wounds and explain new directions…not this square peg in a round hole and disjointed slush pile of empty stories.
Start by bringing back Richard Rider. Bring Back Quasar (Wendell Vaughn). Bring back the Fantastic Four. Get a new voice on Guardians of The Galaxy and this dreadful new Nova book.
Let’s get a unified purpose.
Next, lets get central editorship of these properties and an editor who can tell rock stars when things don’t work and when things don’t jive. Someone who knows how to spell Rider or when its Galador, not Galadoria.
Core Cosmic fans, ie the loyal kind, are slipping away every single day. Marvel, let’s get control of this before they are all gone.