Marvel Unveils Legacy at C2E2…yawn.

Legacy

Warning: for all the “small but vocals” out there who are fans of my profanity-laced, scathing indictments of Marvel, this is your huckleberry…for those who are not- best turn your eyes for this one.

So this past weekend at C2 E2 in Chicago, Marvel unveiled this drastic new direction post-Secret Invasion called “Legacy”. Sounds great right? We’ll its not. My thoughts on what I’ve seen are pretty concrete; I’m not at all a fan, and I see little reason for optimism, both as a Rider fan and an old school Marvel fan.

I can only assume from the language this kinda thing is aimed at readers like me, those driven off by Marvel and the lost readers who’ve bailed over the last few years. From the promo stuff I saw at C2E2, I can say that it is most certainly not enough to rope me back in, and instead clearly, yet another clown-act in the mismanagement of this company’s paper comic division.

How is it this whole “Legacy” of mismanagement and incompetence paired up with superficial meaninglessness?

First, it totally deflates Secret Empire. Here we see, Cap is back to normal status quo, many characters are alive and well, and that life will go on for the whole Marvel U after this so-called “must read” event just fine. It kills the whole importance of Spencer’s project. Seeing as how Spencer has been the most irreverent and destructive Marvel writer since Jeph Loeb, this doesn’t necessarily anger me, it is, however a shoddy and bumbling business model.

In short; Secret Empire’s already been written off.

Let’s start with the name “Legacy”, hey cool word and all, it has the double meaning of representing the fact they are going to still, mind numbingly going to be sticking with the slew of bad legacy characters they’ve spammed us with like Falcap, Jane Foster, Miles, Gwenpool, Riri while also using the word to indicate some phony honor for the past….let me say, from what I see, it’s a crock of shit folks.

While I fully adhere to the rule that something shouldn’t be knocked till we see what it is, for me, at least, I’ve seen enough to write this off for the garbage it is. The result is clearly the good ole’ flipped bird by Marvel, as they say “Fuck you fans, we’re gonna keep on keepin’ on with the same shit that doesn’t work.”

This seems like a complete trick; Cap’s got his Gruenwald-era uniform back! Wow! We’ll bring back FOOM (really as if half a dozen readers out there were alive when FOOM was around) and tweak the numbering again to “original” numbers. BTW Marvel already has FOOM….it’s called REDDIT, where any negative voice gets down voted en masse by the zombies.

Yet, with everything they displayed, these look like the same characters folks who’ve ditched Marvel have rejected. They are going to be written by the same writers we’ve rejected. Lord knows, it will be the same high prices we’ve rejected as well. At its root, this “Legacy” garbage seems like nothing more than a gimmick- no different than holograms, variant covers, renumbering, or rebooting.

The new era promises no events for over a year. Again, this is such a foolhardy analysis of what is wrong with their company; most folks never had a problem with events or even the notion frequent events. Look how many events were spammed in the 2006-2008 period. Civil War. Annihilation. Pak’s Planet Hulk. Ultimates 2. Silent War. Then right on the heels of these events we had more and more stuff like Conquest, and if you were a DC guy, you had to keep pace with the onerous “52”. We didn’t mind all the events because the books were well written!

I’m also going to be honest, this has nothing to do with diversity or even the occasional replacement character. That stuff’s worked in the past. Marvel was always diverse and did a good job with diversity, and yep, every now and then you need a fun era like Genis-Vell, John Walker Saga, or Wally West. That’s not exactly what tainted with this company….it’s that they went crazy and wild with it. In short; they lost their fucking minds! Worse we got lectured on politics and bullshit at every junction. Alonso began running Marvel like he was Zack De La Rocha preening in front of a group of stoned kids at lollapalooza ; suddenly, the company felt the need to give into zealots and turn their company in to an ultra left-wing-pro BLM entity.

Marvel keeps beating down heroes. This is all just the same cycle of tired Alan-Moore-esque degenerative hero-shit that’s been tired for fifteen years. Heroes being petty, heroes being closet assholes, heroes fighting each other. Government = evil. Tired. Tired. Tired.

Now for some Nova-specific gripes:

Well it appears we’ve once again entered dark territory for our hero. (and for Sam as well)

Nova gets inexplicably removed from Generations, so naturally there is the whisperings of a conspiracy against us. A promo was displayed featuring neither Richard Rider nor Sam Alexander. No Nova folks.

The art promises to “Make Mine Marvel” ha! Fuck no! Guess not for Nova fans.

Sorry folks, this is the same old cycle of junk post-Quesada poor decisions repackaged and rehashed. I am now more certain than ever; Marvel Paper comics need a complete overhaul that includes the uppermost rungs. They need sweeping reform of creative talent and new outlooks on how they develop talent and keep it.

Quick notes on C2E2:

Cave-Man Avengers? Who wants that?

You give Chip Zdarsky a “Spider Man” book after he can’t sell a book supported by a multi-million dollar movie character in the summer of its release? Seems legit.

“I am Groot” series with Baby Groot. I have zero interest in Baby Groot myself…rock on though. “Rocket Raccoon” series with some new Otter chick sidekick. Dumb….

Duggan’s GOTG book said to be based off the movie, with ample parts of the DnA/ Giffin legacy that fans want…hmmm, yet again, bullshit detector fires on all cylinders; how are we supposed to take that seriously when the guy trashed DnA fans for 30 issues of his Nova volume? BTW I read somewhere he also claims to have 2-3 years scripted…..so much for weathering any storms….oh but hey, Darkhawk’s back…yay. Call me jaded.

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Nova Cancelled

I just wanted to jot down a few thoughts on the news that Nova is cancelled.

As I said before when reflecting on the sales data, I’m disappointed. Bummed. Pissed. I’m glad we have a community of fans who can chat with each other and gripe together…now it seems its back to the old game, albeit with a couple more months of stories.

I don’t think there’s a lot of benefit in railing excuses, I will, however, reiterate that most comic books series don’t work without hyping them up, promoting them heavy, and making them important and relevant within the Marvel Universe. That being said, Marvel is evidently letting several other books sell at a lower point than Nova, not sure the logic there either.

I forgot where I said it, but at one point in the months prior to release of this series I mentioned my concerns with the hype and creative team and apparent priority of the book @ Marvel and said, hopefully, at a minimum, we get a good “bridge book” that works to mend wounds, fix broken crap, and link the two differing factions with more tact. I think we go that and more.

This book was solid…Loveness and Perez put a bunch of their heart into it…listened to both sets of fans and crafted a very nice comic series. This book did a lot to mend the wounds of old with Rich Rider fans, if there are many even left out there. These guys should be proud of this work, writing, the art and all the hard hours with a solid little run. So I say thank you guys…and I really hope you all keep doing great things…. I think this series will be remembered very well.

Frankly, I don’t know what to say about comic sales right now. I look at the top 300 and just shake my head at the solid properties that struggle to sell these days, the market trends, and the rankings. I have no other explanation than that Marvel is a wreck, but the comics market is very unusual- macro problems I’ve talked about in the past in detail.

This is sad to say, but the comic book medium, is, unfortunately, of waning in interest for me. I read more prose now, and find the ($) cost of collection, the space needed, and the difficulty of schlepping it to one specific LCS, very far from my house a ponderous undertaking. Long gone are the days of me as puke 13 year old walking the mile to my LCS and coming back with a stack of New Warriors, West Coast Avengers, Namor, and Captain America (And a half dozen other books). Comics were so fun back then. These days, Nova and Thanos were the only Marvel books I was buying.

Not to re-hash, but one of the biggest things that has killed me with Marvel is continuity and editing. If something doesn’t jive with itself, its own history, or what others are doing around the writer in a shared universe and serial fiction, then it not only devalues the importance, it makes the material still seem juvenile, sloppy, and immature. Worse, it makes the material seem vapid and passable. This wasn’t a big problem for Loveness/Perez book, but I’ve found it creeping up more and more and permeates the material of many of the writers like Spencer, Duggan or Bendis. (Coincidentally, the guys who they seem apt to give the keys to the company these days)

I’m going to do some soul searching again…not sure if I’m up for beating the drum for a medium and art that seems so superfluous and marginal. Truthfully, the politics and messages in the books these days are something I find difficult to identify with, outside what Loveness/Perez were doing there’s not much out there, and I get aggravated more than entertained and invigorated.

This year I turn 40…at last that “40 year old Nova fan” that Stephen Whacker used to berate…maybe its time to finally follow that guys advice and move on.

LLRR.

New Warriors on TV: My thoughts

 

I think it stinks mostly.

The comedy directions in the New Warriors have been largely horrid. Vol. 3 was a crime; Skottie Young purists (who are out there) dig it for his art, but the book was a mockery that self-destructed the whole concept. As a huge New Warriors fan, I rue the name Zeb Wells and that blasted mini-series.

On the inclusion of Squirrel Girl; I’m not at all a SG fan. Whatever she is, she isn’t a New Warrior. Jeph Loeb has consistently demonstrated he is interested in deflating , toning down, or making fun of comic books in the traditional sense, and I have little faith in his oversight. Rest assured, this will be something that mocks the property, not uplifts it.

Let’s be honest, in my opinion New Warriors have only truly worked during two (classic) moments; most of Vol. 1 worked when the book was a serious teen drama in the vein of Teen Titans. They had a steady progression under mostly one writer, and a long run with only a few artists. As such, readers saw a specific core team grow, a nurtured concept, and the evolution of the players into something else. (growth)

Let’s forget Vol. 2 in its entirety. (Though I confess, I thought Aegis had some potential)  I’ve already discussed how bad Vol. 3 was, and how detractive it was for the property.

The second moment NW truly clicked was during the Dan Slott  (and Christos Gage) post-civil war years when he was basically writing them as “Counter Force” within the Avengers Initiative book. I know this is tough to grasp, but that was the classic team reassembled, serious, with good characters and a writer who cared about them, more or less picking up where they left off and having limitless potential.

DnA seemed to flirt with the notion of an old core take on them, but it never took off from a fleeting reunion in a few issues. (Edit: I also want to mention the brief Robert Kirkman League of Losers arc in Marvel-Team Up, which was an extremely solid tale of former New Warriors and related characters)

I’ll add for the record I personally enjoyed volume 4 as a comic on its own and though many disagree with me, I thought Kevin Grevioux had a solid plan for a nice teen book, albeit the execution was a bit decompressed. It was just more or less a Night Thrasher 2 story, not a New Warriors book. His best stuff came later, when Counter Force crossed over and Griev’s stepped up his pacing trying to wrap up the last time-travel arc with Iron-Man. By all reports KG wanted to use the real team but was denied. At least he had them fighting big threats and made them a team who wanted to be taken seriously.

The last volume (5) was competently written, yet middling and unimportant. That being said, it could have worked if it wasn’t so strongly (yet unimportant within that event) tied to an event everyone had cast aside. Further, this volume seemed to blow off older readers and de-age all the development that Justice and Robbie Baldwin had gone through (including physical development, they looked 17 again). Couple that with no Night Thrasher, the controversial use of Sam Alexander Nova, the ignoring of DnA’s revival of Namorita, not enough Rage, Darkhawk or others and many of the core fans skipped it. Even still, it had a few decent moments.

Let me add that, as any reader of my blog knows, I’m also a huge Night Thrasher fan. To me he defines the NW, and any attempt at the property without a good grasp of him is hollow, empty and doomed to failure. The character was very popular for a stretch, having a couple spin-off mini-series and an ongoing in the 90s. He had a rich supporting cast and was fleshed out by FabNic with a host of neat directions (Welllspring, Folding Circle, Bengal, Midnight’s Fire, Silhouette) Let’s not forget the character had a TV show in preplanning for UPN which got lost in the shuffle. It’s very likely that fact convolutes the rights and eliminates him from usage, that and the grim and gritty crew like Loeb and Joe Q hated the character and made fun of him.

Most importantly, as always, let’s talk Nova; its highly doubtful Jeph Loeb would green-light the use of Richard Rider over his creation, Sam Alexander, and lord knows we don’t want Rider anywhere near this. Therefore, I think it’s logical to assume its Sam or nothing for this series….which I think is also unlikely seeing how the MCU and TV folks are so split these days. I’m just doubting using the Nova corps is something they would allow, but maybe not. Also, using Sam would implicate some higher budget demands, which I’m doubting they want to do.

Namorita may be tied up in the Namor rights.

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(help me, I’m in creative limbo!)

Justice is not as clear, but if Gunn is interested in cornering off guys like Yondu and Stakar for GOTG, I’m doubting he would give Vance Astro up so easy and want viewers so confused with potential alternate versions. That being said, I would guess the series will feature some form of straight-laced “Cap wannabee” for the antics of SG to play off. Loeb is that predictable.

I’d have to think Speedball will likely be on the show, though once more it was a character the Joe Q and Marvel Knights crew hated.

Whatever this turns out to be, my stance is that it can do whatever it wants; I’ve zero confidence it will catch on and be a hit, especially as AoS winds down and ratings drop, Netflix stuff is floundering (until Punisher that is, which looks good). Runaways and Cloak and Dagger are coming out, which will water down interest. It’s on a 3rd rate cable channel, Freeform? I mean Teen Titans fans don’t fret Go! As some sort of killer to their characters and concepts back in the books, maybe we shouldn’t fear this.

I don’t have a lot of other suggestions on the roster, no telling who Loeb will pull out of his butt….expect to be underwhelmed. Aegis, White Tiger, Ultra-Girl, Rage, Turbo, Darkhawk. Prodigy and any of those lesser warriors like Debrii or Microbe could be possible, though obviously disappointing to see them hijacked. I’d say Slapstick has a shot due to his recent series, though I can’t imagine SG, Robbie and Slappy on the same squad….that’s comedy overload. Loeb tends to pluck his own creations or want to set-up his own properties stemming from the films, so expect a few new characters. Tarene is one that’s possible, as he likes using Asgardians. I’d add Phobos to the mix. Whoever it is, expect blue jeans and converses with glowing eyes, not spandex, gravimetric blasts and space-age adventures. Toned down and on a budget.

I personally feel like the Warriors are at that point where they need to get back to their roots. The old core team. Serious book, big threats. Fun. I’ve said this for years now, and the tune is the same. If Marvel ever wants New Warriors to work, they need to elevate them back into something cool, something even badass, and do it on a big stage, the same stage they deconstructed them on for no real reason. Frankly, what we don’t need is to make fun of them and the fans of the older material yet again, ad nauseaum….and god knows, we don’t need Jeph Loeb anywhere near this process.

Heroes for the 90’s baby.

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