Friday, January 23, 2015

Secret Wars? More like SECRET BORES

Here we friggin' go goddamn again.

If you follow this crap at all, you're likely already aware that Marvel comics is planning to reboot its universe in the upcoming crossover event, Secret Wars. No no, not the good one they did in the Spider-Man cartoon, this is a new one that makes a lot less sense. In this, all the disparate universes of the Marvel uh, universe are being smashed together, so then there's only one. You know, nothing at all like that one famous DC story where the exact same thing happens.

You all know how I feel about reboots. Especially ones of this sheer scale. After regarding this announcement with indignation, I began to wonder: Why? Was continuity really a big problem for Marvel? It seemed in lieu of reboots, they just launched different initiatives, like Marvel NOW! or All-New Marvel NOW! Is this really a problem that couldn't be fixed by restarting all the issues' numbers and labeling it All-New Absolutely Original We Mean It This Time Marvel RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW! Well, speculation on why Marvel is undergoing a Crisis of Infinite Bullshit is already underway.

The Ultimate Universe, the rebelling younger sibling of Marvel, has been on, shall we say, a downward trend lately. And by that I mean it went from quite a few titles, like X-Man, Iron Man, Ultimates, and Spider-Man, to pretty much just Spider-Man. This is more than likely because nobody bought anything that wasn't Ultimate Spider-Man, so titles routinely got axed. Now they've come up with a way to just do away with the separate publishing line and jam Miles Morales in with everyone else people know from movies. I would say this misses the point of the Ultimate Universe, a way to just retell stories with a new lens and different inspiration, but that went out the window the moment Spider-Men became a thing.

Other sources of speculation say this is just to turn the comic universe into the movie universe, so everyone can taste that sweet, sweet blockbuster money. Publisher Dan Buckley has said this would be virtually impossible, and I guess he's right. There is, however, one thing people have mentioned that certainly seems more likely, if not more reasonable. That is: to get rid of the X-Men from Marvel Comics.

If you don't obsessively follow this stuff, you might not be aware that as far as film licenses are concerned, Marvel doesn't own the X-Men. Fox has the rights and seems very recalcitrant in bids to relinquish them. One would think that comics and movies could exist independently, without a comic publisher making any rash moves because the studio branch can't access certain characters. But no, Marvel is pretty mad. So mad, in fact, that writers are banned from making new X-Men characters as Chris Claremont revealed last year.

Rumors have surfaced of a kind of X-Men embargo within the publisher, which seems supported by the recent Death of Wolverine and Inhuman stories. Death of Wolverine makes sense, kill the cash cow character so Fox can't turn that into movie-bucks. The whole Inhuman thing is a bit more complex. In-story, the terragen mists responsible for giving the original Inhumans their powers were released on earth, giving random people various superpowers. These (un)fortunate individuals were quickly seen as a menace, distrusted by their families and communities, and have to hide their powers to keep their normal lives. Sound familiar? They can have their persecuted superhero cake and eat it too. Once they've banished X-Men from current canon, Inhumans can fill in the slack.

Of course, the most reasonable explanation for this is that it will garner the most treasured asset a publisher could hope for, the fabled New Readers. Any reboot is really aiming for that, when you get down to it. The problem is, I think Marvel is trying to lure in old readers too with some continuity porn in the process. It's a chicken-or-egg question at this point, but it looks like this is going to be a whole lot like Spider-Verse, but with everyone. Cap-Verse, Thor-Verse. Universe-Verse.

So yeah. Marvel wants to revitalize its line by copying something DC did back in 1985. It really doesn't matter much if it's good or not, a shitload of people are buying it no matter what. At the very least it'll be interesting to see what really motivated this. Man, I sure can't wait to read all the new #1 issues of comics I don't care about anymore!