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Marvel's One World Order

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I'm sure Bendis' run on Daredevil is still canon.

I'm not really sure what else may or may not be, as Marvel has been really lax with continuity since Alonso took power and started relaunching titles every six months. Even reading most Marvel books for most of those years, I'm not totally sure what all is still considered canon. Secret Wars changed some continuity, but Marvel never totally made it clear exactly what Secret Wars revised. It was basically whatever the writers wanted to do with a character, it seemed.

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Avengers #1 by Jason Aaron-That felt suitably epic for an Avengers story. It had a return to classic Avengers period feel to the book. It's a better attempt at the Avengers than I've seen since the Hickman days on the title. Aaron brings a sense of fun with his writing to the Avengers, which is something I've missed seeing in Avengers books, where you get the feeling that the iconic trinity are friends and not just random superheroes doing a job.

Also, moving to a core roster of Avengers who have a reason for being on a team of the "world's great superheroes", rather than every damn character being shoehorned in to the Avengers, so there's no room for quiet moments and tight camaraderie, is nice. Hickman's iteration worked because the "end of everything" was upon the Marvel Multiverse.

I'll keep reading this book.

Although, the idea of Tony Stark and Steve Rogers having any sort of relationship has been terribly strained by events like Civil War and Secret Empire. I like the idea of a clean slate to move away from those types of horrible ideas and the "tarnished heroes, not really superheroes" characterization that Marvel has been so fond of with their old characters. It's time to just move on and try to forget the mischaracterization and look back to beloved comics.

The one drawback is, didn't we just see a story where the Celestials were all killed in the events leading up to Secret Wars? Celestials being killed off doesn't seem like such a big deal when it seems to happen quite often now.

Also, I wish that there was a more interesting version of Ghost Rider out there now. Maybe I'm just not familiar with this character, and Aaron will get some good usage out of him. Yet, I'd rather see Blaze or Ketch as Ghost Rider in the Avengers. That's a small complaint though.

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I highly enjoyed Avengers # 1, I think Aaron's "getting the band back together" motif is played out nicely, if a bit on-the-nose in the bar scene.  I actively like all of the characters he's bringing into the team, with the exception of Captain Marvel I suppose.  Here's hoping he can eliminate some of the stigma surrounding Carol after all the shit stories she's had in the last few years.  The character I'm most excited about is, of course, Ghost Rider, and I happen to really like Robbie Reyes.  He's no Blaze or Ketch, but I think maybe Aaron said all he had to say about those two in his Ghost Rider run years ago.  His take on Robbie seems to fall in line with what Felipe Smith was doing, but skewing him more toward the traditional Ghost Rider status quo, which I appreciate. 

And yeah, the Celestials were all killed off by Archangel's children back in Remender's Uncanny Avengers run.  I think Aaron even halfway nods his head toward that, when he has Thor wishing he had his ax, which of course is the weapon that was used to kill the Celestials in Remender's story.  I blame it on Secret Wars resetting everything.

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I agree that Carol Danvers is another Marvel character who has been ruined in recent years, but if Aaron treats her simply as a cosmic character who can get the Avengers involved in space-set stories, then I have no problem with her being used properly in this book. She's a heavy-hitter character, and works with a mostly all-star team, like Aaron seems interested in putting together.

If Tony Stark and Steve Rogers can be fixed, after they were even more horribly damaged than Captain Marvel, then I'm sure that Aaron can fix Carol.

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Just gone through a big collection of Ross and Kruegar's Earth X.

Rather a fun read, which is surprising as huge chunks of it seem to have folded into the mainstream Marvel U since, generally to less readable effect. It's pretty funny to see that all of this "Inhumans are way more awesome than crappy mutants, so there!" stuff started off in a futuristic dystopia story, and was treated as a bad thing until Marvel failed to get the film rights to the X Men back from Sony and spent the next decade throwing a tantrum over that...

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Wasn't the X Men a Fox "product"?
(That's what Deadpool told me)

From memory (and bear in mind I have generally had little interest in X-People) I'd say the starting point for the Inhumans renaissance was Paul Jenkins & Jae Lee,
was that before Earth X? Maybe Ross (and Busiek) planted the seed earlier in the Marvels?

Shame about the TV show.

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I was forgetting the Jenkins & Lee series and I'm not sure whether that or Earth X was first. It's a very good point about Marvels, as Ross had a hand in both, and the dystopian Ellis spin off does some of the same stuff as this one. There's quite a lot of other stuff that Marvel seem to have recycled in the mainstream titles since besides the stuff about mutants and inhumans, but I picked that out as the least spoilery example. There's even a female Thor in it.

The television  Inhumans was as bad as that still makes it look, then? That's a pity. Whatever the reasoning behind all of this "shitloads of inhumans all over the place" was, the original characters, and several of the series since prior to that starting, were great.

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There was an issue of What If? where Jane Foster became a female Thor too. The collector's market went crazy for that issue when Aaron debuted the new female Thor.

Jenkins' Inhumans did predate Earth X, as the Inhumans book was from 1998, while Earth X was from 1999.

While Jenkins' Inhumans book was amazing and did so much good for those characters, most of the work Jenkins put in to that book was totally ignored by Marvel.  I don't think Jenkins' book was very influential. Especially with how bad that "Inhumans are better than mutants" idea went off the rails. It doesn't seem like anyone read the Jenkins run to see how to make those characters interesting.

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Thanks for that. Jenkins was there first, then.

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Three new relaunches from Marvel were released this week.

Dr. Strange by Mark Waid

Immortal Hulk by Al Ewing

Ant Man and Wasp by Mark Waid

Surprisingly, Ant Man and the Wasp stood out as my favourite of the three. It's very reminiscent of a good DC comic, back in those days when "good" and "DC Comics" wasn't a misnomer. Put another way, this read like a good DC comic written by Mark Waid, or a Mark Waid at his prime. Just lots of big ideas and fun.

Immortal Hulk had its moments. It could end up going somewhere interesting, or maybe it'll just stay as a "worth a read, but nothing special" type of book. It's too soon to say. Ewing does draw back from those original Stan Lee issues, when the Hulk was definitely not a superhero. It was somewhat similar to the Jeph Loeb Hulk: Gray series.

Dr. Strange didn't do a lot for me. I guess Waid is stuck playing off of plots left over by earlier writers (the death of magic on Earth-616), but I'm not sure how interesting cosmic Dr. Strange is going to be, compared to Stan Lee/Steve Ditko or Englehart Dr. Strange. Waid wrote a Dr. Strange mini-series in the past, and it didn't impress me, so there's that worry that Waid isn't the right writer for a proper Dr. Strange comic. I'll give this a few more issues though, as it was well written.

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Iron Man #1 (by Dan Slott)-I still can't say that I'm enjoying an Iron Man comic. It's better than what Bendis was doing on the book anyway (but, that's not hard). I can't say this forebodes well for Slott relaunching the Fantastic Four, although I'm still holding out hope for more of his Silver Surfer and less of....well, most of the rest of Slott's work.

I mean, I haven't really enjoyed an Iron Man comic since Busiek wrote the book way back in the 1990s. Before Busiek, I probably hadn't truly enjoyed an Iron Man comic since the Denny O'Neil run....so, it's not as if Slott is alone in not being able to write a truly compelling Iron Man story.

I did like seeing the return of a classic Iron Man villain, but that's not enough to keep me reading. This will be the first book I've read of Marvel's "Brand New Start" which I won't continue reading.

Avengers and Ant Man continue to hold my interest, and Waid's Dr. Strange improved with issue #2.

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Sentry #1 (by Jeff Lemire) was surprisingly good. I didn't think anyone could do anything interesting with the Sentry character after the original Paul Jenkins' book, but Lemire had an idea, that made the character the most interesting he has been since Jenkins (although, even slightly interesting would fulfill that criteria....). Seriously though, the story reminded me quite a bit of Miracleman. Lemire was a good choice for writing this book, as he was able to channel some of what makes Black Hammer so compelling to find an angle to use the Sentry that actually works (unlike every other post-Jenkins Sentry story). I'll keep reading this, which isn't something I expected to say. Lemire is a great writer, no doubt, but he has been very hit or miss with company owned properties in the past, saving his creativity for his own projects.

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Amazing Spider Man #1-I'm sure some people will say that this is going too far back for the character, but I don't care. I liked it. After the corporate CEO Peter Parker, a "back to basics" in the most strict sense of that term doesn't seem so horrible. I have fond memories of this period of Spider Man's life....sure, it's not really set during that period of his life, but for all intents and purposes, yeah, this is really just going back in time.

I said it once before, but I felt that the Spider Man character hasn't worked since the "One More Day" fiasco. A forum member pointed out that the era of cyclical writing teams which followed had a lot of promise, and that's true, but regardless, it's been years since that point, and we've seen Dan Slott bungle the concept for years with bad idea after bad idea. There is a happy medium, in that Peter Parker growing up and getting a good paying job where he can use his brilliance as a scientist, and not be stuck in the "loveable loser", immature phase. However, I'm willing to give this a shot. Is it like watching a repeat? Sure, but repeats of stories which were fun to read.

Also, Immortal Hulk #2 (from last week, but I was on vacation, so didn't review any of the comics I bought) has really hooked me. It feels a lot like the earliest Stan Lee Hulk comics, but in a fresh, up-dated fashion, where the series is much more rooted in outright horror. The fact that Ewing seems to be interested in doing done-in-one, strange stories is a strong positive. The Hulk hasn't been this interesting in a very long time....Maybe even during the Peter David run, but I might be forgetting a Hulk era. Anyway, it's been a long time.

It really does feel like this "Brand New Start", for still having some faults (another relaunch, more big event cross-overs, some books falling by the way-side, for instance), is fixing most of the problems that have plagued Marvel since the Civil War period. Marvel is focusing on a core cast of characters (mainly from the original cast of Marvel books circa the early-1960s), plus a few other favourite characters (like Black Panther), with top name writers working on most of the books, telling stories about superheroes.

So, really, only the Fantastic Four relaunch is left. So far, only Iron Man hasn't caught my attention.

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I think Slott really wanted his name to be forever associated with Spider-Man in the way as Claremont/X-Men, Byrne/FF, and David/Hulk; this decade long run that defines the character from now on.  Unfortunately, I think he really just overstayed his welcome when readers were wanting a new voice on the series.  I was the one defending the "Brand New Day" rotating writer era, which sound like what Spencer's run is aiming for in way of tone (based on your description anyway, Christian, I haven't read the first issue yet).  Heavily influenced by nostalgia, to put it in nice terms?  Hey, sometimes back to basics is just what a franchise needs to freshen itself up after a period of darkness (see Busiek and Perez rescuing the Avengers).

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Yeah, Busiek's Avengers was certainly in that mindset, and definitely one of the best runs ever on that title. It's easier to do with the Avengers though, because they're about being the "world's greatest superheroes", and back-to-basics for them is the strong core team made up of the iconic trio, plus larger than life threats to the very planet, if not the universe.

Spider Man is a bit different though, considering that it seems like Peter Parker's life is always moving forward, but when it seems he's growing in to too much of an adult person with real-world responsibilities, the creators decide to step back and move him to a more comfortable place from his time-line. "Oh, Peter is a college graduate now, in his early-30s with a wife and job? Well, what if he decides to go back to college and ends up with lots of money trouble instead?". You know, it's a step backward. How many times can this genius guy end up as a "loveable loser"?

Taking away everything that makes the character distinct (ala the end of Slott's run) though, makes taking steps backward not as hard to take.

Bringing back more of Spider Man's old rogues gallery, I'm all for that. Marvel seemed to forget that classic supervillaisn are a core part of the Marvel Universe too. Fans come to care about those characters almost as much as the heroes. I can understand running old villains in to the ground (how many times can Spider Man fight Dr. Octopus?). I can understand getting tired of the same story being told over and over. However, Marvel has had a terrible time creating compelling and popular new villains for their superheroes. Most of the villains that fans want to see were created by Stan Lee, or at least before the 1980s. There haven't been that many villains created since the 1970s that anyone has cared about (X-Men under Claremont is probably the exception, but after the Claremont-era, what interesting X-villains have come along? Maybe none). So, without those supervillains, the books have turned in to "Let's make Steve Rogers a fascist!" or "Tony Stark should be George W. Bush!". It's just terrible ideas for any characters who aren't going to be allowed to really change. "Well, sure, Iron Man was a neocon authoritarian just a few months ago.....but, he got over that, and now he's a superhero again. So, read his book and cheer for him!". It's tarnished the characters. That's why "Brand New Start" has been so successful in my opinion, as there is a real feel of nostalgia to most of these books, so far.

Like I said, I realize that some fans will complain about comics going backwards again (and it depends on the title for how much nostalgia there is versus an updated version of a classic concept), but after things like Secret Empire, can these fans really say that Marvel had any idea what it was doing anyway? Maybe playing safer, and playing in the sandbox that made most of us fall in love with these comics (1960s-1980s comic books), isn't so bad for a while, in order to rebuild, before Marvel attempts to their next shattering Civil War event.

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I just read that Dazzler comic.

It's a decent take on the "Your minority is oppressing ours" thing that seems to be on the rise.  Mutants not wanting inhumans "invading" (ie sharing)tgeir spaces. 

A nice YA book.

I am going to use it for an art project.

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More public burnings?

:wink2:

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If issue 1 is anything to go by, Ta-nehisi Coates' take on Captain America is gonna be blunt allegory. It's good enough to get me back for issue 2.

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Really? I wasn't that impressed by his Captain America. It seemed somehow....off.

The politics were a bit confusing, as well. I mean, Spencer's Secret Empire was meant as a heavy-handed dissection of the Trump administration. We got that critique, even at the expense of other parts of the Marvel Universe. Now, Coates seemed to be hinting that Trump got elected coming off the events of Hydra taking over America, due to the public's distrust of how the government was headed. Except, that's not what happened in Secret Empire, where it seemed to be that Spencer was saying that a large swathe of the public were supportive of Hydra Cap taking over America and his policies.

It seems like Coates is saying that the current government doesn't like Steve Rogers and is playing off of the public's mistrust of the fact that Captain America led Hydra to take over America. Except, what does Steve Rogers even stand for anymore, exactly? After the Spencer years writing Sam Wilson and then Hydra Cap.

Then, we see the Nuke army, who are supposedly a para-military force which was fighting against Hydra's taking over of America. And, this Nuke army supports the current government apparently, and hates Captain America. What exactly does the Nuke army represent?

I understand this is all fiction, and the Marvel Universe isn't an exact mirror of our world. It's understandable to do a story like this in Captain America after the events of Secret Empire. It would make sense that large swathes of the population would be understandably ambivalent about accepting Steve Rogers again, with his "Surprise! I'm not a fascist! It was all a huge misunderstanding involving something called a Cosmic Cube!".

Plus, sometimes continuity can work, instead of always ignoring it. Captain America is a member of the Avengers again. So, what does this make the public think? Hydra Cap wanted to kill all these superheroes, and now they've accepted him as a buddy again. Either, the public must think that all superheroes are untrustworthy again....a direction we don't need to go down ever again. The whole "superheroes are not superheroes" thing was supposed to be moved away from with the current relaunch. Or, b.), the public must realize that something happened involving a fake Cap, and that if the Avengers have come to trust Steve Rogers again, then something must be going on behind-the-scenes. Perhaps it would make more sense if some people felt that Hydra Cap must be the real Cap, and that this version of Steve Rogers is the imposter who took away their real Cap. That would make more sense. It would work better for an allegory also.

So, where is the critique of Trump in all of this? Doesn't it feel like Coates is trying to shoehorn in a political commentary on current America in a story where it doesn't really fit?

Isn't it confusing to see Secret Empire be Marvel's condemnation of Trump, and then turn around and end up with the follow-up being a condemnation of Trump also?

I really wasn't interested enough in anything happening in the first issue to bother getting the next issue. It's one of the few failures to hook me with Marvel's new relaunch (alongside bland Iron Man).

I'm honestly not sure about Coates as a comic book writer. His Black Panther run started off well, with some nice political commentary and an authentic look at Wakanda similar to Don McGregor's, but then it sort of just meandered along, losing all point. The recent relaunch of Coates' Black Panther, playing off of Hickman's Galactic Wakandan Empire, seemed to be interesting again.

I just worry that Coates really isn't suited to writing mainstream comic books, and that when the book he's writing moves more firmly in to superhero territory, that Coates is completely lost. This is a similar concern of very many prose writers who decide to write comic books. They often seem to not have a basic understanding of how to transition to writing a script.

Coates seemed to have zero ability with plotting a comic book when he first started writing Black Panther, it was a total mess. However, I felt maybe that an editor actually helped him, as his Black Panther began to greatly improve, and Coates was saying some interesting things about Wakandan society. Then, it seemed like he lost his way, as he tried to write something that connected to the wider Marvel Universe.

Well, I forgot about his run on the Crew. That book seemed to have a lot of promise also. The politics fit better with the plot Coates was writing. With this first issue of Captain America, I'm not exactly sure what he is writing.

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Fantastic Four #1-That was a bad comic book. Marvel has spent about a year building up the return of the Fantastic Four in the pages of Marvel Two in One, and now we get the return of the Fantastic Four comic, and this giant-sized first issue is more preview for the eventual return of the Fantastic Four.

I will pick up issue #2, just to see if this book is going anywhere, but I'm not putting a lot of hope in to this series either.

Marvel got quite a bit of good-will from me with the "Brand New Start" initial launch, but it's been quickly losing steam. I've begun to lose interest in most comic books. It's just not the same anymore. I'm thinking maybe I need to cut out most of the comics I am reading. Keep a few quality creator-owned books, looking forward to Morrison on Green Lantern. The Marvel Universe and DC Universe just seem like sad, pale shadows of what they once were, and maybe I'm getting old, and nothing can ever compare to the old comics I love so much.

This was just a really bad week of comic books. It makes me question things. I want to like Marvel Comics, and keep trying....I can't enjoy DC Comics anymore....but, something is just off.

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What, you didn't love paying $6 for a comic hyped up as the return of the Fantastic Four but really it's a comic with half the Fantastic Four diddling around promising the full reunion for more of your money next month?

(dunno why the F4 couldn't have been reunited in their big return issue hell just cut out that Dr. Doom story and there'd probably be adequate space to at least get all four of them on the same panel once... or maybe Slott would've just added even more pages of "Waiting for F4dot" if the Doom story wasn't there)

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It does make you wonder what Marvel is thinking. This isn't the way to win back readers after Marvel has bled readers during all their relaunches. Charging extra money for a comic where the premise doesn't even occur, after Marvel has been building this up for a whole year already. Marvel is also doing the exact same thing with Wolverine (who most fans don't even care about seeing again, due to all the replacement Wolverines that Marvel has flooded the market with since Logan's death). Wolverine was seen as being alive a year ago in Marvel Legacy, then Marvel released the Return of Wolverine special, which did not actually feature the "return of Wolverine", now Marvel is going to spend fifteen issues simply building up the big return moment. These are just plain bad business decisions.

Slott is a pretty bad writer. Between this throwback to the heavily decompressed comics of the early-2000s, his almost running the Amazing Spider Man comic in to the ground with his never-ending run, and failing to find anything interesting to say about Iron Man for that relaunch too, I'd have to say that Slott has found himself on my "comic writers to avoid" list.

Sure, he probably should have made it sooner, but his Silver Surfer book (with Mike Allred) was one of the highlights of Marvel from that period. He had some good stuff earlier in his career too, as I remember liking his run on She Hulk for one. I still find it hard to believe that Slott could be so creative and fun on Surfer, while writing such mediocre comics as the prior three I mentioned.

Really, though, it seems like Slott has stepped up to fill the role of Bendis at Marvel.

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If you spread any writer thin enough, they'll wind up writing crap, sadly. Even worse, once they've diluted their talent to death, they often won't bother trying to correct the problem if people are still lapping up the nonsense they're churning out to meet a half dozen odd deadlines a month as they did the stuff that an effort had been made with. Under those circumstances, it's understandable that  a writer might decide to go for the better paying option if they have to choose between writing a couple of good comics or churning out as much shite as they can to meet manufactured demand.

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True, but it would seem like Marvel would at least want a reason for the Fantastic Four comic to exist, at least for the bare minimum after its launch, rather than just waiting all this time just to put out a FF comic in order to have a FF comic on the shelves.

I'd think they would want to take in a number of interviews from different creators to try to pick one that had a strong idea for a direction for the new comic, rather than saying, "Dan Slott has been loyal to Marvel for years now, let's give him this book."

I said before that all this fan outcry for Marvel to bring back the FF comic will probably quickly turn in to, "Why can't Marvel put out a FF comic that isn't shit?".

Marvel will probably see strong sales on the first issue of FF, of course, but the sales will probably quickly drop off.

It's not that FF was driving Marvel's sales anytime in the past which I can remember to make Marvel think that simply because there is a FF comic on the stands that it will mean that fans are going to buy it in huge numbers. FF has been a mediocre sell for Marvel for decades now.*

I'm sure Marvel will return to their idea to flood the market with comics so they can make a profit, just like they have been doing in the past. It won't matter how well FF is able to sell, because it will just add more sales figures to Marvel's total company output. Hey, Marvel can't put out comics that fans want to read, they can put out one hundred different titles a month, and it'll even out so that Marvel is the top-selling comic book company, even though their individual issues are barely able to make the top ten comic sales charts each month.

*I'm unsure if even the excellent Waid or Hickman runs on the book even sold all that well, in the grand scheme.

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If they look for talent who can do something interesting with the comic, then they're removing any incentive writers who've shown them loyalty (like Slott) might have to continue showing them loyalty: if the desirable jobs are given to creators who are talented rather than loyal, those creators will feel that their loyalty was wasted on Marvel and they'll piss off to write something shit at DC instead. When the only asset besides farming out its intellectual property Marvel has is loyal big name creators, they're not going to offer anything to anybody else until all of their big names have already turned it down, are they?

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