There are several levels to a comic. There is the current issue story, there is that particular storyline, there is the current story within the series, there is the evolution of the characters, and there is the evolution of the Marvel universe through all the subplots running together to great a greater history of the Marvel universe. It is a beautiful thing when it all runs together. However, it seems that recently writers have been selfish in only wanting to tell "their story", so they dismiss everything else that is happening in the Marvel Universe or inexplicably use characters that are really somewhere else or would never team up. For years, the fabric of the Marvel Universe has been an incredible weaving of storylines and characters, into something beautiful that mostly makes sense at the end of the day. Now, it seems like Marvel is telling us to open our wallets wider, turn our brain off (World War Hulk), and just look at the pretty art, while ignoring concurrent stories and giving us unrealistic interpretations of the characters.
I think one of the main problems is that recent cross overs have been heavily hyped, there is a lot of excitement for them, then they hit with a pretty good bang, then there is a huge lull in the middle of the series where very little seems to be happening, so then the cross over ends with a fizzle we are already sick of it. My frustration is that most of the ideas for recent cross overs sound pretty interesting to me, but the execution of the story is very disappointing and unrealistic (World War Hulk). I thought it was unbelievable how readily everyone was convinced that because Elektra was a skrull, that it must be an invasion, rather than one lone skrull. I also thought it was pathetic how we are told to believe that these skrulls were planning this invasion for a while now, but often the reveals are a case of "What is your favorite movie?" Pause... "I don't know." Then the person reveals that they are a skrull. Lame.
I agree that the current issues of Mighty Avengers and New Avengers have been wasteful, especially when the comics are titled "Avengers", but it seems more like "Nick Fury's Adventures" or "Behind the Scenes of the Skrull Invasion", rather than having much to do with the Avengers characters involved in the invasion. As an aside, I also think it's crap to have a cover that has nothing to do with the story contained inside, especially since the characters inside have next to nothing to do with the tile of the comic. I hate it when covers are use simply to showcase "pretty art."
I don't like the idea of having to jump from Mighty Avengers, to New Avengers, to Thor to follow the story as it is taking place, but I also don't think it's too much to have a cameo or two in an issue, just a treat to the reader to let them know that a particular comic series is acknowledging the greater effects of the invasion, while not getting too sidetracked from their current storyline.
Over the past year, I've been collecting about 13 different series, but recently I've been thinking about narrowing that to 4, or dropping my collection for the foreseeable future. Nobody at Marvel seems to be keeping track of things, and nobody seems to be able to tell a writer "no, you can't use that character because (1) it is a skrull, or (2) that character is actually halfway around the world right now."
I don't like the idea of having "summer events" or "cross over events" only in a separate series, because honestly, when writers have been given the freedom to not be involved in a cross over, I don't think their stories have been that good, definitely not good enough for them to be given Prima Donna status, so they don't have to "play with all the other kids." If a "summer event" is fluff and not relevant enough to be in the main issues of a series, then it probably should never have been done in the first place (World War Hulk.) I honestly don't see the point of the current issues of the Fantastic Four. I've found the stories unbelievable past the point of frustration, and I'd much rather own comics in that series that track the major event going on right now in the Marvel Universe. In regards to continuity, I think that if everything can fit together at the end of the day, then continuity has been addressed (so long as the personality of characters is consistent, given their individual history and character development.) What bothers me in the way of continuity is the appearance of all the characters, in the current Fantastic Four story line, to fight the giant robot, despite the fact that most of those characters are probably elsewhere, the fact that all of those characters have allegedly come together to fight this giant robot, yet none of the characters (especially the leaders) seem to talk much (which seems highly out of character. At one point, I was convinced they must have been all robots or illusions because of how quiet they were.) I would also appreciate it if someone could explain to me if the current use of Dum Dum Dugan in the Iron Man series is the skrull Dum Dum or the real Dum Dum... Sigh.
Comic creators just need to try harder. It's not enough to have "pretty art" and just tell intelligent readers to hold on and enjoy the ride.
Thanks for starting this topic, so I could vent as well.
Oh yeah, and Wonder Man rules!
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