Welcome to Prequelandia: Where nothing really changes, so nothing really matters!
It has taken Marvel quite some time to get around to it. We’ve all wondered and waited for Marvel to take the leap. If you’re a reader of DC Comics you know what I’m talking about. Rebooting the Universe.
Marvel has teased with it in the past. Age of Apocalypse, House of M or the recent Brand New Day were stories which looked like they restarted the Marvel Universe by changing some element in the past by using time travel, chaos magic or some other uber-powerful magic or technology.
And each time the event was over, Marvel turned its primary universe, dubbed Earth-616 back to its normal self, warts and all. The offending universe was splintered off (if it was good and well received) and was given a Universal designation. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has a designation of Earth-199999, for example. If a universe was not well-received or the event was short-lived, it might be erased from continuity completely. Strangely enough, unlike DC, Marvel embraced its shadow universes, giving designations to hundreds of them.
But they never appeared to seriously embrace the idea of rebooting/erasing Earth-616, the core canon Marvel Universe.
Now, Marvel has taken a page from the DC Handbook on “How to Restructure Your Universe in 3 Easy Reboots.”
The Marvel 616 Continuity is being erased.
Goodbye history, goodbye relationships we have grown to know and love.
Goodbye ideas created by greater writers than the current crop of hacks could ever be. Will there be a chance for those minority heroes who were just starting to take off? Probably not. Who knows, they may reappear when the event is over but no less than 33 books are being shut down for the duration of SECRET WARS II.
But not to fear because Marvel, like DC has too much invested in the characters, but nothing in the readers. Comicbook.com has the entire list of books that are going to “end” for the duration of Secret Wars.
What does this mean for the readers? We will get: New costumes, loads of new costumes for fanboys to scream and cry over, gnash their teeth at women getting pants, breast reductions and sensible shoes. Creating new relationships between ideas which might have occurred 10-50 years apart, now they will be fused together in hellish symbiosis which will make absolutely no sense to anyone except the crazed hyper-caffeinated writer and editor who dreamed it up.
Exhibit number one: The daughter of Cyclops and Emma Frost: Ruby Summers
Characters will be rebooted and will now have entirely new histories which will be aborning again, like a movie reboot where you have seen the origin half a dozen times but now this time we’ll get it right.
Dikto’s classic Spider-Man will be replaced with some super-amazing well-drawn, mega-realistic, soul-less cardboard cut-out. He may be black, he may be white, but we will return to the beginning of his career (or maybe not) it’s all so Secret (Wars). Or perhaps we will have the dimension-crossing Spider-Gwen or the enigmatic Silk to create Spider-Man and his Amazing Spider-Friends!
Asgardians, gods or aliens (or both)? Mutants, 200 or 2 million? Magneto, Omega or not-Omega, Nick Fury, white or Black? Will it be SHIELD or HYDRA or AIM or maybe a fusion of all three: SHYAME?
What about Hercules? Poor bastard always played second fiddle to Thor, then he was erased and replaced with a Chinese young man named Cho whose super-power was hyper-calculation. What a low blow…
Eternals, Deviants, Mutants, Inhumans, Galactus, Watchers, Soul Gems – So many amazing threads over the decades are in the hands of a group of people who have not proven adult enough to handle even one of these themes well…(Franklin Richard’s makes Galactus HIS herald? Need I say more?)
Celestials turned over in their stasis chambers and Eternity closed the comic shaking his/her/its damn head.
How fitting this reboot should be based around the product that made Marvel the most money, started the horror of extended comic events and created the most loathed character in comics, The Beyonder. Okay, maybe he wasn’t the MOST loathed, but I couldn’t stand him and when he finally disappeared from the Marvel Universe, I gave a hearty cheer. I wonder, does this mean he’s back too? Ugh.
I can foresee nothing good coming from this event because like DC’s New52 Marvel will not address any of the underlying problems in its universe. There will still be too many white guys, white aliens and white metahumans who will lord their powers over the Marvel Universe reminding minorities of their place. There will be too few women in positions of interest and authority waiting to be rescued from refrigerators.
This is purely a money grab. Since new readers don’t care about continuity, this means Marvel can reboot, restart and throw out stuff that might not make any sense to them any more and cater to an audience who knows nothing, has no history and can maybe try to bring order to its chaotic universe.
Hey Marvel, ask DC how that’s worked for them so far…
Intervention Time: Marvel, you make decent movies. This wasn’t always true, but since you founded the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I blame that on Joss Whedon. Your comic line, which you have admitted is nothing more than a gateway drug to your movie industry has suffered lately. You are not impressing me with going back to the Secret Wars to correct the problem.
You remind me of an old pimp wearing the suits he used to wear in his heyday, thirty years ago, strutting through the neighborhood where he used to be King and having people shaking their head wondering who this crazy person is, shouting “They better have my money.”
Yeah. It’s just like that.
I’m like Thor, I’m outta here.
Ouch! Sensationally censorious! I stopped reading the comics a while ago because I couldn’t keep up and they just seemed to spiral out (down?) into more and more outrageous and Byzantine story concatenations.
Seems like Marvel and DC are in a bit of a holding pattern wherein they have to keep churning out ‘content’, but they cannot really refresh anything because the characters (referred to as ‘properties’ appropriately, Chattel superheroes?) and the universe are one and the same. Stan Lee used to come up with these characters in baker’s dozens. Now they are sacrosanct, as if they have always been there. Such is the ossification of a genre.
Ossification is exactly the word needed to describe the comic industry.
The big dogs of the industry are frozen, unable and unwilling to take risks for fear of losing that all-mighty dollar and offending the precious shareholders.
If they don’t get back that level of creativity that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had back in the sixties, these companies will simply die, transformed into inert stone by their own Medusa of Immutability.
They are unwilling to change and unable to change, they are swept away by time into the dustbin that is history.