February 23, 2006

The not so marvellous side of Marvel

I saw the previews for "Civil War" today and I must say that I have a sinking feeling in my stomach again :p Of late, Marvel just seems to be trailing behind their Distinguished Counterparts and simply playing a game of catch up – but never succeeding to actually do so. Of late, as I keep on writing, DC seems to do much better at telling stories via comics than Marvel can.

First DC had "Identity Crisis". Sure, the ending could have been done better but still, the story was good and it kept you reading month after month and kept you guessing. Then they had the whole "Countdown to Infinite Crisis" storylines which I found to be rather engrossing and introduced some rather good new characters, or brought minor characters back into the spotlight. I especially liked how most of the characters involved in those four mini-series grew and the hints dropped about how they will continue to grow. Then came "Infinite Crisis" itself. At first, I was a bit sceptical of "Infinite Crisis" as it seemed to riff on the original "Crisis on Infinite Earths" but as the story progressed, I see where the similarities came from and why they were needed – they were portents, clues as to what was coming. I still haven’t seen how it all turns out but the story is good and, to me at least, seems even better than the original "Crisis on Infinite Earths".

On the other hand, what has Marvel done recently? First they had, "Avengers Disassembled" which was all about killing off some of their major characters and churning up stuff for the sake of churning up stuff. Then they went on from their to "House of M" which seemed to be their attempt to steal the thunder from DC’s "Infinite Crisis" but it turned out to be rather a damp squib. Again, there were major explosions, people get killed, people lose powers but there seems to be no movement forward for the characters themselves. Then came Spidey’s "The Other" – again not the best Spider-Man story written – in fact, after the events, instead of feeling buoyed by it all, I feel reluctant to read any more Spidey comics … and he used to be one of my favourite characters! (Spider-Man still is one of my favourites – just not under the present batch of writers and the present storyline) Despite the fanfare of a new beginning, all I see is the same old guy, the changes are more statements than fact that you see in the story itself – it’s all tell, no show :p

And now we have "Civil War" coming up. The previews shows Nitro blowing up a school bus and perhaps a ground full of school kids. Appropriate for Marvel these days. They go for the big, "Oooh, look at all those kids blown up!" kind of reaction than the little personal touches. I’ll certainly read "Civil War" to see how it shapes up (eventually) but unless they make a shift in storytelling style, I think the days are gone when I said, "Make mine Marvel!"

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Posted by Fahim at 7:49 am  |  No Comments