Independent Action

And a happy Independence Day to all our American readers. To celebrate, I thought I would dig up this blast from the past, celebrating the 250th issue of Captain America.

Ah, the halcyon days when a three figure issue number was a good thing! We must have been made of sterner stuff back then, not to be scared by large numbers.

With San Diego Comic-Con just lurking around the corner, the companies are jostling in position to drop hints of whatever ‘big reveal’ they will give on the days of the event. With the recent revelation of the so-called relaunch of Marvel, the Marvel NOW! initiative, I tend to think the House of Ideas has already grabbed the headlines for this one.

It’s only fair, it was DC’s turn last year with the release of the New 52, and we can all rest assured that Marvel is not rebooting the universe at the end of Avengers Vs X-Men. Of course, in the wake of DC’s Flashpoint, discussion obviously turned to Marvel and what it would do to reclaim its place at the top of the sales chart. People have posted about the strong points and weak points of the Marvel stable – the fact that it keeps its continuity versus that fact that its continuity after fifty odd years is tangled and potentially impenetrable. The fact that it has a hugely recognisable stable of characters, versus the fact that it has not really created any new successful characters for the last decade that were not spin-offs from the existing franchises.

For the relaunch to work, Marvel needs to spend a little time focusing purely on these new titles. I love a cohesive universe, but successive years of line-wide event driven stories are hard on the wallet. Meanwhile the other companies have generated successful stand-alone properties like Invincible, and they are the ones seeming fresh.

Line wide events are great for smaller universes, such as Atlas Unified, or whatever the third version of Unity for the new Valiant universe will be. But for the big two, the time has come to ease up on the major events, so that a new reader, enticed in by whatever new movie or cartoon series can find a universe reasonably straightforward in any one particular title they pick up. DC have backed themselves in to a corner where they have to do this (and good job too). It is now time for Marvel to allow their properties to work independently for a few years. Have each character’s continuity as tangled as you like, but contained in only one title at a time. (Villains not withstanding, of course.)

Let the heroes be independent for a while.

In the meantime, sit back and enjoy Avengers Versus X-Men. Because, despite everything I said above, and my prior concerns about the crossover; it’s good, isn’t it?

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Darren Burr

A devoted follower of the comics industry and their characters since a child, Darren now plays in many media but always returns to characters in skin-tight costumes beating each other up on the page. Radio host, blogger, fanfic author and producer of You Tube content, Darren idles away his days until his digital conquest of the world is complete.

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