By r3d_rob1n 2 Comments
A question that has been running through my mind lately is whether or not substantial events in comic book history, which have the potential to be more influential, have an obligation to trump current continuity. As a caution, there will be spoilers to Batman Inc 8, so back out now if you wish to remain pure.
Over the years I have become a stickler for comic book continuity (my passion for this has waned since the New 52, as I value my sanity). The idea of another living world full of complex interactions and iconic heroes has swept my imagination, and maintaining a cohesive feel throughout that environment is vital to sustaining my suspension of disbelief. I also have a passion for revisiting truly great stories in the form of trades, yet sometimes can feel bogged down by trivial details not referenced in the main story.
Recently the events of Batman, Incorporated #8, and the death of Damian, have me wondering whether current continuity should be set aside in order to help the story and fallout issues be better received in the future. This idea has been especially intriguing due to the already separated feel that this title has from the rest of the DC Universe. In recent months Batman and family have had to deal with the Joker in the Death of the Family arc, however, Batman Inc has kept its distance from the storyline, and proceeded along with Morrison's vision. Now that Damian has perished, however, the events of Batman Inc seem to be bleeding into other titles of the DC Universe (mainly in the Batfamily) and as such may begin to blend the separated feel of Batman Inc and the other titles.
Fallout issues are a big part of "meaningful" story arcs these days, and can often help to show more detail as to how a character is dealing with a trauma, without taking away from the pacing of the main title. When future generations revisit these stories, they should be encouraged to delve fully into the tale, and immerse themselves in the character's feelings and sorrow. With the death of Damian, this begins to bring confusion. The Batman and Robin title will be showcasing other members of the Batfamily, such as Red Robin and Red Hood, in order to help Bruce through this tough time. However, certain events occurring in both Teen Titans and RHATO may make this confusing for future readers (Tim's possession, and the different portrayals of Jason in Batman Inc and RHATO). Therefore, should the current continuity be disregarded for the benefit of this meaningful event?
Another example that comes to mind, and happens to be currently unfolding, is Age of Ultron. The main story seems to be ignoring the events of Superior Spider-man, except for in the tie-ins. Does Bendis, as the author, have the right to decide whether his story can disregard potentially dating continuity (SpOck) in hopes that Age of Ultron may appeal to future readers unaware of the body switch?
When reading past stories it can sometimes be fun to see how current comic events at the time had an effect on the storyline. However, it can also in some cases lead to disappointment and a constant nagging of what if. I personally wonder how Secret Wars would have been different had the more iconic Tony Stark been Iron Man at the time. Ignoring continuity for certain "game changers" might lead to a battle of which stories are iconic, and which are merely fillers. This could potentially create a second class of comics, those that are not worthy of meaningful events.
In my own opinion I believe that some stories truly are more lasting and important, and therefore deserve to avoid continuity traps. The Death of Damian would be on this list for me, as it is a major point of Bruce Wayne's saga, regardless of whether Damian returns or not. Simple continuity points such as Tim's possession or backlash from Death of the Family should be ignored in this case, for the better benefit of preserving a more time-immune story.
Do you believe there should be times when continuity takes a backseat? Or would it be more meaningful, in the long run, to maintain continuity across the board? Let me know what you think.