All I can say (and I never in my life thought I would ever say it...) Aquaman is actually cool now.
All I can say (and I never in my life thought I would ever say it...) Aquaman is actually cool now.
While interesting there are a couple of things/problems here...
1) Marvel sucks at relationships...most of the women and half of the men in the Marvel Universe will fall into bed with anything that moves...why have their characters in relationships at all since being in a relationship in the Marvel Universe has no meaning? Many times I have wondered if any writer at Marvel has ever actually been in a relationship or is still living in their mom's basement (I know that's not true, but it sure feels that way)...and more importantly, Marvel reads more like bad TV a lot of the time rather than heroic (though realistic) stories.
2) I'll admit that I have given up on many Marvel titles (and at this rate may soon abandon Marvel all-together) so I am not certain the why for the Schism story line...however looking at the above excerpt and Wolverine telling Cyclops that Jean would be more afraid of him...it seems that my suspicion that Scott crossed some kind of "line" that Logan would not cross is the trigger...Now remind me...Wolverine is "the best there is at what he does; and what he does is not very nice" - so unless it was an "Anikin moment" of Scott telling Logan to kill a bunch of children (which I doubt) the idea of Wolverine as the "moral compass" for the X-men is unbelievable.
3) Even the sequence here with Namor talking to Emma is ridiculous. Please understand as I write this part that Namor has been one of my favorite characters in comics since Namor had his own series in Tales to Astonish...even so...Namor is one of the LAST people to give relationship advice or talk about respect...let's see...he's a man-whore for any blonde (he even has the hots for his cousin - so is he "Prince Redneck" too?)...has no actual respect for anyone besides himself (but you'd better respect him!)...Considering that his two wives/brides are dead - as a direct action/inaction on his part - I'd say his track record in relationships certainly does not make him an expert on successful relationships...so really he cannot comment...(which leads into my next point)...
4) Namor has buried several of the "loves of his life" (at least 3)...but apparently he's fairly heartless in that he has no mourning for any of them (maybe if they were blonde?). That said, while I feel that Scott's character has rarely, if ever, been really developed to it's potential (and he's always been defined by his relationships)...Jean was not only the love of Scott's life, but his FIRST love too...in the "real world" when someone that important to you dies it has a profound effect on your future relationships (particularly if you are still together with that "first love" when they die). After someone like that dies it is often hard to step into a new relationship at all. The fact that Scott is even IN a relationship with Emma (or anyone) is a big "step" (and Jean being dead 7 years in real time is irrelevant in comic book time, it's probably been a year or two comic book time at most - so it's not unreasonable that he's not gonna marry Emma yet - and yea...he "married the red-head" after 30 or so years of "real time"...Emma's got a few years to go before she can complain). Also...since the X-Books have had nothing but crisis event after crisis event since Scott and Emma got together WHEN could they have gotten married?
I think a great twist on Emma (which would still fit into her character) is that while she uses sex and sex appeal to manipulate...that she really has only "done it" with say two or three people at most (Scott being one of them) - those that she really loves - and that everyone else (Namor, Tony, etc.) only THINKS they've done it...but she's just been playing them.
Ummm...isn't this Marvel's "Birds of Prey"?
Awesome article Babs...
Actually to add on to your piece here...
Marvel publishes too many books in general...and I know I am probably in the minority to think this...it just seems like Marvel publishes with the attitude of..."lets throw a whole bunch of garbage out there...if it's got Wolverine or Deadpool or Spider-man in it people will buy it even if the story/art sucks".
It seems like storytelling at Marvel is dead, and has been for a while. I remember reading an old piece by Robert E Howard (the guy who created Conan for those who don't know) where he stated that when he wrote, it was like the character was telling him the story in his head (hopefully not a sign of pyschosis) and that he was just the means for the character to get his story out. I was at a Wonder Con panel with a bunch of DC writers two years ago (side note...I had the opportunity to meet Babs that day - she is one of the nicest/coolest comic book people you can ever meet)...but I digress...the DC panel pointed out that when you are writing about iconic characters (like most comic book heroes are) that you should not be trying to tell YOUR story about the character...you should be telling the character's story. Marvel tells THEIR story, not the character's story.
Am I the only person who was let down by the anti-climactic conclusions to Civil War or Secret Invasion?
Am I the only one so disappointed by "Ultimatum" that I gave up the "Ultimate Comics Universe" for good because of it? (I used to love Ultimate - I appreciated it's "realism" - I even understood WHY Ultimatum happened - it just was done horribly)...Am I the only person who thought "Dark Reign" went WAAAY to long? (and it's conclusion was both overdramatic, and unsatisfying as well)...Am I wrong that the first "New Avengers" arc (which had such potential - especially with the introduction of the "Next Avengers" movie kids) had such potential but was also a let down? (I HATE covers that show something that doesn't actually happen in the book - as in the "fight" between Hulk and Thor)...It's made it hard to get excited about Marvel books in general, and a lot of Marvel "events" because I don't want to be disappointed again...(Though I'll admit "Fear Itself" has not disappointed - yet).
To me Marvel gave up continuity, story telling, and any actual respect for their characters a LONG time ago. They publish stories to make money (which is not necessarily a bad thing because I do love a lot of Marvel characters and want them to stay in business) but to tell their characters' stories. This is part of why Marvel's characters act so inconsistently and out of character.
It's why Marvel publishes so much stuff that is over the top dramatic (Marvel is the "Desperate Houswives" of comics). It seems like two and three times a year we get told "This event will shape the Marvel Universe (or this part of the Marvel Universe) for YEARS to come"...or at least for the next three months until the next "Event to shape the Marvel Universe for YEARS to come" gets hyped.
I touched on it a moment ago...but Marvel really has become a cheap soap opera. Almost all if it's characters have become so inconsistent - sometimes almost totally perverted - from their original concepts and ideals. I was truly hoping that with the "Heroic Age" Marvel's characters (while still being realistic) would become HEROIC again - that instead of constant hype we would get good storytelling and great/inspiring stories...alas, that has not happened...and it seems that we will not have a "re-birth" of the "Marvel Age of Comics".
And that is the real tragedy of so many events...the loss of our heroes.
1) Even the smartest people make mistakes on some details (e.g. - Doom comes to mind) - especially if they are going out into the unknown (space in 1961).
2) As has been mentioned in their introduction in 1961 the idea of shielding in space (or even effectively going into space was a totally new idea - the first person into space Yuri Gargarin had only gone into space in April of 1961 and the FF went up into space in November...so keep in mind that "culturally" here in America there was a genuine drive to "beat the Russians" into space - hence why we were the first to go to the moon - and when you rush you are more likely to make mistakes (see point #1 above).
3) Even in the X-men/FF team up cited here it was revealed that Doom had manipulated Reed to once again try to "break" him - the only thing good about that revelation is the confrontation between Sue and Doom. (and I agree that this story and it's premise that Reed was a manipulative bastard was a writer reaching for a mediocre story - mostly to create a "fight" between the X-Men and the FF).
4) Even in 1987 the idea of Reed being concerned about the growing proliferation of superpowered people is stupid since the FF started the "Marvel Age of Comics"!...so the basic premise of the story is flawed from the start. (Yes Xavier and Magnus were around...but both had not yet revealed themselves - in fact it wasn't until around X-men 60 that the "confirmation" of the existence of "Professor X" was exposed, and even then the fact that is was Charles Xavier was still not revealed - and the ret-conned created Sentry is just a Marvel created hype for a second string Superman wannabe! - I'd rather Marvel had somehow ret-conned Hyperion than created the incredibly lame and unnecessarily convoluted character of Sentry).
5) Doom creating a "journal" to undermine Reed is soooooooooo beneath Doom...Doom is epic...journaling is cowardly! I'll say it again - Doom is EPIC!
6) Anyone who has regularly read the FF over their history KNOWS that Reed has come up with cures for Ben that have worked/would work - EXCEPT - that Ben in his heart really does like/want to be the Thing (sometimes the motive is to be a hero...sometimes the motive is to protect those important to him...sometimes the motive is because Ben was afraid that Alicia fell in love with him as the Thing, and if he wasn't the Thing she'd not love him anymore...bottom line...Ben psychologically worked against any of Reed's cures...so ultimately those cures were unsuccessful/ineffective).
7) Lastly...I am SO SICK TO DEATH of Marvel's destruction of their characters! Yes Marvel has always attempted to be more "reality" based (hence why their characters are in NYC and not Gotham)...but their characters were "reality" based to make them more identifiable in their personal struggles - Stan Lee had a gift for "romantic angst"! However many of Marvel's characters were patterned after real people.
Charles Xavier could only be more Gandhi if he had glasses and was born in India! Instead of a visionary exemplar of a peaceful ideal Charles has become a mind-raping pedophile.
Tony Stark cold only be more Howard Hughes if he kept his pee in jars in the corner. Instead of an eccentric, but charismatic visionary inventor, Tony has become a back-stabbing petty and unlikeable bastard.
Reed just needs the wild hair on his head to be Einstein. Again, though, instead of a practically minded visionary humanistic scientist, Reed has become as inconsistent as his body shape.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
The greatness and visionary core of Marvel's characters has been abandoned and replace by "heroes" who are worse than the villains.
Marvel has made their characters such schmuks that they are no longer likeable/interesting - I was hoping that with the "Heroic Age" Marvel's hereos would be..well...heroic again...but alas, they are still inglorious bastards - and as a fan, I am so disgusted by the Desparate Housewives soap opera sensationalism that defines Marvel now that I cannot bring myself to buy their books...and that is truly depressing.
They should make a Plaid Lantern.LOL...YES...
Awesome article Babs...
I also think that comic prices need to come down. In addition to your kid spending his allowance on a movie example...another way to think of the cost dilemma for people is this...out in CA the minimum wage is $8 an hour (I know it's lower in many other parts of the country)...basically for the average person the consideration is this...are one to two comics worth an hour of my wages? Probably Not!
It's almost heresy to say, but I don't buy comics as often or in as great a volume as I used to because of the price...it's foolish to waste my money buying most titles monthly...because I can buy the trades which contain a full story arc - roughly 5-7 issues - for the cost of roughly 2-3 comics - especially if I buy from Amazon...yes I am a couple months behind the curve of knowing the "latest" thing/story arc...but I still enjoy my comics and I still have money in my pocket! (I'm old school, I like having a book in my hand - but if I just want to see a particular issue on a title that I don't really care about, then the annual subscription to most digital comics is less than a few books too...and things are posted digitally VERY quickly now - so again I'm only a few months behind and I haven't wasted my money).
Though I will say that it's hard to REALLY know if movies don't improve comic sales as your average person who sees a Spider-man or Green Lantern movie and likes it is not very likely to run out to their local comic shop and start buying comics...they are going to Borders/Barnes & Noble/Amazon and pick up a TPB or two...it's only if they get hooked off of those that they might eventually venture into a comics shop, but that is weeks if not months down the road.
I totally agree with you Thorion in that it works both ways that by making a character too dependent on their "other half" makes them kind of boring. I both loved and hated Jean and Scott together. When they were written as "real" people who's relationship complemented each other, and brought out eachother's strengths (like when they were raising Cable in the future or when Cable and Jean saved Cyclops from possession by Apocalypse) they were my favorite couple in comics. Whenever they became the "I'm useless without you around" people I couldn't stand it.
@Thorion88:I love Jean as much as any male raised on the 90's toon and Claremont's X-Men run with an affinity for redheads, but every writer since the Dark Phoenix saga has been essentially telling the same story with her and I'm way past reading it. If anything they make it all the worse when they try to play up some inane romance between her and Wolvie. If you can't write a female character without making the motivation or prize for male characters or have her motivated by something aside a relationship with a male character then you have failed to make a fully realized, multidimensional character.
Sadly I am very torn on this subject for Cyclops...Let me start by first saying the Scott has ALWAYS been one of my favorite characters in comics...that said...
What has sucked for Cyclops is that for many years most writers didn't know what to do with him (in Marvel's mini-statues book for Cyclops even Chris Claremont admits he didn't really know what to do with him, and that since he found Wolverine more interesting that's why he developed Logan's character more). Scott for years was defined by his fear (of hurting someone with his beams), his compassion (the leader who looks out for everyone - but at the same time that made him seem like a wuss, which helped create the "love triangle" between Jean - Scott - Logan), and his relationship with Jean...in many ways Scott did not have much of a personality outside of his relationship with Jean. Sadly it gave him very little depth and no strength of character (making it seem weird that the
wimp who couldn't make a decision was the "field leader" of the X-men...hell his angst lost him the field leader role to a powerless Storm! How else does he look except as an incompetent wimp!)
Then along comes the "new" love mess of Jean - Scott - Emma - Logan...and all of a sudden Cyclops is no longer a wuss. Logan actually starts to demonstrate some respect for Scott (I remember during Joss' run when Cyke takes out 3 sentinels in one shot Logan looks at him and says something like "every now and then I remember why you are the boss"...Logan should've ALWAYS had that kind of respect since Cyke really is that powerful, but until Emma came along Scott was to wimpy to be respected.
I do like that also during the "Emma" era of Cyclops...that his tactical abilities have come out...it's almost like he's developed another "secondary" mutant power of just a natural AWESOME tactician who can exploit his opponents weaknesses automatically (like in "Utopia" when he tells Archangel to remove Bullseye from the board). (Side note, I consider Cyclops instinctive understanding of spacial geometry - like when he saved Nightcrawler from Arcade's bladed bumper cars in just one shot that bounced between all the cars - to be a secondary mutant power for him as well).
Jean taught Scott how to love, Emma gave him strength...Scott needs to learn how to balance both and he could become one of the greatest team leaders in all of Marvel Comics!
The question here is not the “morality or definition of cheating”; the question is about the appropriateness of cheating in comics. Though I (and many on this site) have been reading comics for a while, we are NOT the “target audience”…and while my wife often comments that comics are my “soaps” – if I want to watch people cheating on a regular basis I can watch Grey’s Anatomy, or Private Practice! (and I certainly do not let my children watch those shows, so why would I want them to read comics like those shows?).
Equally important is the fact that comics are the modern myth/legend of our time (and yes some legendary “heroes” did cheat – Hercules comes to mind most easily) and need to tell stories with that iconic understanding. Legends are meant to inspire people to greater actions beyond themselves (are they perfect – no, if they were then people couldn’t relate to them). To me comics need to remember that they are a medium for social lessons/awareness (the famous stories of drug abuse in Spider-man, racism in Green Lantern, and alcohol abuse in Iron Man all come to mind) and need to hold to a higher standard than “reality”…comics aren’t reality…if I want celebrity cheating reality I can watch “Entertainment Tonight”!
Heroes should be heroic…they can be flawed…but in the end they should be heroic!
There is also the consideration that when people “cheat” they try to hide it…it’s a lesson I try to teach my kids, if you are trying to hide it, then you know it’s something you are not supposed to do, so you probably shouldn’t do it…there’s the lesson for comics.
It also seems sometimes like writers at Marvel have never been in an actual relationship! Yes in the real world you might check out the hot chick in the office, or that cute UPS driver with the nice butt – it doesn’t mean you are going to “cheat” with them! If comics need to be “real” then they should deal with HOW one handles temptation in a relationship (not everyone cheats…but apparently they do in comics)…and WHY one cheats when they do…and the fallout from cheating (it doesn’t often work out so well).
On a related topic…I can’t stand that it seems like every major female character in Marvel is a slut…Tigra and She Hulk will jump on just about anything that moves (Tigra almost makes sense in the “cat in heat” metaphore)…Jean has been mind-doing Wolverine forever (and then get’s pissed at Scott for his “actions” with Psylocke and Emma – “hmmm…pot meet kettle”)…And despite Marvel’s constant assurance that “Hope is not Jean”…just watch…Hope will be Jean after all…and with Scott now together with Emma, Marvel can FINALLY have Jean with Logan. (*Ack*…sorry…hairball there).
Gamora, The Black Queen, Emma, and The Black Widow all use their sex as a tool to manipulate men – the problem with that is…if you are trying to manipulate a guy you DON’T generally give him what he wants…you make him THINK he’ll get something…but you don’t actually do it ‘cause once you do it a lot of your control goes away (though I always thought it would be funny if Emma really didn’t do much with most guys, she just made them THINK they had)…Even “soccer mom” Sue has had her moments of sluttyness…I am sure that there are more I could mention, but you get the idea.
The Scarlet Witch deserves her own paragraph for how Marvel can screw things up and turn a character into a slut…it is an understatement that I have HUGE issues with Marvel on how they’ve handled Wanda and her relationships! Her actions with Wonderman didn’t happen until after she and the Vision split (so that worked for me, she may have been attracted to Simon, but she didn’t do anything about it, once her relationship with Vision breaks up, she finds another). More importantly, she brings Simon back to life in one of the best and most believable resurrections at Marvel – the power of love conquering death – and then they do the, oh now that we are together I don’t love you anymore thing – LAME! So she’s splits with Simon to then throw herself at Captain – who doesn’t politely say no…he responds even though he’s with Sharon – WTF?!?!?...are you KIDDING? Cap IS the “moral compass” of Marvel and he goes for it!?!?!?!!!! And let’s not forget Hawkeye and his “need for closure”…which apparently means getting into Wanda’s pants! I get that all the troubles of the Marvel Universe seem to come from Wanda’s apparent psychosis (a theme they keep re-visiting)…but c’mon that character has been so abused in the last few years, which is horrible considering where she started…I’m waiting for some day in the future Marvel will completely re-write their history from some point in Wanda’s breaks from reality….and make all of the Marvel Universe’s history from that point on be a “dream” as Wanda had re-made reality – you could also do the same with Franklin Richards too).
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