Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Enormity of it all

OK, so they tell me that it is hard to tell the players without a scorecard. Well, it occurs to me that I actually DO have a scorecard, and I still can’t friggen’ tell who is who and WTF is going on?

Confused? Well so am I. I’ve been reading Marvel Comics for some 46 years (yes, you read that right forty-six years!), and I’m seriously trying to A) figure out what is going on in the Marvel Universe, and B) if I actually care. No seriously. I’m trying to work it out in something relating to an organized, chronological manner. So, If I have this right, here’s a brief synopsis of what has gone down recently:

0) Nick Fury, Director of SHIELD convinces a handful of heroes to invade Latveria on a mission of questionable “National Security” (not so important by itself, but it grows into the most important event of the next couple of years, so pay attention).

1) The Avengers break up because they are attacked (Wasn’t reading them at the time, so this wasn’t as important to me as it later became).

2) Wanda goes Nutsy Fagan and remakes the world into her own little fantasy world, where Mutants rule and Humans are the disenfranchised (House of M).

3) Non-mutant heroes (along with a mutant or two) figure it all out and put a stop to it, reverting the world back to the way it was, only Wanda then slips whatever cogs she has left and eliminates all except 198 mutants worldwide.

4) Spider-Man is tapped to join a new Team of Avengers.

5) Tony Stark achieves the complete Fascisim to which he has been aspiring all of his corporate Military Industrialist Complex life, and forces through legislation that kick-starts Marvel’s Civil War Event.

6) Peter Parker is seduced by the oily-smooth father-figure opresented by Stark and all of his billions, and goes over to the dark side during the initial parts of Civil War.

7) Peter finally re-discovers his moral soul, and slides over to Captain America’s side, thus swinging the ultimate outcome to the side of the Angels.

8) Full-scale war erupts in Times Square, Cap Surrenders, the New Avengers go underground.

9) Captain America is killed.

10) Iron Man forms New-New Avenger team (henceforth called “Mighty” so as not to sound redundantly silly).

10A) In conjunction with the Mighty Avengers, Stark also founds the Legion of Substitute Avengers, (called Avengers Initiative, so as to avoid lawsuits with the Distinguished Competition) which is designed to train all of the young collaborators, turncoats, Avengers-in-training for his grand 50-State Hero Initiative.

11) May Parker is shot (with a bullet intended for Peter) and lies in a coma, thus “forcing” Spidey to re-don his black (Venom-inspired) spider-suit (which has been webbed up on the underside of some random building’s ledge for an untold time by webbing that lasts only an hour).

12) The Hulk returns from off-world to extract vengeance on the Illuminati (a secret coven of heroes who have been “manipulating” the events of Earth since 1962 or thereabouts given the vagaries of the “official” Marvel time line), captures most of the heroes in NY, and thrashes Midtown in the process.

13) After beating the crap out of half the thugs left in NY, Spidey goes back to wearing his red-and-blues and cuts a deal with Mephisto (the Effin’ Devil, sometimes referred to as Satan in the real world!) to end his marriage ah, save Aunt May’s life.

13A) The results of this deal (the law of unintended consequences?) also apparently include Harry Osborn inexplicably returning to life, MJ sleeping around with some whiny, shallow, self-involved, Brat Pack Media Whore, Peter somehow becoming stupider, more accident-prone, and less competent as a super hero.

14)) (Before, after?) Hulk all but destroys Manhattan (and it is rebuilt by Damage Control), it is invaded and nearly over run by an army of Venom-like Symbiotes that were apparently (accidentally) launched by Dr. Doom).

15) After (I think) the Symbiote invasion, the Invaders (the original team from WWII) are somehow mysteriously transported to — you guessed it — Midtown Manhattan where they fight the Avengers (Mighty, & New, along with the Thunderbolts, and probably everyone else and their brothers — as this is ongoing as I type this up, I’m sure there are more curves yet to come).

16) (Told) Simultaneously (but occurring after?) is the Summer’s great brouhaha The (not so) Secret Invasion, whereby the Skrulls have been infiltrating the Earth since shortly after FF #1 or some such. (Would it be redundant to point out that as I pen this section an armada of Skrulls have invaded, a-yup, you guessed it, Midtown Manhattan.)

17) As Midtown is being invaded, the Avengers (New & Mighty) are duking it ouch with each other where, no, not in Midtown Manhattan, but — as far away from Midtown as you can possibly be while still on Earth — in The Savage Land. There they come face-to-face with who else? The Avengers and friends (probably from 1985, but don’t even get me started about the continuity glitches rampant in that series!)

So now, I’m reading Amazing Spider-Man with a guy in the Spider-Suit that can’t be the real Peter Parker (because he made a deal with Satan! whom we also know as The Effin’ Prince of Lies!), a Spider-Man in Spider-Man Family who can’t be Spidey because, it is being written by hacks; a bunch of Spideys who appear in the Alt-Universe Marvel Titles (Marvel Adventures, et al.) because they simply aren’t mainstream; Spidey-who-isn’t-Spidey appearing in virtually every other Marvel Comic who can’t be Spidey (because nothing of value ever happens in not the main title book); and not one, but Two Spideys appearing in the Secret Invasion titles (Secret Invasion, New Avengers, Mighty Avengers, etc.) neither one of which can possibly Spidey (because no one else is Spidey!).

In fact, I’m completely convinced that the only Peter Parker running around in Marvel Comics these days who actually IS Peter Parker is the one that appears in Amazing Spider-Girl, because That one is still married to MJ, actually had a daughter, and is being written by a real Spider-scribe (Tom DeFalco who also served as Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief and didn’t try to end Peter’s and Mary Jane’s marriage).

Some one please tell me I’m wrong, that I’m going to wake up and discover that all of this is a bad dream. Or, failing that, ‘splain to me (in small words) what is going on here.

Pretty please.


Reggie White Jr. said...

Wow. My head hurts. I knew there was a lot of stuff going on in the Marvel U, but I didn't realize how convoluted it was until I read all that. Its as if Joe Q just threw a giant wrecking ball into everything and just continued to flail away at the controls widely.

As for Secret Invasion, I called it months ago, the event would be used to screw up even more stuff and recton bad writing.

I heard Luke Cage and Jessica's marriage was axed for some lame reason. When I get married, my wife isn't going anywhere near Joe Q at a comic con.

Amazing Spider-Man? Does anyone, even Marvel know what the eff is going on with that book? I'm sorry but this 12 year old trapped a 25 year old body is not Spider-Man. I didn't even Byrne-Steal the latest issues because I stopped caring. We've got superior Spidey titles to read.

Tommy said...

I think continuity got mostly fugged up (to the point that I'm having trouble with it) around the time of World War Hulk.

OMD was written and whatever was planned in advance for anything in the Marvel Universe wasn't very cohesive, which is why we have stuff like Spidey with different costumes and Dr. Strange being in and out of the Earthly plane of existence at random.

Just going by Avengers: The Initiative, the issue where Pete's identity problem was potentially dealt with without resorting to OMD and the like, is after the World War Hulk crossover issues in that title.

So logically, WWH should have happened before OMD, but it doesn't fit very well simply because of what I stated in the above.

That's why we have Stark Towers still being up when it's not supposed to, Dr. Strange being available at his Sanctum Sanctorum when he was supposed to be gone after the fight against the Hood's group, and misc. instances of Spidey and Stark being in the same area and not at each others throats.

I have some notes of my attempts to piece some ordering together, but until I physically pick up a LOT of issues (damn crossovers), it'll be a while before I SMURF 'em.

I'm sure Secret Invasion will also keep me busy with the flashbacks that tie into past issues.

I think the worst part isn't just the gross ignorance of continuity, but rather the attitude that making fun of those who keep track is preferable to actually addressing the issue. I've seen snippets in interviews posted at Scans Daily and haven't seen satisfactory quotes.

Still, I did find something very funny in regards to continuity and Chuck Austen's run on X-Men which brought a smile to my face.

Yes, this is a 2006 entry. I'm seeing some interesting stuff in the archives section that are entertaining and educational. Put the link together in the address bar to check it out.