A Brave New World? Or a Brave New Mess?

The EndBreaking eggs for the new omelet.

I have enjoyed the last few months as the current Marvel Universe draws to a close; since it was all ending anyway, many Marvel writers have been taking chances and exploring interesting character-changes that would never have been allowed by the previous status-quo. My fave has been what’s been happening with Thor/Loki, but there’s lots of other good stuff. But now that we’re getting leaked glimpses of what is coming, I’m a little worried.

Why, exactly? There is a recent IO9 article, which I’ll quote here:

“Some of the confirmations were things fans had expected, such as the news that characters from the universes destroyed during the cataclysmic event that is currently annihilating many of Marvel’s former alternate realities will find a home in the new Marvel universe (many fans already gathered from the recent revelation that Ultimate Spider-Man Miles Morales will become a member of a new Avengers team).

“But Marvel also revealed that versions of the characters created for the event — like Maestro, a future evil version of the Hulk appearing in the companies reboot of the Future Imperfect storyline, or the all-female Avengers team A-Force — will cross over from the event, and with them, the Battleworld that Secret Wars takes place on. So essentially, a mashed-up version of the former alternate realities of Marvel Comics will somehow co-exist alongside whatever new reality is created for Marvel Comics to exist in after the event. Is your head hurting yet? Mine is.”

I had previously been under the impression (or hope) that Marvel was using the Secret War/Battleworld event to clear the decks and begin afresh, start with a blank slate and tell new stories.

In some ways I expected it to be much like the Ultimate Universe, only more organized.

Now I’m not sure what it’s going to look like. Will the survivors, both the ones on “Earth” and the ones on Battleworld, remember the old timelines? Or will there be a “reboot” for the Main Characters (the FF, the Avengers, the X-Men, etc) who will have lived the new history and not remember the Secret War, plus the “outsiders”, who are stranded survivors on Battleworld?

I hope that’s what it means. Why? Because one thing that the Marvel Ciniverse of the Marvel Studios movies has gotten absolutely right is its decision to abandon the kitchen-sink approach typical of the superhero genre and go for a Grand Unified Theory of Cool Stuff. In the Marvel Ciniverse it is superscience; everything is explained by science, whether it is human science (Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk), alien and alien/human science (Wanda, Pietro, the Inhumans), and magic-science (Thor, Loki).

Clark’s Law reigns supreme, and the result is an astonishingly coherent and powerful vehicle for the stories of the Marvel Ciniverse. On top of this, add the reboot of all the stories which eliminated the legions of associated heroes, villains, events, and sheer mass-driven inertia of the comics, and a thing of beauty is born.

While the main impetus behind the Wearing the Cape books was the desire to tell a “socially realistic” superhero story, the desire for fresh heroes and a more “rational” origin/explanation for the wonders of the superhero world played a huge role as well.

I still hope that is what Marvel is doing here; I’m just no longer so optimistic.

We shall see.

12 thoughts on “A Brave New World? Or a Brave New Mess?

  1. George: Well, as long as Marvel doesn’t “destroy” Firestar — but as you said, we shall see. I admit that I have been critical of your Wearing the Cape series. But I really like what you have done. I really enjoy what you have done as far as being “socially realistic” on your novels. Likewise, I am trying to do that with characters who don’t have superpowers, but they have very realistic “gifts” and try to take advantage of those abilities to get through life and even enjoy life. We love our characters and we treat our characters as if they are our brainchildren (they really are). I’m working on a novel in my series where I will be “closing” the main character. But my character isn’t going to die. She is graduating from high school and going onto college. Since my focus is on the high school, I have a new main character when I start the following novel. There are times where you have to literally let go your characters. You still love them although they have been in =tons= of predicaments and they have become hurt and they have become angry and sometimes an emotional mess. But in the end you still love them and, yes, wish them the best.

  2. I’ll read Marvel again when they bring back May (Mayday) Parker as Spidergirl. Of course they aren’t likely to do this, so I’m not likely to read Marvel.

  3. I stopped reading comics back when X-Men did the “Death of Charles Xavier” and “Age of Apocalypse” story lines. It was my first experience with a story line resetting itself, and I hated it. I think story resets and multiverses limit creativity and reduces the consequences in the story line.

    1. I appreciated DC’s post-Crisis reset, especially the way they did the Superman: Man of Steel miniseries that gave a recap/explanation of Superman’s new history. It was a good way to go about it.

      What I don’t like are epic events that then create absolutely no change in the superhero universe or even the individual hero’s stories.

  4. Interesting that you really like everything being based on superscience. That’s actually a major worry I’ve seen among Dr. Strange fans; that he won’t really be a wizard. The Asgardians being reduced to aliens instead of unambiguously being gods pissed me off something fierce (well, I am Scandinavian, so home-town pride, I guess?). Oh well, different strokes for different people.

    1. The Asgardians haven’t been true “gods” in the Marvel Universe for decades, so that bit is true to the comics (what they are has been explained differently from time to time). I suspect that, much like the Scarlet Witch, Dr. Strange’s powers will get a huge makeover. He was always presented as an “eastern” mystic, so I suspect it will be an eastern-flavored chi/psi thing. Still very mystic, but science will be able to “explain” what he does in terms of enhanced mental abilities.

    2. I will agree.
      It is like when a really good restaurant under goes an ownership change and cuts out three fourths of the menu…keeping only cheeseburgers and fries and basically fare you could get at almost any food place off of the highway.

      Bland is supposed to be the new great thing.

      1. On the other hand, they could be like Inn-and-Out Burger or Smashburger; they only do one thing but do it very, very well. Which I think the MCU is doing so far.

      2. Well, lets hope that we don’t write “bland.” I would like to have my novels be a full value meal. I have been to Smashburger and it’s OK. The ultimate place here in the Midwest (especially Illinois) is Steak-N-Shake and change that menu and its patrons will rebel with pitchforks and torches! During the 1990s, I collected comic books (including all 75 issues of the =original= New Warriors). I collected the comics mainly for storyline and to see some character development. This was a series which took marginal characters and turned them into a super team. It was a very learning experience as I was developing my novels. Developing a character takes a lot of detail, including stuff that doesn’t really go into the novels. They are like knowing a human being; a friend; a confidante; someone to talk to as long as no one catches you talking to yourself. George, like you, we are writing socially realistic novels, even though yours involves superheroes and is set several years into the future. It is our development of our characters, including the supporting ones, who the readers want to relate. It’s not just Hope (or Molly in my novels). It’s Blackstone, Artemis, Mr. and Mrs. C, Shelly and others that we have to know to the finest detail and they are human and very realistic. That’s what is needed in our books in order to not just catch the reader and keep them hooked. But they want to relate to the characters. That’s what makes good writing.

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