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Subj: A RANT: JoeQ... its not just WHAT has happened on his watch, it how (and why)
Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 at 11:01:11 am EST
Reply Subj: It's Clobberin' Time, Episode 3: And The Shocks Continue... [SPOILERS]
Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 at 11:06:51 am EST

Transposed and transported over from Tiger Shark's post here:

Because I think this can splinter off into a whole new discussion area.

Tiger Shark said:

> I hate what he's done to Marvel too, creatively; it's always easy to spot the projects with his personal stamp on them.
> But we have to let him do his thing, and allow people to do their thing by responding.
> The Avengers have been gutted, Thor is dead, Cap is dead, IM is a killer and a bore, the FF have broken up, essentially, after being bores for 7 years, and the Hulk had to be sent off earth to be made interesting again.
> The X-books have seen some of the worst-ever X-books under JQ (and that's saying a lot, after the Harras 90s).
> In fact, the once-stable 'regular titles' of the MU have been frittered away to almost nothing.
> The huge stable of Marvel's criminals and evildoers (at least those on Earth) has been dummied down into sheer brainless cannonfodder.
> Captain Mar-vell was pointlessly resurrected to sell books. The Sentry is the biggest bore since Comet Man.
> Marvel's heroes have had to become literal zombies to sell books! Why not a hero-porn line? That way we can get our fix of hero comics and porn simultaneously. That would certainly sell.

Now to go off on my rant.

Its not just what Joke, I mean JoeQ, has done... its how. And why.

Its not just that Cap died, its how. And why. Rather than giving Cap a heroic meaningful death--a death in battle, a ride into glory, or even dying saving an innocent life, notice that the needs of JoeQ's "modern Marvel" necessitates a twist based on betrayal. On subterfuge. In a emblematic of tragedy and scandal rather than glory and sacrifice. Where the indelible image is supposed to remind us more of Jack Ruby than John Wayne.

Its not just that Spider-Man unmasked, its how. And why. Rather than giving Peter a true challenge which resulted in him having to unmask in the end, JoeQ's "modern Marvel" necessitates a twist based on betrayal. On subterfuge. On Tony Stark's nebulous motives, and never a really clear need for Peter to put himself and his family at that level of risk other than the fact that logically it would have to bind Peter to Tony's side even tighter, since his family would presumably only be safe inside Stark Tower.

Its not just that Hulk got blasted off the Earth, its how. And why. In some ways it was undeniably a good thing, because its led to the best Hulk stories in years. But that opportunity simply came from Hulk being sent off Earth--it didn't inherently require he arrived there because of JoeQ's "modern Marvel" necessity for a twist based on betrayal. On subterfuge. That was done purely in anticipation of World War Hulk, not Planet Hulk, which will be yet another situation where a morally gray story can be told, with no true heroes or villains, because clearly JoeQ doesn't like stories with that kind of moral certainty to them.

Its not just that most of the X-People got decimated, or killed in the past few years. Frankly there were a ridiculous number of them and they needed a serious culling. Its how. And why. Although the story is murky, the big elimination (there have been a few smaller ones, like the one in New X-Men when the bus load of kiddies was killed) was based on JoeQ's "modern Marvel" necessity for a twist based on betrayal. On subterfuge. In House of M, and the following mutant Decimation, nutty Wanda betrays anyone and everyone by yanking reality on a string. Sure its not a conscious betrayal, like so many other recent Marvel ones, but its still a sequence of events based on a character totally acting counter to a large legacy of selflessness. Once again, the motive from the Marvel end seemed to be to shock. TO yank OUR strings as hard as Wanda yanked hers. To cull OUR outrage at the story into a marketing force--as has been done with each of the other events noted above.

There's a serious lack of respect for fans there--almost a contempt I say. Sure its selling books. But its killing a legacy. Great stories ARE still possible in the more classic mode. Look at Annihilation. Heck, even look at Planet Hulk, minus the part of the setup done for World War Hulk.

And heck, I'll admit it. Spider-man unmasked stories, the events which may happen after an icon like Cap is dead... those aren't INHERENTLY bad stories. A reasonable amount of shock and the resulting marketing manipulation is not the worst thing in the world. What's worst in this situation are the ways and the reasons these situations were crafted, not the situations themselves. Did Spider-Man really have to unmask simply to bolster Tony Stark's upcoming Marvel role? Without a bigger moral punch behind those events? Did Hulk have to be sent away simply to cast the various established Marvel mentors as morally gray characters--to start the cycle ending with Tony Stark of showing extreme pragmatism as a bigger virtue than Cap's brand of idealism? Was Wanda going nuts as the rationale for House of M and the mutant Decimation really just a long term blind to set up a debate about the nature of power--to ultimately justify the plot of Civil War and its harsh analysis of superheroic power and public trust? Aren't these issues above most people's heads, don't they in fact take a bit of out of what used to be the simple escapist joy of reading comics?

What say you all? Is it really the very fact, the mere existence, of the "big Marvel events" described above which most bothers you, or the ways they've gone down? It is really the different story opportunities created by Peter Parker going around without a mask, or people mourning over Cap, or Hulk on another planet that are the real problem, or is it a feeling in the pit of your stomach that they somehow cheated along the way? That Spider-Man damn well wouldn't unmask simply because Tony Stark conned him into it (and that the Tony we all knew and loved would never have ASKED it), that Wanda wasn't THAT crazy, that Reed Richards would NEVER allow his friend Bruce Banner to be launched into infinity and beyond, etc.?

Its the details, people. The underlying philosophy which appears to not only be reaching for new stories (a good thing, theoretically) but insisting that they get there by a dark and twisty path (not such a good thing). Its the need to pull the rug out from under us, because its not enough that Spider-Man needs to unmask to present new stories, but also that he has to suffer. Its not just that Cap needs to die because JoeQ thinks he's not relevant anymore, its that he has to take various other characters down with him--to set up that dark and twisty path. Betrayal seems necessary to the modern Marvel, because for them its not about the message being sent by that, its simply about setting up as many new story opportunities as possible. I can't condemn them totally for that, as a creative choice, but I wonder if they even DO think about the moral pall it sets over their whole line of books?

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