Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Marvel Reboot - The Perfect Jumping Off Point?

Last weeks news about unique ramifications from a Marvel Avengers event story in 2015 have started rumors that Marvel might engage in a complete reboot of their comics line
This news was met with quite a bit of teeth gnashing and hand wringing by the commenters at Bleeding Cool. The comments tended to run in several categories:
DC 52 Deja Viewers – these were people who feared Marvel’s attempt at a reboot would be as lackluster as DC’s.
…Cause its ended up working out so well for DC
Time To Jumpers – people who would view the reboot as the perfect time to jump off the Marvel bandwagon
Yep. Full reboots are the perfect jumping off point, and a sign that a comic book company just needs to stop publishing and become just an IP farm for their large corporate parent.
~Electric Peter Tork
Doubters and Skeptics – people who don’t think Marvel will reboot
Ending series in about a year and restarting them again or adding diversity to the line-up has been Marvel's M.O. for a while now. That wouldn't be out of the ordinary at all. A full on reboot though? I can't say I expect that will happen.  
Pro Rebooters – people who have faith in a Jonathan Hickman rebooted Marvel Universe
I would not be against a reboot. I used to be and I used to be one of those readers who knocked on DC for having events that were set up for cleaning their continuity. They would usually botch something serious to someone, like say, Hawkman's origin. I have felt that with the rather large number of time-related stories going on at Marvel that they may be gearing towards it.

I feel like if Marvel did it, it would be handled a bit better than DC's New 52. The negative would be the large amount of new number 1's but they would not have the editorial issues that DC did and we would see some characters that normally don't get solo books get that shot. We would have too many X-Men and Avengers titles but that is the nature of the beast.
~ Joshua
What some people have forgotten is that Marvel has already had partial reboot in its history which is remembered as a major failure. I’m talking about Heroes Reborn
At the time, that outsourcing of the Marvel A list characters to the popular Image creators must have looked fantastic on paper, but at best, it was not much more than rehashes of stories we had already scene...

..and at worst it brought us the most infamous Captain America image ever.
So, if Marvel were to actually reboot, how do I think it would be received? Hard to say. Sales wise, initially, the DC 52 reboot was quite successful. However, since then, there has been a lot of bitching and moaning about the quality of the DC line. Albeit, this has less to do with the fact the books have been rebooted and more to do with lax editorial, imo, but I do believe that because this new DC universe seems less official, fans are finding it easier to find fault with comics they would normally roll with. The Forgiveness Factor seems to be waning.

Creatively, it might be a good thing for Marvel, again, on paper. When the Ultimate Universe was announced, there was a lot of promise that we would see writers go in directions that they would not have been able to pursue in the regular Marvel Universe. Some writers (like Mark Millar) delivered on that promise. Others were less adventurous and gave us pretty much what we had seen before with just a few tweaks. (But sales were pretty good initially, so maybe that's what comic fans really want?)

Still, it's hard for me to think that if Marvel were to do a linewide reboot that they wouldn't lose some fans. Comic fans tend to have an obsessive pride of their knowledge various universes - which is why they get so enraged when they think someone is discounting continuity. And while I sort of think Marvel has quietly waved away continuity a long time ago, an outright dismissal might be more than their fanbase could stand.

I don't expect that most readers of this blog have a real dog in this fight, as I expect a lot of you are like me and see current Marvel continuity as a big mess with no connection to the comics you read long ago, still, I'd like to hear what you think...

...would you welcome a Marvel Reboot or would you use it as a time to jump off altogether?

- Jim 


Mattkind said...

No Reboots are fucking dumb and a cancer

Eric Mesa said...

I must be a gosh-darned robot because I can't read the words and can barely hear the numbers.

ANYWAY, for the topic on hand, I'm in somewhat of a self-imposed exile from Marvel because it costs too much money to be invested in the storylines. I cared about three lines: X-Men, Spider-Man, and Fantastic Four. Spidey isn't as bad as the 90s in that there's only one book, but it's double and triple shipped. Fantastic Four is the most well behaved - although Hickman's run did require getting both it and FF for a bit and Fraction's run appeared to do the same. X-Men is a mess. At last count (a year or so ago) there were just shy of 10 titles needed to follow all the characters as they jaunted around the Marvel world. Team books had X-Men, All New X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, Astonishing X-Men, X-Men Legacy, and Wolverine and the X-Men. After Schism there was also X-Factor. Then there are all the individual ones like Wolverine, X-23, Gambit, and others. Easily $100 or more a month. All this before you add in specials because of Marvel Events. (Like AvX)

I UNDERSTAND that comics are in a precarious place and need to make more money but Marvel needs to either: LESS BOOKS per set of characters OR LESS MONEY PER BOOK and use them as loss leaders for the movies.

That said, the biggest reason I haven't completely given up on Marvel is that they tend to pay lip service to continuity. (Although retcons make short work of that) I was originally invested in the New 52, but when I realized what a mess they made of Batman (the line I cared about most) I just stopped. I'll see Batman Vol 2 through since I really enjoy the Snyder/Capullo team, but after that I'm probably pretty much done with DC. I think I'll stick to Image since many of their comics have an end point and I don't need to collect a bunch of comics to follow one set of characters. The end point, in particular, allows for much better story-telling as any character can stay permanently dead because they don't need to make the creator money for decades.

JP Cote said...

A reboot can be good if done properly. DC's transition in the 80s from their Bronze Age to Modern Age is an example of doing it right. It cleaned up a lot of continuity. It brought a fresher take and look. In movies, James Bond is the perfect example.

The New 52 is an example of a bad one. Up until the Forever Evil storyline I don't know if the reboot did much or was necessary. It didn't clean anything up and how 'fresh' is this take? And even with Forever Evil, it could have run within the pre-Flashpoint universe.

If Marvel does it, they need to do it right. Ultimate could have been that re-launch but it seemed to fizzle, like you said, get stuck in the same old, same old. I don't know if a major event would be the way to go, ala the DC Crisis. Been there, done that. Maybe an new branding with an overlap, letting the 'old' series run their course while the new ones are launched at the same time?

The problem will still be or become getting stuck in the same old stories wrapped in something shiny. Maybe they should just start with a complete retelling or modern take on the original stories.

Start with FF vs Moleman in issue #1 but update it. Continue on from there but at some point transit to new, original stories. I've always wondered what a 21st century Dr.No movie would look like. Ken Watanabe would be pretty cool in that role vs Daniel Craig or the next Bond guy. Do the same with The Marvel Universe. Bring in Kurt Busiek, Ed Brubaker, Mark Waid, whoever and say, hey, here's Spider-Man . .. start with re-telling the original stories and then take us somewhere else.

JP Cote said...

I should clarify that FF vs Moleman comment, I meant a real update rather than just 'Moleman with baglady claws'. It needs to be purposeful rather than a paint job.

Reno said...

Can they do the reboot without Hickman? I mean, come on... How many issues do you need to resolve a single plot? He makes Bendis look like a short story writer in comparison.

Konsumterra said...

reboot ultimates - all best ideas ben in mainstream universe now - mainline marvel would lose my interest forever if rebooted

Kid said...

What I find interesting is that when DC did their first Crisis back in the mid-'80s, some well-known Marvel creators scoffed, saying they'd never have to reboot their characters as they'd got them right the first time. Guess the current crop no longer think that was the case, eh?

Trey said...

I would be interested in seeing a Marvel reboot. It would cement in some of the gradual/sly retcons they 've done make more sense and allow them to start from a modern, less cluttered place.

Of course, there are also all sorts of bad ways a reboot could be handled. Half or partial reboots (as DC has been want to do) only tend to exacerbate the problems they were trying to solve--though they have at times created some good material.

GACN said...

If Marvel reboots, I will cut 80% of what I buy from them. I'd rather put my time into non-Big Two material. There is so much good stuff out there, that my budget is growing larger than I like ... dumping a big chunk of Marvel is a good solution for me! I still thank DC for allowing me to avoid spending $$$ on the 52 titles or I'd be in the poorhouse.

Jim Shelley said...

@Mattkind - I do wish you would not be so restrained when commenting. It's hard to know how you really feel. ;)

Jim Shelley said...

@Eric Mesa - Yeah, I sort of think the economics of comics make a reboot less appealing to people now that ever before. Back in the 80's when Crisis rebooted DC, it was totally feasible to try the various revamped versions. With DC 52 we saw a lot of dealers sign up for the new comics, but a lot got cancelled pretty soon which suggests readers were less willing to try each and every book.

Jim Shelley said...

@JP Cote - That's a good point about Forever Evil and Flashpoint - looking across the board, the big DC titles don't even seemed rebooted (Batman, Superman, Green Lantern) Justice sort of cancelled it's own reboot by jumping ahead 5 years in it's own storyline to present stories that could just have easily been told in the prior universe. I'm not sold Forever Evil really brought anything new to the table.

For all intents and purposes, it was a soft reboot of some titles (most of which failed) and a reboot in name only of the A list.

Jim Shelley said...

@Reno - I totally agree with you on Hickman. When he started FF I was really excited. Then I realized he was writing a story that was going to go on for 30+ issues and go all over the place. He's done the same thing to Avengers from what I've heard.

I think this is sort of problem with some modern comic writers in general. Rather than think of some brilliant self contained arcs (as Grant Morrison did with JLA) they extend a storyline for two years until you lose interest in it.

Jim Shelley said...

@Konsumterra - Yeah, at this point, I suspect a reboot of Marvel would cannibalize a lot of the best ideas brought forward in the Ultimate universe.

Jim Shelley said...

@Kid - that's funny, I didn't know that bit about the old Marvel writers attitude towards DC's Crisis. Thank you!

Jim Shelley said...

@Trey - Yeah, I was talking to Stevie B about the sly/gradual reboots (and just out and out denial of stories) that Marvel has operated with over the last decade.

Like you, I think if they were going to do a reboot, the key would be to be all chips in. Not do it half baked. I don't even think they would need to go back and redo the origins - drop us in a rebooted universe that has been going on for 10 years. Let readers experience that rush of rediscovering the Marvel Universe again.

Jim Shelley said...

@GACN - like you, I buy a lot more non-Big 2 stuff now than I ever did. I think I buy 2 Marvel comics now (maybe 3)

MattComix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MattComix said...

At this point a reboot of management and editorial regime's (and the driving philosophies behind them) for both companies would do more good than a reboot of their lines.

Like New 52 Marvel will still have the same cooks in the kitchen serving up the same shock and stunt-driven grimdark slop.

Regardless of whether Peter Parker got bit by a radioactive spider in 1962,2002, or at 1:15pm yesterday.


Related Posts with Thumbnails