Marvel’s plans for May onwards were probably the biggest news in comics this week, and I’m sure Cookie will offer his thoughts in his upcoming comics roundup this Sunday. But I’m here to roll out some of my thoughts on the matter: because I am conflicted oh so much about the upcoming Secret Wars and the emergence of Battleworld. If you want some specifics about Marvel’s plans, you could try marvel.com (really badly worded in comparison to what was said during the press event that announced it), IGN and Newsarama.
Time to say bye to continuity, for now
The whole event in May will lead to a severe case of cherry picking when it comes to what elements from the MU at large make it into Battleworld. This means that one of my biggest issues with the Marvel universes (and DC as well) is that continuity of characters involved will at least be simplified for a time. This is a massive bonus to people like me who feel that mainstream comics are slaves to continuity.
But I also feel sorry for people who have been reading around specific Marvel series/characters for quite some time, investing in them, who will find that their experiences of those series or characters won’t be so important going forward from the Secret Wars comics. After all (as Newsarama reported), Marvel’s Editor-In-Chief, Axel Alonso, said at the event’s announcement that:
“If we wanted to resurrect Gwen Stacy,” he said with a smile, “this would be the place to do it.”
Considering how big of an impact her death had on many Spider-Man fans, it almost seems cruel. But then people like me who are Wolverine fans can now be all like, “Logan could come back…”
It’s another big event to boost sales
While I see it as a way to clean up continuity and potentially make Marvel comics more approachable, the announcement didn’t make it seem like that. No, what became apparent is that they’re hoping the whole thing will help them shift more comics, potentially splintering things in ways that mean that people would have to buy even more issues than they currently are in order to keep an eye on their favourite characters going forward. As Newsarama reported:
Alonso confirmed that Marvel would be launching a “wealth” of new series, both ongoing and minis, during Secret Wars.
This is not the first event of its kind, nor will it probably be the last, but when you read that there’s going to be a focus on quantity going forwards, you start to wonder if Marvel will still be worried about quality. Obviously the catalogue of Marvel comics being published right now is huge, but nothing is telling me that in order for anyone to keep abreast of their favourite character going forward (if they make it to Battleworld) that they’ll have a simplified shopping situation should they be buying single issues.
Uninspired? Juvenile? Boring? It sounds like the event will boil down to what appears to be fighting and who can hit hardest. I don’t expect comic book super heroes to always solve problems with the right word there and a bunch of flowers here, but “Battleworld” sounds like a very unimaginative start to the new Marvel universe. The name makes me think the new comics will start out with skirmishes and battles as versions of characters fight for supremacy to become the one of their kind in this new, singular universe. Of course maybe the characters will just play rock, paper, scissors among themselves until they decide who will get to exist.
But what do you think of Marvel’s move? Are you for continuity being simplified or does your comic book collection feel betrayed? Let me know in the comments.