Disclaimer: The following is an opinion piece and does not reflect the opinions of all writers of The Nerdicon. I have strong feelings on this subject that I wish to share with you. My opinion has no bearing on yours. I welcome feedback, even if you disagree. I do not mean to bash any of our readers who might be a fan of Marvel comics or other Marvel properties. Opinions are amazing, and I will respect yours if you respect mine. That being said, let’s begin.
I feel that Marvel comics quality in the recent years has been, well, terrible. Of course there are a few shining stars, such as Guardians of the Galaxy, The Ultimates, and Ultimate Spider-Man (the Miles Morales version). But the mainstream stuff has been lacking in quality as of late. To understand this disappointment, you have to understand that I really love Marvel characters. They have some of the world’s greatest characters, like Peter Parker and Steve Rogers, even Tony Stark. The way I see it is DC created the superhero, Marvel created the superhuman. Stan Lee is responsible for many of the greats: Hulk, Spider-Man, Daredevil, etc. But the head writers at Marvel nowadays have been focused more on making money and cheap gimmicky event books than actual character progression and storytelling and it really shows.
Okay, before I go on with this, for those who don’t know, an “event” in comic books is essentially only ever seen in the big two: Marvel and DC. They’re basically huge company wide crossovers that have almost every hero featured in it. This is done to sell more comic books. It also sells because everyone’s favorite hero could be in it. The event comic is not a new invention. They did it back in the 1980s with Secret Wars (fun fact: this is how Peter Parker got the black suit that would eventually become Venom) and The Infinity Gauntlet, which pitted the Marvel Universe against the Mad Titan Thanos (dear God, let that be schematic for Avengers 2). The difference being these were fun and dark without having to resort to some heavy-handed political message at the end.
Let’s begin where it all started going downhill for the company: Civil War. I will admit, I bought into the hype and read the main story and some of the tie-in comics, and for the most part it was a great event. Even though it did almost turn Tony Stark into Marvel’s equivalent of a modern day Hitler (note I say almost.) Civil War paved way for the biggest trend in Marvel comics that is still going on today. The big “hero vs hero” events. Dear lord, did these events get repetitive. Civil War essentially had the heroes fighting each other over who was right on the political issue of the Superhuman Registration Act, which required all heroes to reveal their identities to the public and become registered with the government. It was obvious that this was a metaphor for the PATRIOT Act.
Then there was Secret Invasion, which, once again, pitted hero versus hero when the Skrulls came down and replaced certain heroes with there own kind (Skrulls can shape-shift, and they are damn good at it). This was one of the worst events I had ever read, with the terrible tagline “who can you trust.” Not the writers, apparently. This was once again a heavy-handed message that was a metaphor for the war on terror.
Then we had World War Hulk, where Hulk comes back from his exile seeking vengeance on those who sent him there. Once again, pitting heroes versus heroes. Again, it was a metaphor, this time for Hurricane Katrina as seen in the blatantly obvious line, “Tony Stark doesn’t care about black people.”
Then we have the ever so popular “Vs. The Marvel Universe”. This is a series of books, and no, I’m not kidding, where it is one person or a team of people against the Marvel Universe. So far there has been the Punisher, Deadpool, and The Avengers. These of course are considered non-canon, but it is terrible that this is the kind of thinking that goes into writing comics these days when we have DC publishing the brilliant Earth One series. However, I drudged through the muck of terrible Marvel comics and stuck with them, and they seemed to be easing up on the “Heroes vs. Heroes” formula with Siege and the Heroic Age and Fear Itself.
Then we got the freaking straw that broke the camel’s back: Avengers Vs. X-Men. I was okay when they did Civil War, I tolerated Secret Invasion, and I kept my sanity while reading World War Hulk, but AvX was it. I just lost my ability to even. I saw that number 1 issue hit comic stores and I was speechless. It sounded like something from a scrapped video game. It even had story arcs that were named ofter “rounds”, like in a fighting game. I refused to waste money on something I knew was going to suck. So Marvel is no more in my mind until the fact that heroes versus villains doesn’t sound like a fresh idea.
As for the treatment of Spider-Man…I feel I am not emotionally ready to discuss that one in a calm fashion.
It is not that I am angry at Marvel. No, far from it. I am just disappointed in the lack of quality from the company, the gimmicks, the lies, everything. I will admit that DC has some gimmicks, such as the New 52, but at least some great things came out of that like Scott Snyder’s Batman, Gail Simone’s Batgirl and Geoff John’s Aquaman. Marvel, in my personal opinion, can only become great again when they realize they need to start writing good stories rather than cheap gimmicks. I used to only ever make mine Marvel, and now DC is my one hope for good superhero tales. Please, Marvel. Please return to the days when you made me smile when your characters were interesting and your plots were good. Please.