Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A Correction, A Rant!

- A Correction

In my last Pull List, I talked about how excited I was about a new issue of The Pulse coming out, as it was a return of Michael Gaydos to the book and praise, celebration, huzzah, ect.

On Monday, I walked into a comic book shop for the first time in two weeks, which for me is much longer than it sounds. Comicazi was in near a job interview I had this morning, so I was doing little skips and hops up the street when I realized that I had an excuse to make the trip to a comic shop! I perused the shelves and what did I see upon the cover of The Pulse #10?


House of M
, you've screwed me again.

It turns out that this month was their "Super Fun Cross-Over Month".

By "Super Fun Cross-Over Month," I mean, "Did we just END a story that crossed over with The Secret War? What is HAPPENING here? Why can't these characters have their own stories with out CRAZY SUPER-PEOPLE CHANING THE ENTIRE WORLD!?" Alias was an amazing stand-alone book, with the occasional "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern/Jessica Jones & Luke Cage" moments behind the scenes of Daredevil, I don't mind that it's about the Daily Bugle now, but... I'd really like it to be about the Daily Bugle now.

So I guess the birth of Jessica's baby is next issue? Soon? I hope.

- A Rant!

A reality-altering mutant has changed the past! The future is NOW, and one of the X-Men's most deadly adversaries has become the ruler of the planet, and only a select few characters really know what's happening! Can the few remaining heroes save us from...
The Age of Apocalypse?!?

Oh... Sorry... The House of M?!?

It's disappointing when a company goes back and mines old ideas in lieu of fresh ones, and it's simply annoying when they're Super Epic Mega Events that effect every and anyone who reads a Marvel comic on a monthly basis. This time around it's just sad, as the House of Ideas apparently ran out, and recycled a 10-year-old X-Men story, but applied it to the entirety of the Marvel U.

For those not following along:
Ahoy, Matey! Spoilers Ho!
The Scarlet Witch, after going nutty nuts and killing a bunch of Avengers, has altered the entire reality Marvel Comics are based on and put her Daddy (Magneto), in charge. Unlike The Age of Apocalypse, which was a horrid wasted landscape, The House of M seems to be a bit of a utopia... unless you're human. "Sapiens" are slowing being wiped out by the Marvel version of evolution, which doesn't mean natural selection so much as it means "LAZOR EYES!" Now it's up to a small group of resistance to put things back the way they were, lead by Hawkeye (Wasn't he... dead?), and Wolverine (Ugh, AGAIN?) who both know something's wrong... for some reason.
End Spoilers!

There are a few things that strike me as odd about all this:

- Why Now?

The dots on DC's pointillist potential masterpiece are coming together across the street, and plans laid down two years ago by the three most influential writers on the payroll are coming to fruition. When all this is going on, and you re-hash a ten year old plot that really was sort of a bore at the time, don't you think there'll be some unfavorable comparisons?

Perhaps that's why they've resorted to hype for a great deal of the publicity involved with THoM. Whereas DC has been able to let the comics do the talking, and let fans see for themselves the plans laid over the last few years, Marvel's epic event is so sudden, and as on of my friend's put it "seemingly knee-jerk" that they can't do that. This has left Joe Quesada and Brian Bendis are sounding more like carnival barkers and snake-oil salesmen of late, with their claims long-lasting effects and things we've never seen before. I'm sure The House of M will also cure all ailments, turn straw into gold, and bring Jean Grey back from the dead as well, fellas. This leads me into my next point...

- Why Should We Believe You Guys?

This story is supposed to change the nature of the Marvel Universe and effect all the characters dramatically, but... it's so sudden. It feels like Daredevil throwing on his Armored Costume, or Superman turning blue and having electricity powers... A gimmick that a company uses to grab some quick sales and attention: something that just won't last. A few things sort of grabbed my attention and turned it that way.

When Avengers Disassembled was published, Bendis had said something along the lines of "this is a story I've wanted to do for years..." Recently he was quoted over at Newsarama saying this (click here for full article):

"After Avengers Disassembled I was in full 'not realizing what I was saying out loud' mode. I said, “You know, Wanda is now the worst fear of the Avengers and the X-Men. She's the worst case mutant scenario... ever!” I thought, you know a couple of my minis had done pretty well and they were asking for others, and I thought this was a damn good idea for a mini. The Marvel gang turned it into this."

So this whole business isn't something they've been cooking up forever, it's an idea that's 8 months old, at the latest. Being 8-months old doesn't make it a bad idea, but as far as Continuity Shattering events go, it loses some credibility.

The other big clue that's putting doubt in my mind is this, The House of M Checklist.

Take a look at it.

In the big event that is "the worst fear of the Avengers and the X-Men", do you see any titles missing? Pre-House of M, Marvel's top selling (top 25), non-Ultimate titles are, in order: Astonishing X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine, Amazing Spider-Man, Young Avengers and Fantastic Four. Bendis' New Avengers also consistently cracks the top ten, but was delayed in May. In April it topped the charts at #1. So out of these, the hottest Marvel U titles, a whopping two are directly involved in The House of M.

Part of me is glad that they're not interrupting the regular books, that you can sort of turn away from it and only buy "House of M: Spider-Man" if you're interested... but that only works if you're reading a hot-hot-hot book. If you're picking up Ed Brubaker's Captain America, you get a sharp stick in the eye as the Winter Solider mystery gets interrupted. See above for my frustrations regarding The Pulse. Even if you are one of the people that just read, say, Spider-Man, Astonishing X-Men, and Fantastic Four, turning your back on THoM, guess what? It'll apparently be affecting those titles as soon as House #8 wraps up! Time to buy the trades!

Really, when it's all boiled down it's clear that my problem with The House of M isn't necessarily the story itself, it's Marvel's handling of it: the hype, the execution, the potential aftermath. Time will tell if it's something I can look back on and enjoy in the future.

This has been the summer of the Epic Event, of the Continuity Cross-Over, with House of M, Countdown to Infinite Crisis, and Seven Soldiers all taking up self space. So I'm saddened as a Marvel fan that in the battle of The Great, The Bad, and The Grant Morrison, Countdown has been pretty good, and House of M sure isn't Grant Morrison.


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