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3 Things That Suck About Marvel Comics

Marvel is killing it at the box office recently, outselling DC at every turn so far in that regard. To me, it has a lot to do with Marvel's ability to weave their colossal marketing machine into some very coherent storytelling. The comics, in my opinion, have been taking a very clear dive in the quality of their storytelling; preferring to follow whatever trends the movies create instead of their own, or trying to promote a political message at the cost of coherent storytelling. Here are the top 3 Thing that suck about Marvel Comics these days.

Too much trending, not enough innovating.

The second Civil War event just got released at the tail end of the most recent Captain America film, which very loosely follows the events of the first civil war Comic event from 2002, and with the way things are going, it looks pretty obvious that this story is just an excuse to piggyback off of the runaway success of the Civil War film in order to push the Inhumans to readers, who would otherwise not give a shit.

The story revolves around a young Inhuman who can see the future. Captain Marvel and Iron Man have a very contrived and unrealistic civil war as to how, or even if the Inhuman's power should be used to prevent crimes before they happen. Captain Marvel, very unrealistically and completely uncharacteristically, supports using an Inhuman in order to prevent crimes before they happen, whereas Iron Man (of all fucking people) is against this idea. Hi-jinx ensue, War Machine dies just so that the writers can have a very contrived reason to have the two sides get into fisticuffs, and the rest is history.

We saw a very similar thing happen around the release of X-Men: Days of Future Past with the Avengers vs. XMen event comic. A Mutant with the power of the phoenix Force is caught in a power struggle between a nut-job Scott Summers (Cyclops), and a very apprehensive and seemingly disinterested Captain America over how the Phoenix Force should be used.

These contrived events serve only to establish very poorly constructed excuses to get the heroes to fight each-other. Much like what we saw in the Batman v Superman film, these scenarios rely too heavily upon lame, virtually non-existent motivation for the characters to do any of the things that lead up to the fight. This isn't merely an issue of bad writing: its bad writing with the purpose of marketing a scenario that makes no sense.

Characters with no Character

I've written a lot about how the majority of marvel's writers, with the exception of Joss Whedon, Geoff Johns ,and possibly Jonathan Hickman seem to have written the character and personality out of the Marvel Universe. Reading Civil War II was a perfect example of how characters and dialogue can be written in such a way as to be completely interchangeable between people who are saying them. Every piece of dialogue was basically the same, and no humanity seemed to leak through in any of the interactions between them.

What the vast majority of marvel stories need -but seem to lack depending on who's writing the script- are archetypes. Archetypes are a component of character dynamics in creative writing. It usually implies that the characters in any story emote varying quirks and personality traits in order to convey a sense of diversity in any group of characters in the story. Stephen King, J.J. Abrams and Stephen Spielberg all have their set of individuals in a group that provide a different character dynamic, sometimes similar to how Moon Knight's multiple Personalities work.

Spider Man has always been a good example of why characterization of a superhero is a good thing. Spider Man was not just a guy who had super strength and swung from buildings n' shit: He was a funny person, had an upbeat disposition, and a deep code of ethics. Of course, some writers -especially in the mid 90's- found every excuse in the world to make him a dark brooding emo kid with a billion different clones, but people remembered him for his character more than anything. The way most marvel writers seem to write characters now, had their dialogue not been illustrated in a bubble next to the character's face, there would be no way of telling them apart. Hell, most writers before and even DURING the Civil War event from 2002 forgot how to write Tony Stark for years until the Iron Man film from 2008 gave him his personality back.

There is a reason why characters like SpiderMan, Iron Man and Thor stand out, (even prior to the Marvel film universe,) more than characters like Blade, Ghost Rider, and even Dare Devil: The ladder's personalities don't separate them from any other stoic dark-age superhero.

Political Bias over good storytelling

I bring up the first Civil War event a lot, because in my opinion, it marks a turning point in Marvel's quality of storytelling that shifted away from stories and toward making very heavy-handed political commentary.

The first Civil War started off strong, with a group of idiots attempting to apprehend a super villain in his home for a reality TV show, winded up causing the deaths of thousands of innocent people, many of whom were children at a nearby school. Next thing you know, the Superhero Registration Act McGuffen is introduced, pinning the pro registration crowd led by Iron Man against the Anti Registration crowd led by Captain America. Sparks fly, A character nobody cared about dies, and this sparks the flame that ignites a Civil war pinning two factions of heroes against each-other in a very compelling, reasonable, and very well thought out story, with both sides of the debate raising compelling arguments for their position, until later on when everything went to shit.

There was a point in the Civil War story where it stopped remaining neutral about its argumentation, and started going full-on Alex Jones, with the plot and narrative sticking firmly on the side of Captain America, as Tony Stark began advocating, and even facilitating the indefinite detention of Anti-registration members, the fucking SLAVERY of Convicted super villains, and at one point there was some very disturbing imagery of Spider Woman's child being forcibly removed from her, (presumably to be orphaned as a ward of the state,) as she is imprisoned in an internment camp.

I feel that Marvel, as a whole, have lost their touch when it comes to telling a story of compelling conflict, especially nowadays. The focus seems to be overwhelmingly toward forcing a particular point of view, rather than encouraging us to relate to a character's struggle.

There was a point in Angela:Queen of Hel story line where both Angela and Sera stumble upon Bor, the father of Odin, presumably giving the most racist, sexist and anti-Israeli speech in the entire universe or whatever. Of course, we're never going to know what was said, since the narrator of the story decide to censor that part, straight up offending the Male Rights Activists and conservative members of the book's audience with a very cheap and inappropriate excuse to project a straw-man argument into the antagonist of the story.

Not surprisingly, the series was canceled after only four issues due to having some of the poorest sales numbers in the Marvel Lineup.

Anyone who has ever read this series can tell right away that it uses the myths of the Celtic legends as a platform to promote two lesbian protagonists, a very left-leaning narrative, and not much else. This series is a perfect example of a writer who cares more about promoting political propaganda than telling a compelling story, and I see this trend bleeding over into the rest of the Marvel Comics universe.

Marvel seems to be more concerned with how politically correct their cast of heroes are than actually telling good stories with good characters. With the All New, All Different lineup, there is far more emphasis on who is Gay, Lesbian, a woman, or Black than what their characters might convey to their readers. Characters like Falcon don't fall into this category in my opinion, because much like Captain Marvel, both were already legendary heroes who took up the mantle after their partners died, so they earned the right to do so. Jane Foster's Thor, however, did not.

Female Thor was shoehorned into the role of the god of thunder due to the writer's biased attempt to push a female protagonist in a role popularized by a man, which is frankly disrespectful, and far more Misogynist than the writers might have intended. It implies that a woman needs to appropriate the power and success of a man to succeed, which is bullshit.

Captain Marvel came off as a better transition to me, because Mar-Vell had already been dead for years, and even though the original adaptation of Carol Danvers as Ms. Marvel saw her admiring Mar-Vell as a love interest and gaining his powers, but also addresses this issue by developing the Carol Danvers character as someone who had to overcome the loss of her boyfriend and gain the confidence to honor his legacy. The Jane Foster Thor plot line just says "fuck you, Odinson, You're not worthy" and he loses his power on a whim, implying it was because the power of Thor somehow gave Jane 'plot convenience cancer' or some bullshit.

Say what you want about DC dropping the ball at the box office lately; they seem to be much more focused on telling a story in a comic book than telling you what to think.
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  1. Completely agree with this article, especially point 3. She-Thor is an abomination that should be struck from existence and never spoken of again. I hope that one day, just as we look back and cringe at the 'Dark Ages' of the 90's, we'll be able to look back at the 'SJW Age' and be thankful that we've moved past it.

  2. this is why i read independent stuff now
    dc had the new 52 abomination
    and marvel is falling over it's self to prove it's not racist or sexist by converting every character going into a minority whether it works or the fella in the other blog said ,
    comic are dying and they deserve it

  3. The article is pretty damn spot on. I used to LOVE Marvel. Other than Batman, most of my favorite characters were Marvel ones. Especially Captain America. I used to buy a lot more Marvel than DC. Now, I refuse to touch their crap. It started sliding downhill some with the "Marvel NOW!" stuff, but last few years it's really gone into the tank. Their PC/SJW BS does not make for good story telling. DC's "New 52" wasn't great, and a lot of it straight up sucked, but it wasn't the storytelling dumpster fires that Marvel's stuff is these days. Perfect example is one the author uses in his first problem with Marvel. Given Iron Man's past actions, especially in the first Civil War series and thereafter, why would HE be the one AGAINST using the "predictive" Inhuman to stop crime before it happened? It would be completely in line with his "futurist" stance he always takes.

  4. Oh! Forgot another good example of their PC BS at Marvel. It's what stopped me buying the "X" books, which seemed to go PC/SJW before the rest of their lineup. It was an issue of Uncanny X-men from about 6-7 years ago, right after they'd relocated to San Fran for whatever reason. To begin with, the first 5 pages or so are dedicated to Beast giving the mayor of San Fran a tour of their new base and explaining how ECO FRIENDLY it is. WTF? Then, to make it even worse, later in the issue, they get in a fight with some bad guys. Colossus picks up a car and hurls it one of the bad guys. Then, Emma Frost proceeds to STOP FIGHTING and lectures Colossus about how dare he throw a HYBRID car! A whole page of that crap. What the F'n F! Honestly, I stopped picking up all of the "X" titles after that, because every issue of the different series I was getting at the time had some version of that kind of PC BS in it.

  5. I know it's not going to happen, but now would be the PERFECT time for one of the smaller publishers to step-up and steal the spotlight.

    Attempting to do so would be a gamble because of the financial investment it would require for marketing and the inherent problems with fighting the Big Two, but it could pay off. And if it did...*sigh* I can dream, can't I?

    As far as I'm concerned, other than a handful of characters from each, the Big Two can either and die. It has been far too long since anything from them made sense and I'm tired of explaining to gushing young hipsters that Captain America doesn't have superstrength and Nick Fury is actually a white guy.

  6. You're lying. Civil War had HEAVY Tony bias. Mark Millar (writer of the story) said in one interview that cap was an old man who couldn't keep up with the modern world, which of course pissed a lot of people off.

  7. Marvel IS dead! What killed it? Not another comic company or online media or streaming video....but it's own ethics.....the creeping social justice, identity politics, marginalized writing, and feminism! And I should know because I grew up on Marvel in the 1970's and what they have now is a heap of one who learned to read from comics.....I'm indifferent to Marvel. They are finished, let them die.