Saturday, August 20, 2011

Stop Pressing the 'Reboot' Button

This is kind of an open letter to both Marvel and DC Comics. It can be summed up in just one line.


That's really the end. But it's my blog and my soapbox, so I guess I'll rant a little bit about it here. DC is set to reboot their continuity again ENTIRELY - while some of the changes are understandable, one look at the Teen Titans (which hasn't had a steadfast lineup since they first -you guessed it- REBOOTED a couple of years ago) will show you that some of the changes are dramatic. Is that supposed to be Robin there? Because he JUST GOT A NEW COSTUME LAST YEAR! Okay, I'm going to stop typing in all caps now. Gail Simone is no longer writing Birds of Prey, which was the only DC title I was buying on a regular basis for the past year. I'll guess I'll stop that now. Granted, the new art, seeming new 'tough' direction (Superboy no longer has sleeves, so I stand by my statement), and well, lots of red do grab my eye... but I was reading Titans for awhile two years ago and it just ended up disappointing me. Should I really set myself up for failure again?

The X-Men over at Marvel are also in their own event, this time called 'Schism.' They are keeping mum about many of the details (which is stupid, since people buy 'em and read 'em anyway), but Cyclops and Wolverine have some sort of bitch fight. Some stay with Cyclops in San Francisco (yeah, that's where the X-Men currently live. It's stupid, I know) and some go with Wolverine, apparently back to the X-Mansion in Westchester where they belong. I would be overjoyed if the title wasn't Wolverine and the X-Men which is, and I'm not making this up, named after a cartoon. Wolverine is the leader of this group which is really, really dumb. Wolverine as a loner, potentially dangerous killer was always sort of his appeal. Making him the leader of X-Force was pretty dumb, and this seems also like a step in the wrong direction. But Carlos is drawing the X-Men again (his last stint was during Operation: Zero Tolerance in the '90s when I couldn't get enough) and I might just buy it to look at the pretty pictures.

Now you know what made me mad. Let's talk about why.

The reason The X-Men become and are often thought of as a beloved comic (not just by me, but by millions of readers- they still have the record for number one comic sold) is because Chris Claremont spent years -years- building those characters and giving them personalities. Yes, the language and references are a little dated. But Rogue will always be that damaged girl who can't touch anyone, Magneto will always be the villain we wish was a hero, and Kitty Pryde will always be our entryway into the everyman (or everywoman) perspective of the X-Men's world. His work building those archetypes is why people loved The X-Men, and combined with Jim Lee and Fabian's writing in the 90s (and a bitchin' cartoon) made for characters kids and adults wanted to read about.

For over a decade, it hasn't been like that. There's been inconsistent writing. Magneto is getting his head chopped off one month, then some bs explanation is given about how that was never him in the first place. Grant Morrison and Chuck Austen both did much more to hurt the X-Men over the long run than they ever did to help them. Cyclops and Emma Frost are never going to really go together, and that's a thing that been going on since Morrison's run. It's just... frustrating. There's been too many characters to keep track of for far too long. Separate books no longer feel that way- if you aren't reading everything, you just don't know what's going on. That's unacceptable.

With the notable exception of Peter David's X-Factor, which is able to maintain a degree of being it's own thing. Even the Messiah Complex tie-in which had Layla disappear for awhile and gave Madrox his Bishop 'M' tattoo seemed like it was keeping in his vision for the story. He wrote it a long time ago, and he's continued writing it for long enough that I'm interested to stay with him 'til the end. X-Men has too many writers coming and going... they need to stick with one for at least a few years. And that can be applied to ANY major comic, because most of them have the same problem. As an avid reader of comic books in my youth? I just wish they were still as good as they were, that the quality was still there. It's not, and it bums me out.

End of rant.

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