Avengers vs. X-Men

In this issue: Why can’t we all get along!? Heroes fighting heroes, an oddly delayed conversation on SOPA, and Matthew and Rodrigo attempt to convince Stephen to watch Venture Bros.

[podcast]http://traffic.libsyn.com/majorspoilers/msp377.mp3[/podcast]

Direct Download

Subscribe via iTunes

RSS Feed

Contact us at podcast@majorspoilers.com

A big Thank You goes out to everyone who downloads, subscribes, listens, and supports this show. We really appreciate you taking the time to listen to our ramblings each week. Tell your friends about the podcast, get them to subscribe and, be sure to visit the Major Spoilers site and forums.

The Author

Robot Overlord

Robot Overlord

Warning: Pregnant women, the elderly, and children under 10 should avoid prolonged exposure to the Robot Overlord. Robot Overlord may suddenly accelerate to dangerous speeds. The Robot Overlord contains a liquid core, which if exposed due to rupture, should not be touched, inhaled, or looked at. If Robot Overlord begins to smoke, get away immediately. Seek shelter and cover head. Do not taunt the Robot Overlord.

Previous post

REVIEW: Star Trek #5

Next post

Critical Hit #131: She Who Slumbers in Agony

9 Comments

  1. ZacTMac
    January 21, 2012 at 3:14 pm — Reply

    Have you guys stopped answering emails on the show? It seems like it has been awhile since I’ve heard you read listeners thoughts.

    • January 21, 2012 at 3:18 pm — Reply

      Maybe we’re saving them up…

      • ZacTMac
        January 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm — Reply

        Okay. I’ve had bad luck with sending emails to people in the past and I get bummed out. I do love the random chats.

  2. January 21, 2012 at 4:05 pm — Reply

    Minor Point: during the Venture Bros episode where Brock teamed up with the Henchmen, it was the Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend’s Wedding day. They were fighting the traitor Phantom Limb who was attempting a coup to overthrow The Sovereign of the Guild of Calamitous Intent, later revealed to be David Bowie…who had been at the ceremony to give Dr. Girlfriend away.

    Also the Venture Bros. are fraternal twins, I believe it was mentioned that Hank was a few minutes older.

    Great Podcast and Great discussion of one of my favorite shows. Thanks guys.

  3. Xian
    January 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm — Reply

    A couple of thoughts on villain threats and hero against hero writing stemming from the podcast…

    I
    For long on-going collective universes with a certain status quo, it is difficult if not impossible to have genuinely threatening or competent super villains. Since superhero books are, by their nature, about selling the status quo, the heroes have to- can and do- protect it while the villains seek to upset it but must- and do- fail. It is simply too easy to destroy, rend, murder, or decimate compared to the colossal effort it takes to stop motivated people with the means. That asymmetrical relationship means the villains must be less powerful, competent, or effective.

    In the days of less rationalized comics we went with the fantasy that good is always stronger, but with more mature audiences demanding more realistic motivations, plots, and outcomes, the status quo makes villains necessarily impotent (and to excuse the madness of their persistent failures we get something like Identity Crisis which lamp-shades it as mind-wipes), smaller in scope if not intensity (villains like Purple Man or James Gordon who can torment without changing the status quo), or villains who are tied to events.

    The event gives the villain the ability (excuse?) to shift the status quo… but since they can’t do that continuously, they are necessarily neutered in future appearances. Doomsday kills Superman. Bane breaks the Bat. They are legitimized and raise the station of villainy for a moment… but then- as all marketable IP must- they return and since they can’t KEEP killing Superman or paralyzing Batman, suddenly they’ve lost all their power. Superman now walks through Doomsday clones and copies (in his last event, didn’t he fight some seven of them?). Bane needs an entire team to do what he once did alone and is played for a bit of a laugh when once a mastermind now stumbles with simple social graces. Prometheus was The Man Who Single Handedly Defeated The League… not so much anymore.

    So the heroes are forced to collide not just because their villains have become impotent but because both sides can simultaneously protect some nuance of the status quo wholeheartedly. Whether Civil War, Identity Crisis, or other modern hero vs. hero event, it tends to revolve around something where reasonable minds can differ… and whatever the outcome, reasonable minds have prevailed (contrasted against the more Black and White conflict of heroes versus the traditional villain… there’s not a whole lot of places left to go on a monthly routine basis if the villain’s less reasonable plans of murder, mayhem, or global domination are actually accomplished). So despite the absurdity of heroes fighting each other at all, it actually ends up accomplishing many of end goals more than the alternatives.

    II
    Of course it isn’t all so lofty in the service of story, rationality, and legitimacy… sometimes, it’s purely a benchmark sort of thing.

    Comic fandom certainly attracts a sort who like to quantify, catalog, enumerate, collect, and memorize. Whether pristine mint runs, intricate continuities, or what not, there is perhaps a stronger drive to put into boxes, rank on lists, or tick a check mark by in this hobby than in other forms of casual entertainment. Heck, this site routinely has Versus Polls and a the wonderful Top Five podcast as well as Slices of Meatloaf rankings!

    So Superman racing Flash isn’t really going to shake the foundation of either character or really change the status quo irrespective of who wins, but nonetheless as fans, we want to know! (And the writers, being smart, tend to keep wiggle room in the contests so that they’re far from definitive so that they can sell it to us all over again in a few months) The writers feed this habit which is why poor villains like Lady Shiva becomes benchmarks that the Bat Family beats on to prove their martial prowess. Or punching bags like Gladiator get beat up. We get titles like “The Third Smartest Man” for Mr. Terrific (greatest intellect in Mr. Fantastic) despite the fact smarts don’t work that way or can be ranked in that manner. Despite knowing the world is more complex than that, that random outcomes are routine, “Any Given Sunday” and all that… we want and take comfort in absolutes like Batman being the World’s Greatest Detective, The Fastest Man Alive, The Strongest There Is, etc which help us quantify our comic book worlds.

    III
    Regarding the Versus series, while it is obviously commercially driven, I also think it has a lot of potential. Once of the big differences between mainstream American comics and foreign manga/manwha/manhua/etc. is the level of “animation” and decompression of action sequences. With a monthly schedule, 16-20 pages of content, and generally higher costs (production values)… American comics simply can’t afford the same kind of decompressed, highly choreographed, dynamic fights that make up the backbone of many popular shonen (boys’ manga). We’re lucky if we get three pages of a single sequence in an issue… most of the time it’s a lot of jump cuts, splash pages, and ambiguous posing which imply combat but don’t tell the story of combat the way much manga does or more independent works sometimes do. And while fight choreography might be more of an asian cultural thing, I think it has broader crossover appeal to us Westerners than densely written talking heads do to the world at large.

    So this, in theory, should mean Marvel gets to have their cake and eat it too. The main storyline and traditional dense storytelling takes place in the proper event books but those flashy fights- which have drawn readers into absorbing stories and heroes of an entirely other culture- get a place to breath, shine, and sell as well.

    For my part, this is under a big assumption that you get art and choreography driven fights rather than fights as merely a premise for more storytelling. If the latter, you’ll get another debacle like DC’s “Countdown: Arena” which promised all the visceral match-ups and pure fighting action, but instead spent so much time on it’s clumsy setup and inconsequential plot. Instead of just accepting its absurdity, taking it as a boon, and running with it to deliver on fights, it spent 9/10ths of its pages apologizing for its existence… explaining why this was happening and why it didn’t matter, just give us the fights! (And to the extent it gave us fights, those sucked too… “styles make fights”, we like to see different characters and approaches… but they had clones fight spin-offs- Batmen v. Batmen and the like… such wasted potential)

    Bottomline, sure it is a cash grab, but if I get manga-quality (or “style” in the sense of approach not art style) fights for it, Marvel can have it!

    • LemmyCaution
      January 23, 2012 at 1:37 am — Reply

      I wholeheartedly agree with a lot of that, but most especially paragraph two of section III. I made a similar point myself. I think it’s *better* storytelling this way.

  4. GeorgeDubya
    January 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm — Reply

    Great episode guys. I love that I’ve now learned through shout outs that I’m both a noted 19th century journalist and a member of the Three Stooges!

  5. LemmyCaution
    January 23, 2012 at 1:11 am — Reply

    OK, let me preface this by saying I enjoyed this latest issue of the Major Spoilers Podcast, like virtually all of them. And so if I don’t dole out praise on a subject, it’s because what I heard was up to your usual high quality. I mention this because I don’t want to be someone who only posts to complain, and I actually try to offer posts that are both positive and critical in nature (not necessarily at the same time!). So please don’t take this as a rant. It’s not. It’s meant constructively. I have two points I wish to offer.

    First, in regards to AvX Versus, I am not sure if Stephen’s comments about this being a blatant money grab were entirely his personal opinion, because sometimes he takes on the devil’s advocate role. But I am going to assume he did mean it. I would suggest that his characterization of what Marvel is doing is a bit off the mark. I take Brevoort’s comments in a different way, and that these books contained less of the dramatic arc of the story and a lot of action. But they are still connected to the story. From what I remember so far from Marvel, there is no FrontLine this time out, just the main miniseries and these Versus issues. So by default, they would *have* to have the “least connection” to the overall story. There is only a choice of two, and one is the main miniseries. A “money grab?” Isn’t everything that Marvel publishes a “money grab?” People want to read these (I do), so what is wrong with publishing them? The fact that people are buying something that one finds distasteful is not the fault of the publisher, it’s the fault of the buyers.

    My idea of Marvel “money grabs” are things like “Necrosha” and “Age of X,” both of which promised these long lasting repercussions into the Marvelverse, and were promptly ignored. Long-lasting? We got Blink and Doug Ramsey back… that’s not much. They could have done some explanation with Blink and Dougie that said something about the state of Mutants in the Marvel universe. Something about how when a few of the 198 died, there was “space” now to allow other mutants to exist in the 616 Universe. But it was never explored in any way that I can tell. Just hype, a bunch of smeary art, and nothing more. That is what I think of as a money grab. And “Age of X” turned out to essentially be a dream. It’s hard to make a dream have any meaning within in a work of fiction. It’s a fiction within a fiction, and it takes a skilled author and a lot of care to make that compelling. I haven’t seen “Inception,” but people tell me it works there pretty well.

    The fact that Marvel comes right out and states what these books are and how they relate to the main title is refreshing. You can read them all, pick one or two Versus titles up if you care about only the heroes in those books, or ignore them completely and focus on just the main miniseries book without missing anything. This should shorten the overall length of the event and hopefully concentrate the drama in the main title. And I kinda like the title “Avengers Versus X-Men: Versus.” It explains what it is quite simply.

    OK, my second point to bring up is the advert for Comixology within the episode. Stephen, I am glad they are onboard, because you deserve the money. Once I am back on my feet, I want to help support you guys as well. But I cannot at this time. And I am sure you went to a lot of effort to get them as a sponsor.

    I would simply suggest that when you do an endorsement ad within the episode, you do something to set it apart from your main discussion. A simple bumper or even just a stinger before and after would help to set it apart from your main interactions, and I think it would better protect your “journalistic” integrity (I only use the quotes there because I don’t know if you would use that term for yourself, but I think you can infer my meaning).

    When it came up in the middle of this issue, I expected to hear Stephen talking about different ways to access comics from multiple vendors. So it was odd hearing only about Comixology and then having that part sort of trail off with minimal input from Matthew and Rodrigo. Again, I am in no way asking you not to do these in-episode ads, I just think they should be identified. If the overall discussion had been about digital publishing of comic books, the whole thing would have been confusing. Perhaps your deal prevents you from mentioning other venues of digital comic publishing, which would be unfortunate. There is no way to tell because it is blended into the main show.

    I wouldn’t even be adverse to hearing Stephen announce that what he is about to be talking about is an advertisement/endorsement. I only say these things because I want to make a suggestion that I think will help you to preserve your artistic integrity. Because I think what you do here on your podcast is a work of creative art.

    Thanks for hearing me out. I will be able to live without any changes at all and still enjoy the show.

    One last thing… looking forward to hearing Ms. Ashley on the show one day doing a review.

    Gooooo Ashley!

You know you have something to say, say it in the comment section