Marvel Comics recently released their solicitations for November of this year. There are a couple of things that have the Internet abuzz.
For an event named “Infinity,” it sure doesn’t last long. The first chapter has already come out, and November will see its end. But there will be very little, if any, lag time between Infinity and the next big Marvel event, which will be called Cataclysm.
The basic plot of that new event is that the characters in the Ultimate Universe (what I refer to as the U-verse) take on Galactus from the “regular” Marvel Universe (Marvel U).
WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?
Is this the end of the Marvel Ultimate line? One interesting note makes me think it is, and that’s word that Miles Morales, the Spider-Man from the U-verse, will be headed to the “regular” Marvel U.
Of course, there aren’t any spoilers regarding how long he’ll be there, such as if he’ll shift universes forever. He could just zap back to the U-verse once Cataclysm comes to an end.
But the U-verse hasn’t been doing as well as Marvel hoped, especially since the entire reason for that line of comics was to provide stories that didn’t require knowledge of decades’ worth of continuity to appreciate. When Marvel made very significant changes to the U-verse not long ago, it was clear that they found themselves in basically the same position they were when they started the line a decade before – you often had to have read the U-verse books for the last several years (at least) to get what was happening there.
However, one thing in the U-verse’s corner is the fact that many (if not all) of the Marvel Studios films are taking their cues from the U-verse version of the characters. Will Disney and/or Marvel want to adjust the Marvel U to take its place?
MM VERSUS PP
Of course, when Miles Morales took over the Spider-Man identity in the U-verse, sales hit the roof at many comics shops. Diversity has been a tough sell in the comics, but Miles caught on. For a long time, Ultimate Spider-Man has performed well, but I’ve talked with several store owners who tell me that while USM still does better than the previous version, the book’s sales figures aren’t what they used to be, which is still how an ongoing title usually performs.
Personally, I still wish comics would create new identities for “diverse” characters rather than just putting someone new in the suit. And they all talk the same talk, using words that have been in comics for years. If there’s a new hero in “the hood,” to use that old phrase, should he or she TALK like they’re from that part of town, use those idioms? I always thought so!
Also, the Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie will be out before too much longer. If fans run from their movie theaters into the local comics shops and discover that Peter Parker is nowhere to be found, the stores might very well sell a lot fewer copies because, let’s face it, the film is a huge commercial for the comics. Going away from that formula might not be as successful.
I also don’t understand the need to replace a CLASSIC character like this. Peter Parker thrived because he was more “human” than many other comics heroes. He caught colds, was challenged to lift up huge items beyond his ability, and had to use his head to get out of things. He was often out of his element. A lot of these things made readers identify with him. Peter has been around for decades, after all!
We’ve also fallen into the idea that time is often passing at the same rate in comics as it is with the readers. Peter should be long retired by now, if that’s the case. (This is where the 2099 line came from, I believe.)
Maybe Mephisto could make a return visit to Peter and once again reset his timeline? (I can hear the groaning already!)
PREDICTION: SOMEDAY SOON EVENTS LIKE THIS WILL BURN OUT
In comics as well as in television or films, EVERYTHING is a fad. NOTHING lasts forever. We tire of certain set-ups, so we change the channel. (For a great example, look at television’s CSi, which previously had two spin-offs that have vacated the airwaves, leaving only the original still creating new episodes. I don’t expect that show to be around much longer, either.)
I’m all for BIG storylines that warrant an event. But readers aren’t even getting a breather between Infinity and Cataclysm. If every month has at least ONE big event, it loses its draw after a while. It’s like printing every character in a letter you write in a bold typeface. When you highlight everything, you actually highlight nothing. I still long for the days when a great monthly comic was what attracted us to them, not linking them into events.
But I always hear the old adage, “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” I expect just about every comics company to rely on this motto until one day, apparently out of the blue, they don’t sell nearly as well as they used to. Maybe then we’ll get back to great monthly issues!