I was reading The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett when I ran into this quote.
Then the Dean repeated the mantra that has had such a marked effect on the progress of knowledge throughout the ages.
“Why don’t we just mix up absolutely everything and see what happens?” he said.
And Ridcully responded with the traditional response.
“It’s got to be worth a try,” he said.”
That’s how I feel about these two events coming out of DC Comics and Marvel Comics. These are the premises straight from Wikipedia.
Set on a world outside time and space, Brainiac has used his access to Vanishing Point to roam the history of the DC Universe. Using it to abduct heroes from different lost and defunct eras (pre-Flashpoint, pre-Zero Hour and pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths) and across the multiverse, Brainiac amasses a collection of 40 cities. Taking them to this mysterious world within domes (very much like the one that he has kept the city of Kandor from Krypton in over DC publication history) he opens them to see what happens. The ensuing chaos pits various DC heroes and villains and their historic or multiverse counterparts against each other as a villain known as Telos arises to take advantage of it all.
Marvel’s Secret Wars
The basic premise involves the collision of the Marvel 616 Universe with the Ultimate Marvel Universe which destroys both. But pieces of the two universes – with other universes – are mysteriously saved and combined with other post collision universes creating the “Battleworld”.
All the DC characters you remember existing pre-New 52 are now trapped under a dome by Braniac fighting characters from other universes that you don’t give a damn about. Everything you can think of is being thrown at the wall for this event. Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain are back but so is all the characters from Flashpoint. Kyle Rayner is in his ugly original costume once again but so is Hal Jordan in his Parallax costume. I guess they figured the New 52 never really did bring in new readers so they decided to write a comic that included years and years of history in eight forty page comics and hope nobody cries.
Meanwhile over at Marvel they’ve been trying to figure out a way to get rid of their failing Ultimate line for years, the problem is they created a hugely successful character in Mile Morales. The Ultimate Universe exists to this day because of MIles Morales but having a comic book universe for one successful character doesn’t make sense in the long run.
So they came up with this idea of smacking the Ultimate universe and the 616 Universe (which is the original Marvel universe for those not in the know) to see what kind of chaos comes out of these two universes having to coexist. If the event doesn’t end with Miles Morales in the regular Marvel Universe and the Ultimate line over with I’ll be surprised. The only other result I can think of is the Marvel Universe being completely reset.
It’s not the long history of both DC Comics and Marvel’s continuity that makes me disinterested. To me, it looks like when I try to spring clean by emptying all my shelves and draws at once then organize it all in one day. Just looking at the solicitations is such a mess it gives me a headache. How can you possibly get a coherent story by throwing in every version, every universe, every character of your entire history? How? Then how can you possibly write a good story with that? I don’t think you can and I certainly don’t think you can write one good enough to be $4.99 an issue.
To me, from both publishers, it sounds like Countdown to Final Crisis, a much chagrin and poorly review weekly series, all over again.
Sometimes in interviews comic book writers complain about continuity, that it can be a shackle to creativity in comics. This however, is too much freedom from continuity. Continuity can be a structure for which you write your story and to throw that away for an event comic in no way seems like a good idea.
Plus it’s kind of insulting to let fans have this taste of characters and histories that have gone away in comics for a couple months only to take it away in their post-event comic world. No thank you.
Featured image by Charlie Layton.