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What Are You Tired of Seeing in Comic Books?

September 8, 2021 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Crisis on Infinite Earths Image Credit: DC Comics

Welcome back! I’m Steve Gustafson and if you enjoy discussing anything comic book related, you’ve come to the right place. Each week we cover something in the industry and I always enjoy your input in the comment section below.

Previously on…

Last time we discussed The Next Phase of Marvel Comics. Here’s what some of you had to say:

Gil: “Looks like the only thing I might be interested in is She-Hulk. And I’m hoping the current “Hulk” She-Hulk will be a thing of the past.”

Benjamin Kellog: “Two of these stick out most to me because they tie in to some of my FCBD picks and recent LCS purchases. About two years ago, I got for Christmas a big Avengers box set filled with iconic stories from across the team’s history, one volume of which contained the original “Avengers Forever,” which I grew to love in an instant. This year’s Avengers FCBD tale felt like a natural extension of that classic’s overall premise (If the team in that book hadn’t been forced back into their original time periods, they would’ve totally developed an interdimensional watchtower to police the multiverse, right?) which genuinely made me interested in whatever it was leading toward, and any team book involving a large group of top-notch villains will have my attention, especially if it involves DR. DOOM!
My aforementioned “Forever” admiration extends to a potential future investment in “Timeless,” because it made Kang and his interconnected web of alter egos one of my new villainous obsessions. It was a no-brainer for me to seek out the first issue of the current “Kang the Conqueror” miniseries; I’m not entirely satisfied with the direction of the story arc, but I am planning on riding it through to the end to get a fuller sense of Kang’s history, and the notion that this heroic version will be featured a bit more in the coming year has put this even more on my radar.
I might’ve otherwise overlooked “Devil’s Reign,” not being the biggest fan of Bendis-style noir that has colored DD’s world for seemingly forever now. However, then I saw the ending panel of the Daredevil story in “FCBD Spider-Man/Venom” with much of the recognizable street-level Marvel heroes lying dead at Mayor Fisk’s feet, evoking that age-old question many a reader has enjoyed at one time or another, “How did we get here?” That alone is what makes me want to check that out.
I’m surprised the other FCBD tales and their respective offshoots weren’t mentioned in this press release, but then again, we’ve sort of already seen Ben Reilly Spidey, space knight Venom, and Hulk going into space, so they’re probably not going to be the most outstanding tales of the year. I’m still going to seek them out, though.”

Some awesome comments last week! Thanks for the input and keep it coming!

This week we discuss…

What Are You Tired of Seeing in Comic Books?

Here’s a topic that I like to revisit from time to time because it always draws out a nice spectrum of responses. What are we tired of seeing in comics?

Let’s start with the easy stuff first. Events.

How many times have we mentioned event fatigue is grinding down fans? Crisis on Infinite Earths, Legends, Millennium, Cosmic Odyssey, Invasion!, Armageddon 2001, War of the Gods, Eclipso: The Darkness Within, The Death and Return of Superman, Knightfall, Bloodlines, Trinity, Worlds Collide, Zero Hour, The Final Night, Genesis, DC One Million, Our Worlds at War, Silver Age, Identity Crisis, DC Comics Presents, Infinite Crisis, 52, World War III, Countdown to Final Crisis, Final Crisis, Blackest Night, Brightest Day, Flashpoint, Trinity War, Forever Evil, Contest of Champions, Secret Wars, Secret Wars II, Mutant Massacre, Fall of the Mutants, Evolutionary War, Inferno, Atlantis Attacks, Acts of Vengeance, X-Tinction Agenda, Muir Island Saga, The Infinity Gauntlet, Operation: Galactic Storm, Infinity War, X-Cutioner’s Song, Rise of the Midnight Sons, Infinity Crusade, Maximum Carnage, Fatal Attractions, Bloodties, Child’s Play, Phalanx Covenant, Starblast, Fall of the Hammer, Clone Saga, Legion Quest, Age of Apocalypse, Onslaught Saga, Heroes Reborn, Flashback, Operation: Zero Tolerance, The Hunt for Xavier, The Magneto War, Maximum Security, Apocalypse: The Twelve, X-Men: Eve of Destruction, Infinity Abyss, Avengers Disassembled, House of M, Civil War, Annihilation, World War Hulk, Annihilation Conquest, Messiah CompleX, Secret Invasion, Dark Reign, War of Kings, Siege, The Thanos Imperative, Fear Itself, Avengers vs. X-Men, Age of Ultron, Infinity, House of X / Powers of X…

And that’s not even all of them. I could list off another 20 easily. Now it’s true, some are better than others but just looking at the above, that’s a lot of events over the years. How much impact did these events have short-term and long-term? Each event seems to be a set-up for the next one and too often you have a couple issues that nothing seems to happen. Not only that, you often have to pick up individual issues of a particular book just to get an idea of what’s happening. Events are quickly losing their power and while they still give a quick boost to sales, diehard fans usually avoid the hype. That’s only going to grow more as both Marvel and DC will tie there cinematic universes and comic universes together and start mega-crossover events that retcon all we know and love. The day is coming.

Speaking of retcons, just because we’re used to them doesn’t make them any more likable. Hal Jordan’s Emerald Twilight, Teenage Iron Man, Spider-Man’s One More Day/Brand New Day, Identity Crisis..I could go on listing but we all have that retcon that’s like a thorn in our side. Can anyone tell me how many times Hawkman has been retconned? How about the X-Men? I get it though. Sometimes you have to fix bad writing. Too often they fix it with poor planning and even poorer writing. All one needs to do is to pick up the latest issue of Green Lantern to start the process of figuring out what DC is doing with Jordan.

What happens when a retcon doesn’t work? RELAUNCH! Why? Because everyone knows that when you relaunch, you’re able to slap a #1 on the cover and those sell! Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Thor, name just about any big name title and chances are they have a number of relaunches under their belt. New creative team? RELAUNCH! New direction? RELAUNCH! New costume? RELAUNCH!

If it’s not a relaunch then it’s an unnecessary spin-off or multiple books. Wolverine was the poster child of this trend back in the day. But we don’t have to look far (Deadpool, X-Men, Green Lantern) to see this practice is alive and well today.

Which leads into death in comics. The majority of readers know that when they announce a character is dying that really means that they are going away for a while but will be back. Eventually. Wolverine is a perfect example of this. With all mutants new status quo in the Marvel universe, expect this one to get plenty of action in the near future.

Let me cut in and say that I don’t denounce all of these items across the board. We do get some cool relaunches and spin-offs from time to time. Rare. But it happens.

At the end of the day, I’m a comic book fan. From helping me learn to read (seriously!) to giving me a respite and allowing me to meet some really cool people, comic books are awesome.

What needs to take a break in comic books?

That’s all the time I have. See you next week!

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Comics 411, Steve Gustafson