It’s no secret that Marvel is getting blown away by DC right now. Rebirth has been exactly what was promised, a universe-wide fix to fans liking. Marvel is still kind of a mess, but one that has a lot to appreciate; we need to leave Marvel Comics alone.
The All-New, All-Different and Marvel NOW! efforts introduced major changes. Marvel made an effort to diversify their comics on a large scale. They introduced a full lineup of “legacy” characters.
Some of these changes have been warmly received (Ms. Marvel) while others have not (Riri Williams). Marvel knew this was going to happen, it’s not their first rodeo. Regardless, they pushed forward and have taken their lumps along the way.
Fans have been very vocal about their displeasure with the current state of Marvel. Claiming a “forced agenda”, bad writing, or ruining their favorite hero just for the sake of doing it. Marvel knew these close minded people were out there, and were prepared for them.
For every diversified title there is also an alternative. Every All-New Wolverine, has an Old Man Logan. For every Invincible Iron Man, there’s an Infamous Iron Man. Don’t like Sam Wilson being Captain America? You can read Steve Rogers’ Captain America. Hate seeing a woman wield Mjolnir? There’s an Unworthy Thor waiting for you!
Marvel is having their cake and eating it too, and so can fans. I find myself in a minority of people who are enjoying most of the books Marvel is producing. I wasn’t on board with every major change at first, but after giving them all a chance I found that they’re nowhere near as bad as some people make them out to be.
Sam Wilson for example, this book took a while to win me over. It took some time for writer Nick Spencer to hit his stride with the character. A black man wielding the star-spangled shield is quite possibly the ultimate representation of what Steve Rogers believes in. The series recently has dived deep into racial tensions and at times eerily mirrors our own world.
Let the art speak for itself. If you wanna hate Riri Williams because it’s an Iron Man title without Tony Stark; at least give it a shot first. It’s actually pretty great, completely immersed in Stark’s world still. It’s continuing many of the threads introduced before Tony started his coma. Or you just wait it out, it’s comic books, act like you’ve been here before.
Nothing lasts forever in comics, especially alterations to a companies entire lineup of books. If you really can’t stomach a more youthful, diverse universe come back around August. After Secret Empire wraps up, Marvel is doing something major.
We don’t know exactly what Generations is going to be yet. It’s rumored to be Marvel’s answer to DC Rebirth, which makes sense. Despite their noble efforts to better the world, they’re still not selling as many comic books.
People may fear change, deny evolution, and hide behind claims of “bad writing” all they want. Marvel’s punk-rock attitude and perseverance wasn’t about them. It was about that little girl walking into a comic book shop, getting excited about picking up a comic featuring Ironheart or Ms. Marvel.
If you can find a reason to get offended or angry about little kids discovering comic books, that’s not Marvel’s problem. You can continue yelling into the Internet void about it until they bring Bruce Banner back. In the meantime, why not explore the massive catalog of back issues? See if what you want these characters to be holds up throughout history.
It’s completely understandable to have given this lineup of Marvel books a try, and found that they’re not for you. That doesn’t mean they aren’t for anyone. Personally, I don’t care much for Squirrel Girl. That doesn’t mean I think it’s an abomination and that Marvel shouldn’t make the book. It’s simply not for me.
Marvel Comics should be celebrated for their ambitious effort to evolve their lineup of comic books. It may not have been an easy ride, or a complete home run, but at least they made a statement and stuck to it.
Let’s not pretend that diversity is what drags down Marvel comics, it’s the events and constant rebooting. Not allowing readers to grow with these characters, as they’re constantly being given a new #1, is an issue. Forcing these characters into larger roles in half-constructed crossover events is what makes them seem flawed. If these two factors weren’t plaguing the 616 Universe, readers would give Marvel a longer leash.
At the end of the day, this era of Marvel will be just that, an era. Some changes will stick, others will not. Maybe Generations will be like Rebirth and revert the entire universe back to the comfortable norm. Perhaps it will just further solidify the current state of things as concrete; losing much of the older crowd in the process.
Either way, Marvel will need to earn back the trust of those unhappy readers, while maintaining a relationship with those who are newcomers. I imagine ResurreXion will be a major step in that direction. Marvel will answer DC’s success with their own, and the “big two” will be mighty again. When both companies are producing quality, and in spite of each other, comics in general are better.
How do you feel about the current state of Marvel? What titles are you currently reading? Is Generations going to be their Rebirth? I can’t be the only one on Marvel’s side, where are my fellow readers at? Let us know in the comments!