Monday, May 18, 2009

"Hidden connection" stories. Why?!?

I was reading Newsarama's advance look at Marvel's August solicitations today at THIS LINK and something caught my interest -- and no, it wasn't Marvel milking yet another pseudo-milestone with "Daredevil #500."

Written by ED BRUBAKER
Pencils & Cover by STEVE EPTING
Variant Cover by GERALD PAREL
70th Anniversary Party Variant by PHIL JIMENEZ
The centerpiece of Marvel's 70th Anniversary celebration! Who is the mysterious old man who lies on his deathbed in a hospital in 1939, and how does his passing mark the beginning of the first heroic age of the Marvel Universe — and signal the rise of the superhumans? Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting unveil the defining story of the origin of the Marvel Universe, revealing the hidden connections that unite the earliest costumed champions, and whose reverberations are felt dramatically into the present day!

Am I the only one feeling like lately we're getting waaaay too many of these "it turns out the whole universe is connected!" stories? I'm ok with it on a limited basis, like finding out one character happened to be a part of another one character's past (the first such example is how Geoff Johns used Superman's past recently to validate Brainiac), but do we really need these big sweeping "everyone is connected!" stories?

I feel like it started with the second season of "Heroes" -- and look how well that turned out! I don't remember anyone feeling the need to make all of their main characters interconnected until Tim Kring and company decided to make every stranger who met each other in season one suddenly a long-lost cousin or test-tube relative of everyone else on the show. And frankly, I felt like in trying to do that, all realism and potential for the show's future was tossed out the window.

And yet, shortly after that, Marvel went and printed the "Ultimatum" crossover, making everyone in the Ultimate Marvel universe (which was nicely and intentionally devoid of heavy continuity), a part of each other's origins. Coincidentally (or maybe consequently) it was written by then-"Heroes" writer Jeph Loeb. The idea was a bomb, the crossover is a bomb and most of us who read multiple "Ultimate" titles up until that point are stuck wondering why Marvel would do such a thing.

But now we have this "The Marvels Project," which apparently is going to try to do it all over again, this time with the mainstream characters we know and love. What's the point? As I said back when "Ultimatum" was beginning, who is crying out for all of our characters to be connected? Does that notion really interest anybody, other than event-hungry publishers?

At it's heart, it's one big retcon, the dirty word in comicdom. Don't companies do their darnest to discourage the idea that retcons of any sort exist? So why are we getting so many of these horrible waste of time "everyone's connected!" stories?

You vote with your wallets. And companies don't seem to care about quality as much as profits. So do us all a favor and, despite the all-star creative team of Brubaker and Epting, PASS on this event.

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