Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art. – Leonardo da Vinci
Hello, Marvel Writers!
Age of Ultron is finally complete – oh, wait. Now time and space are going to explode unless Henry Pym figures out whatever miscalculation he made and fixes it.
But with time and space starting to fall apart, that still leaves a lot of room for our heroes to get thrown into the drainage system by having them go up against threats from parallel universes. Some universes are going to have bad guys our heroes have beaten come knocking on their doors (and likely, a lot of these alternate heroes are going to lose to these bad guys miserably). All this will occur while our Avengers, FF, X-Men, etc., have to deal with bad and good guys they’ve never heard of who are angry as heck over having their universes cracked open.
How do you keep everything straight, fellow writers? The way the Marvel Universe(s) are splintering up, I’m surprised that none of you have suffered a mental breakdown yourselves.
What exactly is the point of running our heroes full-tilt until they break? Back when the comics started, Spidey, Iron Man, and the others all had days where as soon as they walked in the front door, they had to dash out the back and suit up again. That was fine. Everyone inside and outside of fiction has days where it seems like they can’t catch a moment of relaxation.
But to have things this chaotic nearly 24/7 for everybody is just too much. It’s too much for me, for a start. The television shows and movies are less complicated than the comic book story arcs of the past twenty years. They are also a heck of a lot more enjoyable – and yes, I said that about animated television shows, which are typically for young children. That’s how bad, how plain trashy, the comics have become.
So, why do this? I have some theories. Let me run them by you:
You’re doing this because “People want what’s next.” I have to admit, there are stories in the comics where I put one down and I want more almost instantly. I have days like that for a lot of different good fiction.
This, however, is more of the same. This is more of the same running pell-mell through the streets, more war-between-heroes (although this usually takes the form of verbal abuse of teammates), more the-world-is-going-to-end-and-it’s-all-our-fault stupidity.
What I want more of when I read about my favorite Marvel heroes is camaraderie, battle-bond banter, and good old-fashioned flattening of the villains. Age of Ultron has none of that, and neither do the arcs preceding it. I won’t be holding my breath for the pattern to change any time in the next few days/months/years. So no, you don’t get to see me go as blue as Nightcrawler.
Another theory I have relates to the-world-is-going-to-end-and-it’s-all-our-fault theme. This has been on the Marvel menu since at least the early nineties. People thought when the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve of 1999/2000 that Ragnarock would erupt.
The calendar reads summer of 2013 and the planet’s still spinning. I think the Marvel Universe can stop collapsing now, don’t you?
On the other hand, I would say that you enjoy seeing the X-Men or the Avengers always threatening to slice each other to pieces. After all, why should heroes be friends? Many of them have limitless (or nearly limitless) power. Why hold it back? Why should Cyclops always be a goody two-shoes? Why shouldn’t the Hulk get to go on a rampage across an entire planet?
Hmm, I don’t know. Maybe because the Hulk is not the monster that everyone wants to believe he is? Maybe because Cyke is a natural good guy? Maybe because “With great power comes great responsibility”? Throwing power around wantonly is about as irresponsible as you can get.
You want my honest opinion, fellow writers? I think that you are doing this because you are trying to make a statement about the world we live in. What statement is that? The-world-is-going-to end-and it’s-all-our-fault? If these stories don’t change it will be. Stories are what give people hope for a brighter, better future. Where was the hope in Age of Ultron? Where’s the hope at its end? Please enlighten me, because all I see in the story is nothing. Nil. Nada. Zip.
There is nothing hopeful in Disassembled. There is only pain in Civil War and Avengers vs. X-Men. What’s the point? To tell us we’re all evil and deserve death? To tell us that we’re parasites worth no more thought than any insect?
That is not the purpose of any legitimate story. As previously stated, that is not the Purpose of Heroes.
The purpose of both stories and heroes is to remind us that we are worth something. The purpose is to remind us that we always have a choice, we always have a chance. That there is always a way out or that there will always be sunshine after the storm. As bad as things get there will always, always, be something better when the trouble is over.
Yeah, maybe more trouble will crop up immediately after the first is gone. Does that mean we should give up? No. It means ‘sailing by ash breeze,’ or rowing forward until we catch the wind.
There is always a way to win. Heroes and stories are reminders of that. Without those reminders, the world gets that much duller.
So the choice is yours, fellow writers. Are you going to keep running our heroes until they break, the way that a truck’s engine will during a sled pull when the weight is too much? Or are you going to give everybody, heroes and fans alike, some real hope?
It’s up to you. Because “Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.” We’re the admirers. You are the artists. For crying out loud, start behaving like artists!!!
Mithril (A Frustrated True Believer)