Saturday, January 13, 2018

Reader's Diary #1708- Various artists and writers: Marvel Generations

Marvel readers are no doubt aware that almost all of their legacy characters have been replaced, somewhat, in recent years. The somewhat is the problem. The publishers seem not to know what to do with the divisions among their fans. Some, most likely for nostalgia, want the heroes to stay the same, be the same characters they grew up with. Others welcome the changes, as the new characters are more diverse and it's about time. Personally, I see where these sides are coming from (except for the racist, sexist, bigoted sides-- your side can go to hell), and my solution would be to simply introduce brand new diverse characters rather than rewrite the old ones. That one would take a longer investment than I think Marvel, a rather short-sighted company, is willing to take on. They typically, very half-heartedly, try a new character for a single arc of comics, find that it hasn't sold as well as familiar characters and cancel it. The promotion is almost non-existent, they don't back it up with t-shirts and other merchandise, and most importantly, they've not exhibited any patience.

In the case of the newer variants on the old, Marvel seems unwilling to commit fully and write the old ones out of existence. Yes, we have a female Thor now, but the old one is still around. Likewise for Iron Man (sort of), Hawkeye, and a bunch of others. This doubling will be problematic down the road, I suspect (and some would argue, it already is), but for now Marvel Generations was at least a good way to catch people up on the newbies and to celebrate the legacies.

These were enjoyable, if somewhat, inconsequential stories. In all cases, the new characters found themselves plucked from their current existence and meeting their namesakes at some point in the past, prior to them having met in the real/ current time. The new ones all know enough about time travel to try and keep a low profile, but all wind up in various battles, fighting side by side, and then returning. Some of the authors try to give the stories more importance, tacking on lessons they've learned about themselves or their roots, but those angles seemed forced and non-canon. It's best to just enjoy these for their entertainment value.

As there are various creators taking part, the quality is a mixed bag, though none are terrible and some are quite good (G. Willow Wilson's writing, the artists on the Spider-Man story, for example).

There are a few other characters that could have made it in but did not for whatever reason (e.g., Wasp) but one omission I found most glaring was Nova and the reason is that the two Nova characters are included on the cover! I'm guessing they initially planned to include them?

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