Thursday, November 25, 2010

Marvel's heroic age

Marvel's "Heroic age" has been going strong for a little while, and while I'm more or less digging it so far, I have to ask are they trying to go home again?
Starting with Avengers disassembled in 2004, Brian Micheal Bendis kicked off a dark, depressing ride. following with House of M, Civil War, Planet Hulk, Secret Invasion, Dark Reign and Siege the Marvel U. went from a relatively idealistic setting, to a dark and oppressive playground for the bad guys.
With the end of Norman Osborn's reign on the MU, we've been promised a return to the old status quo(more or less) and, honestly, I don't think it's possible. For starters, naming the banner above all of your books "the heroic age" is a tad pretensions. The golden age of comics wasn't a marking ploy, it was given in hindsight in reverence. Telling us we're reading the heroic age of marvel comics(all while insisting it isn't a crossover) is akin to telling us how the books should make us feel, and not letting the work speak for itself. If you want to move the line in a new direction, announce it and let the writers and artist do their thing, don't force feed us the premise and write the same despressing books you've been writing for the past six years. it shows a lack of confidence on marvel's part.

While I believe comic's should be enjoyed by all ages, I don't believe you can have supervillians eating their young and going on rape-fests all while insisted on a new, lighter, era. That's the problem I see with the heroic age. there has been too much done under the direction of a 14 year old's idea of "mature" I'm all for a book implying adult situations. but to out right show and state everything? that's bad judgment on marvel's part. it's like sex jokes being abundant in Disney movies, they fly over the heads of children, but the adults recognize them right away.
Having physical abuse of a male character by a female character being shown as comical (Amazing Spider-Man) and having a character literally being ripped in two by another(Siege) is going too far. these are not things you can just sweep under the rug and forget about, once you introduce concepts such as these, you can't go back to a more ambitious, all age appropriate type of story, the water is already tainted. the long time fans know this and new readers will either be turned off by the new ,lighter approach, or turned off by the the offensiveness of older books the first time they pick up a back issue.

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