With the X-Men mega event Messiah Complex right around the corner, the ongoing titles are winding down and preparing for action. While things are simmering, it’s a good time to look back and see how we got to this point, and where it may be going.
So all through the month of October, from now until the Messiah Complex one-shot hits the shelves on October 31, the Comicdom Wrecks! resident X-Men junkie (me) will be going through all the storylines that have gone on from M-Day to this point in all four of the relevant titles – Uncanny X-Men, X-Men, X-Factor, and New X-Men. We may even add in a relevant storyline or two here and there (Avengers: Disassembled and The Collective).
When Messiah Complex hits the shelves, you’ll be up to date on all (relevant) things X, so stay tuned!
After much waiting, Teen Titans #50 came out a couple weeks ago. I was greatly anticipating this issue, as it surely would spell the end of the Countdown-related filler that the book had been sitting on for the past three months. Nothing against the “tragic end” of Duela Dent or the tie-in with Amazons Attack, but the Titans had been a bit aimless for that period, and I was looking forward to them turning a new corner with new writer Sean McKeever on board.
When I read issue 50, though, I felt like that corner had already been turned down and they were taking a break to reflect on another event. Titans finally got around to mourning the fallen Bart Allen, but it was not this that caught me wrong in the book – it was that Supergirl was a member of the Titans. I didn’t miss an issue, did I? When did this happen? Then there was Cyborg leaving for his Titans East team. What? When did this come about? Suddenly, the Titans are a drastically changed team (changed from the drastically changed team of the One Year Later jump), with no cohesive story to explain it. These things just happened – deal with it.
The same had taken place earlier in the year when the Lightning Saga started over in Justice League of America. After reading the first issue, I called my friend (and Comicdom Wrecks! conspirator) Casey and asked when Geo-Force had joined the JLA and Black Canary been elected leader. Neither had been pointed out in the story (in fact, it was signaled against in Geo-Force’s case), and were simply mentioned in the context of the new story.
I’m not a fan of throwing changes on without having something take place to explain them. Sure the Titans had just fought a Titans East team led by Deathstroke, but there was no setup to create a new team under that name. It seemed like someone had forgotten to set it up, so they just had to say “And this is happening too. Read it!” To further future stories, consistent setup is necessary, or anything can happen for no reason. Continuity must be established and maintained. A sense of stability is needed to maintain a reader’s suspension of non-belief that comics so require.
So please, stop with the jumping. It’s giving me a headache.
Avengers: The Initiative #5
Even though there’ve only been five issues of this title, it’d take me while a while to explain everything that’s happened so far. If you’ve been paying attention to the Marvel Universe at all over the past year you know all about the Super Human Registration Act the Fifty States Initiative. Anyone with powers wishing to put on a costume and fight evil doers must register with the government. Young and/or new heroes must report to Camp Hammond in Stamford, CT for training. Once they’ve been put through the ringer and earned their stripes they’ll be assigned to one of fifty teams, one for each state. I hardly think Rhode Island needs it’s own super hero team, but I digress. This book tells the story of those young and/or new heroes. That’s the bare-bones basics of The Initiative.
Writer Dan Slott does a fantastic job of creating new characters and dusting off obscure ones to be the stars of his book. Not only does he make them work within the book, he makes them work in the greater context of the Marvel Universe. Case in point, this issue features two separate teams of trainees facing off against the rampaging Hulk.
There’s the action, the angst, and the drama of a great team book. There’s even a compelling mystery going on with another set to start next issue. Shining a spotlight directly on registration and The Initiative (the good and the bad), this book is one of the most important in the post-Civil War Marvel U.