Whose Side Are You On?

By | Friday, January 05, 2007 1 comment
This week, I picked up my regular stash of comic books as I usually do. I read a few during my lunch break yesterday, and a few last night, and most of the rest today. This week was a little odd in that several of the books tied directly into Marvel's "Civil War."

Well, that wasn't so odd in and of itself since a lot of Marvel's books are tied to "Civil War" these days. But what was odd was that I found myself not really caring. At all.

For most of the "Civil War" storyline, I've been reading these stories and thinking to myself, "Well, this guy is acting way out of character! And so is this guy! And her! And..." It's been frustrating seeing characters that I do generally enjoy reading about acting in ways that strike me as widely out of line with their established character. Regardless of what you think of any of the individual characters and whether or not you agree with me, the biggest complaints I've heard about the series (next to shipping delays) have centered on character assasinations. But that kind of reaction, while generally negative, is indicative of emotional involvement. I disagree with the writer enough that it bothers me. It bothers me enough that I write about it.

But between this week's Amazing Spider-Man and Civil War and Civil War: Front Line, I just read the books and said, "Eh." Despite the double-cross and secret double-cross and double-secret double-secret-cross and whatever other stuff they threw into the mix this week, I don't really care. Despite that the story has reached the tipping point and the characters are literally seconds away from an all-out war with each other, I find myself unconcerned about the outcome. I don't care who wins or loses, who lives and who dies, who sides with whom... I just want this to be over.

I'm not quite sure when exactly I gave up caring -- it was certainly recent, though. It's possible the shipping delays gave me too much time to think about problems in the story. Maybe seeing Alan Davis' Fantastic Four: The End reminded me how far off my favorite characters are being written. (Side Note: There is some SERIOUS mis-characterizations going on when an older, out-their-prime, mostly retired, and not speaking to one another Fantastic Four feels more on target than what's being presented as the canonical team.) Maybe it was the realization here on my blog that I buy comics to enjoy, and what I've been enjoying most lately has not been related to "Civil War."

Since there's only one issue left, I likely will buy it. I do enjoy the puzzle aspect of sorting out how all the stories across multiple titles fit together. Not as much as I enjoy reading a good story and caring about what happens to the characters, but I enjoy the intellectual challenge of chronologizing the books at least enough to wait until the series concludes.

A fourth of the Marvel titles I currently get will be ending in the next month or so. Three more are mini-series that will all be over by summer. I'd be surprised if another three of what's left on my pull list will survive the year without being cancelled. By that point, it looks like I will, for the first time, be getting more independant comics than I will Marvel ones. Not sure if that's me perceiving a decline in Marvel's quality, or simply a change in my personal tastes and preferences, but it certainly seems noteworthy.
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Anonymous said...

I think the reason that you didn't get any comments on this post is that you are absolutely right. I never really liked Tony Stark as a character, although I used to read Iron Man all the time as a kid. It was a consistently good title before the '90s. I never liked Stark, but even I am appalled by his characterization. The editors of Marvel used to take such pride in the continuity of their titles. It's a shame that the whole thing has degraded to a joke at the expense of their readers.