No Civil War

I suppose if I were a more political blogger (I am political, I just don’t blog it much) I’d make some crack about Iraq. This isn’t that post.

Instead, I’m upset about Marvel Comics “Summer Event” Civil War.

You see, a few months ago it excited me enough to post on the blog. Twice.

I was getting back into comics after a decade-long absence and the thought of a shake-up to the 616 universe intrigued me.

I’m no fan/reader/subscriber of the Ultimate universe, mostly because if I’d missed the boat on the beginning of those titles, so I decided why not just wade back into the Marvel Universe on titles I knew (Amazing Spider-Man) or new titles in continuity (X-Factor, Astonishing X-Men).

For the most part this has been an excellent strategy. Get my feet wet with characters I know and love OR start off with a new book in continuity. The Spider titles have been fairly solid and the two X titles have amazed.

With the news of Civil War I decided I might as well take the plunge. I liked the theme generally, I enjoy the main protagonists and I hoped for some kind of decent allegory on current politics, superheroics and honor.

The first issue held a ton of promise, as did the second. My real issues (ha!) started with the third installment, which, to me at least, rushed to create a conflict, a fight, a two-page spread when it wasn’t warranted.

Granted, I’m not keeping up with all the tie-in titles (Civil War Frontline was crap), smaller mini-series or every single crossover in each individual book. I’m not made of money.

Instead, I’m counting on Civil War to tell one cohesive story. I shouldn’t have to follow all the loopholes, mcguffins and special appearances to get the gist.

AND I shouldn’t be waiting months to read this title!

That’s been one of my biggest surprises getting back into comics. Why, oh why, do fans put up with all these delays?

If Lost didn’t air an episode for two years (or aired one episode and then just disappeared for a couple of months – which is how ABC ran it last Spring), I might not come back.

Here, for Civil War, I’m most definitely out.

I’ve already written, for me, what amounts to War and Peace. I’ll leave you with this: don’t put up with this. Just don’t. Don’t buy these books.

Smarter and more adept writers than me have written the laments about the pricing structure, audience missteps, and general mismanagement of the comics industry better than me. Needless to say, it’s support for lateness and shoddy work (like Civil War #4) that pepetuates the system.

Plus, the book, which had subtler, defter touches early on, seems bent on making itself “collectible” – whatever the hell that means – by being an “event” and killing people off, bringing people back, changing the timbre of characters, just for the sake of doing it.

Am I wrong? Am I missing better characterization, more nuance and greater plot development in some adjunct book?

Who cares! I’m reading Civil War and it isn’t cutting it.

A co-worker and I discussed the early to mid 90’s boom that became a bust: the foil covers, the variants, the rise of artists and Image that caused me to leave comics. Please don’t let Civil War (and it’s DC ilk Identity Whatever and 52) ruin comics for me again.

Smart creators, writers and artists – like Whedon (Astonishing X-Men), Peter David (Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, X-Factor) and JMS (Amazing Spider-Man) – can navigate the crappy timeline and degenerative storyline, but I, for one, am sick of Civil War.

From here on out, I’m officially not paying attention.

Back in my youth, after both Secret Wars and the Mutant Registration act there came first Inferno and then the Evolutionary War (maybe I have that backwards).

After those “universe changing events” comics lost some of their zeal for me.

Maybe I’m not the target anymore. Maybe I’m an old “fan boy”. Maybe comics are already dead.

For me, I just don’t want to see Marvel do this kind of thing. DC mucks with their universe (which is why I only read two Bat titles and every Vertigo title), but Marvel always had, for me at least, this veneer of not screwing up everything all at once.

Nextwave gives me hope. X-Factor gives me hope. Astonishing X-Men gives me hope.

Please, Marvel, for your own sake, declare peace, become pacifists and stop this Civil War.

I’d also like to note that I’m likely going to post a longer piece on what “continuity” means to me and I’d also like to expand on my thoughts about how I see superhero titles playing nicely together.

But that’s the future, for now: No Civil War!

No Civil War

And please don’ t feel like you need to buy titles just to “keep up”. Part of the fun of reading comics is the mystery. Sure, I had somewhat of a hard time jumping in to existing story arcs when I re-subscribed, but that’s what happened when I got hardcore at the age of 10 as well.

At some point you like what you like and you read what you read and you don’t care about all the extraneous crap (did I mention that Marvel is releasing MORE tie-in titles as a solution to Civil War delays) that the publisher does.

My advice (two dozen paragraphs in): buy Nextwave and forget Civil War ever happened.

Oh, and Marvel, keep this up and I’m going to Vertigo-only with a dose of Fallen Angel. Seriously.