The Snowball

It’s been a while. Life has been sucking. This is the first time for the past month or two that I’ve had a moment to really think about these things in a dedicated and coherent way long enough to make it into a blog post.

Problems snowball. You start with one tiny, seemingly insignificant problem. Then if you’re not careful, not considerate, more problems arrive. Or you unwittingly add problems that didn’t need to be problems. Sometimes, things that wouldn’t be problems under ordinary circumstances turn into problems because they join the collective big snowball of problems.

That’s what’s happened and happening with Marvel. At the very least, as far as my fandom and feelings in relation to their behavior.

Back when Lorna and Havok rejoined X-Factor in 2012, and when Havok made appearances on All-New X-Factor, Havok’s presence was not a huge problem for me. It was an annoyance, but one I was able to put up with while getting to things for Lorna.

Today, in 2019, Havok having anything to do with Lorna and her stories is an instant black mark for me.

Why? How did this happen? Because of the snowball effect. There are many, many problems that contributed to the snowball effect. Specific to Havok, some of the contributing factors were:

  • Lorna’s return to comics in Blue hijacked to promote Havok, before Havok then got to lead his own book
  • The awful (in content, not quality of art) cover for X-Men Blue #28
  • Bait and switch cover for Marvel Tales, where the cover was a great depiction of Lorna, but the contents inside were Havok’s intro issues that were horrible for Lorna
  • Multiple instances of trying to define her primarily as Havok’s girlfriend/ex (in a Marvel Legends bundle with him, kissing portrait in Prisoner X, asking where he is at end of Age of X-Man, etc) while ignoring her own actual character

This is only the past two years. This is not judging the entirety of their character history – which would give TONS more issues to cite.

But there’s a reason this is called the snowball effect. It’s not just adding more junk to a pile of junk. When that snowball starts rolling, it becomes harder and harder to stop. Its momentum and accumulated mass make it into a problem you can’t simply pretend doesn’t exist. At least not if you want to do the right thing and minimize or prevent damage. Small, formerly innocuous elements come within the snowball’s reach and add to it.

The bigger and faster that snowball gets, the more it takes to stop it. Break it down. Take the good things out of the snowball and do good with it.

Now, if you actually deal with that snowball, guess what happens. Those little issues are no longer as much of a problem. It’s easier for people affected to say “That’s a problem, but perhaps it’s an accident or misunderstanding, they’ve done a lot lately to try to do the best they can.”

When you have a legitimate problem, expecting people affected by it to ignore it is not going to do anything for you. Adding even more problems to the snowball (especially as a threat, explicit or implied) only makes it worse. There are three things that could work. One is to actually fix the problem. Two, if it’s too big to fix, is at least acknowledging it IS a problem so attempts can be made to account for it (and maybe fix in the future). Three, diverting the problem or trying to minimize potential damage.

Going back to Havok. In my opinion, that snowball is way too big to stop or break down easily. It’s going to take multiple attempts over a long period of time to chip away at the snowball until the good in it is salvageable. Throwing things into the snowball’s path in its current state will just add to its problems.

So let’s go back to the three potential fixes. In my opinion, the best approach is to keep the snowball out of the way. Don’t do anything to add to it. Pair this with structures designed to chip away at the snowball – in this case, actually doing more with Lorna as her own character, acknowledging her own worth, with Havok not involved or even mentioned.

If your goal is to eventually have Lorna interact with Havok again, then will there be a time when you start to re-introduce him in her life? Yes. But it has to be at the right time, with the right approach. You can’t just say “Oh we had Lorna say hi to her dad for one panel, now she’s Havok’s girlfriend again.”

Marvel’s problems in this regard are 1) a lack of respect for Lorna as her own character, and 2) a lack of patience.

What I’ve seen of Marvel to date, they don’t seem to care one bit that Lorna is an actual character who has fans and potential all her own. This has been echoed repeatedly, from one editor trying to claim Lorna couldn’t be Magneto’s daughter, to another claiming she doesn’t have enough fan interest to warrant her getting anything like a solo book (despite other characters like Lockjaw getting minis, and even creating a brand new character for Worst X-Man Ever specifically for that mini).

Pair that disrespect with a lack of patience, and what you have is people at Marvel trying to force Havok onto Lorna in little bits and pieces thinking if they just keep tapping in those appearances, eventually they can force the couple together again. Yet all Marvel’s doing is tapping in more junk to make the snowball bigger, faster and more dangerous.

And that’s my blog post on the snowball effect. Tune in next time! Whenever that is! Same Polaris time, same Polaris channel.

(P.S. Lorna should have a TV show that she broadcasts straight from her brain. She can do it. She has that power.)

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