I was going to make another post about the announcement of Polaris returning in X-Men Blue #9, particularly as I hadn’t emphasized the good of it yet. But there’s something else I suddenly feel an urgent need to post about that I think is actually more important than my personal fandom for Polaris.

Since I started paying more attention to Marvel comics (in 2009, because of Polaris), I’ve noticed how they approach the comic book industry. Some of this is going to sound obvious to regulars, but I’m building toward something.

Marvel puts out a crazy number of events. In these events, they throw out ~major revelations~ about characters and relationships and the status quo of the Marvel universe. A lot of times, these developments piss people off – and for good reason.

The forced Axis retcon on Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver being Magneto’s kids has pissed off fans that want to see the Magnus family get more use. Subsequent storylines added to this fire by going down avenues that didn’t make up for the forced retcon.

When Captain America was revealed to “have always been a Hydra agent,” that also pissed off a lot of people – because it essentially destroyed a symbol of good in the world. Further development into Secret Empire has only made this worse by doing stupid and awful shit like making Magneto into a Hydra agent too.

Here’s the part that matters in this post. Everything above was establishing the scene.

Every single time Marvel does something awful and gets called on it, that was intentional on Marvel’s part (not a random bit of awful by an artist/writer that Marvel didn’t catch), their answer is this: trust us and give the story a chance to play out before judging.

They’re asking readers to withhold judgment until after the whole event is finished. In some cases, this means asking readers to wait until a full year or two has passed. This is asking readers to read issue after issue, sometimes multiple comic books, to “get the full picture.”

There are various ways to interpret Marvel’s behavior here. The less forgiving and more critical way is to assume they’re morally bankrupt money chasers.

But if we decide to be very kind and offer up a substantial benefit of doubt for their sake, then we could also interpret their behavior as myopic nostalgia. People set in their ways, no clue how to do anything different and perhaps too stubborn to even try.

Here’s what I mean by that.

In this day and age, drawing out something like “Captain America is a Nazi” is a BAD idea. That is NOT the sort of thing readers will look at and say “Alright, this is bad but sure, I’ll wait to see where they’re going with this.” Readers today know every single millisecond counts. This is especially informed with the way the internet works. Getting information out there doesn’t take days or weeks anymore (or hours, if big enough for TV). It takes seconds.

A smart company needs to account for this.

One way to deal with it: put out the potentially scandalous bits of storyline and their “satisfying conclusion” all at once. If this means you have to put out the equivalent of a TPB or graphic novel, so be it. The key is that you don’t drag your feet on something as terrible as “Captain America is a Nazi and always was” or “Magneto is now a Nazi.”

Letting a claim like that fester for months or years doesn’t boost sales. No grand revelation at the end of the event is going to make it all fine. “lol Captain America wasn’t a Nazi after all” doesn’t make all that time where Marvel said he was one suddenly go away.

Letting it fester also risks Marvel “fixing” it getting interpreted as Marvel only doing it cause of massive public backlash, not out of any genuine plan they had from the start.

Another way of dealing with it: make the idea run in the background of stories and only reveal it when ready to IMMEDIATELY undo it in the very same issue it’s revealed.

Hypothetical example, let’s say there’s a character whose death would piss people off. But you want them to have been dead for story reasons. Instead of killing them off and leaving them dead for years, simply don’t use them directly in that time, then revive them in the same issue it’s revealed they were dead that whole time. You sidestep the potential outrage of a character death while getting to use it for story.

I’m not saying these two suggestions make up all possible angles, or saying they can fit every situation. Only saying they’re much better approaches to story ideas like “Captain America was a Nazi all along” or “Magneto is now a Nazi.” I personally don’t see how ANY end point could make either of those ideas okay, but if there is one that nobody can imagine, the current approach of dragging it out for months or years doesn’t work. It only makes Marvel look horrible as a company.

Marvel needs to learn how the world has changed in the past couple decades. Their understanding of this seems to have stopped at available hardware/software and the ability to spread ad copy and trailers to people easier, without acknowledging its social and cultural dimensions. Until Marvel figures this out, their sales are going to suffer due to easily avoided mistakes like “Captain America is a Nazi.”

Ok thank you. I had question though I don’t know if you know the answer of not but you seem to know Lorna. Does she have the ability to move or control caps shield or Iron man’s suit since they are made of metal?

essayofthoughts:

Hmmmm. I’m going with Lorna’s powers as per comics p. much, which is magnetism based. Due to the scope of her magnetism (around the same as Magneto’s in potential) she can therefore influence even non-magnetic metals to a point. Now, Iron Man’s suit is made of … as I recall it’s a gold-titanium alloy with various metals in it for wiring and motherboards and the like isn’t it? and Cap’s shield is vibranium and we don’t know if that’s magnetic. 

So to answer your question, I’d say probably somewhat, but not with the same deftness as she could steel. Almost everything has a magnetic field of some degree (if I’m recalling my science right, do correct me if I’m wrong; I am not a science person despite my sib and dad being science people) so with enough practice I imagine Lorna could move them easily, but as her powers are still magnetic-based it’d be harder for Lorna to influence things which are non-magnetic than things which are.

So… she could, with practice and a little effort, and she can almost certainly sense them as metal in the magnetic fields around her, but she’d have to spend a fair bit of time practicing with non-ferrous metals (like the copper she made into a bracelet for Wanda, and the bullet alloy she used to make a bracelet for Vision) before it’d really be easy for her. But yeah, she could probably do it.

*jumps in uninvited* I’ve complained about how Avengers vs X-Men failed to use Lorna and only included her as nameless background cameos, but it did at least answer the Cap shield question.

For your approval, I submit what can be called a distillation of Marvel’s response to fans calling out the company trying to undermine the X-Men franchise.

“Don’t believe the conspiracy theories, we’re really just emphasizing the Avengers in Avengers vs X-Men because it makes for good story.”

“Don’t believe the conspiracy theories, we’re really just having Havok claim the word mutant is like the n-word and mutant culture should be discarded because it makes for good story.”

“Don’t believe the conspiracy theories, we’re not removing X-Men from merchandise at all even though we’ve literally removed them from shirts and such and refuse to make any new major video games or cartoons focused on the X-Men.”

“Don’t believe the conspiracy theories, Inhumanity isn’t an attempt to replace mutants with Inhumans, it’s just bringing them to Earth for good story.”

“Don’t believe the conspiracy theories, we didn’t force a retcon on Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver being Magneto’s kids to sever their ties to the X-Men franchise, it’s just for good story.”

“Don’t believe the conspiracy theories, the Terrigen Mist killing mutants and sterilizing them isn’t being used to literally kill the franchise and keep mutants from staying involved in the Marvel universe. It’s just for good story. Cutting the number of X-Men books down from around 14 to around 6 is just for sales reasons.”

“Don’t believe the conspiracy theories, purging almost everything X-Men from the official Marvel shop is just because they aren’t selling and we need to focus on what sells.”

I also submit for approval, a distillation of what we can expect out of Marvel in the future. I say these knowing full well that people working at Marvel can read this post and will absolutely change their plans if they’re afraid it’s too on the nose and too many people expect it.

“Don’t believe the conspiracy theories, Death of X killing the entire concept of X-Men is purely for good story. Giving the Inhumans all the qualities of the X-Men franchise is pure coincidence.”

“Don’t believe the conspiracy theories, we’re not excluding

X-Men from major Marvel events, they just aren’t relevant to the stories we’re trying to tell and we don’t want to force them.”

“Don’t believe the conspiracy theories, killing off all the remaining notable X-Men and introducing remarkably similar Inhumans characters is just for good story.“

“Don’t believe the conspiracy theories, we’re not rewriting old storylines solely to purge any need to reference the X-Men, we’re just modernizing old storylines that have become outdated.”

“Don’t believe the conspiracy theories, we’re not trying to purge all evidence the X-Men were ever a thing, we’re just not forcing people to see stuff unrelated to what our focus is on.”

“Wait, what? X-Men? Why do you want us to do anything with Fox’s films when we have Inhumans?”

Have I covered the full timeline? I don’t know. Maybe someone from the future can come by to fill in details I missed in Marvel’s path toward tearing down the X-Men franchise just because Fox owns the film rights and only the film rights.

Wait a minute, let me get something straight here, Marvel.

First, Scarlet Witch causes Decimation, stripping powers from all but around a hundred mutants.

After that, a fight between X-Men and Avengers ends with Scarlet Witch and Hope restoring the ability for new mutants to be born.

Around this time, Inhumans come to Earth, and their presence causes humans to start turning into Inhumans.

Then, Marvel writes Havok on Uncanny Avengers as saying mutants should
completely throw away their own history and culture just so they can
“fit in” with the rest of the world.

Next, Red Skull is used to turn both Genosha and Prof. X into mere plot devices to prop up the Avengers, with a storyline deliberately constructed to make Magneto look terrible, capping off with a forced retcon on Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver suddenly not being Magneto’s kids anymore. “Conveniently” half a year before the Avengers film starring them.

And now we have this?

image

Mutants so badly affected by the Terrigen Mist that they either lose their mutants powers or they’re dying?

I mean, it just boggles my mind. You’re THIS committed to the entire endeavor. Destroying the X-Men franchise means SO MUCH to you, you literally went out of your way to make nearly the entire Marvel universe toxic to the X-Men franchise. Just so you have an incredibly poor and half-baked excuse for cutting them down, shoving them in an increasingly shrinking and obscure corner, and replacing them with Inhumans as you are. That is an actual thing you’re actually doing.

At this point, Marvel, I don’t see why you don’t just have a big ass sign in every panel of every comic you publish that says “Fuck the X-Men and everything they ever gave us or the world, now buy our next Avengers comic while we’re not treating that franchise just as shitty.”

I’m only halfway joking, by the way. That’s part dare. If you’re this committed to ruining a perfectly good franchise with lots of promise and potential, I kinda want to see if there are any depths you WON’T sink to, if there’s anything that’s off limits even with bloated egos and rampant greed as motivators. Am I going to wake up tomorrow morning to find you’re putting out a series of X-Men oneshots dedicated to killing off every character in the franchise until only Inhumans remain?

P.S. – I’m well aware, Marvel, that your only reason for letting Scarlet Witch restore the ability for mutants to be born was to shift blame for ruining the franchise from her to the Inhumans. It’s transparent. A for effort though, and I look forward to a day when you actually give a damn about ALL of your franchises, not just the ones Fox isn’t able to make movies of.

This is pure opinion piece, I’m not even linking anything. Feel free to correct me if I’m mistaken about something.

It’s been known for a little while now that Rick Remender is leaving Marvel soon. Another tidbit that very recently came out was confirmation that Remender was intended to helm the X-Men franchise before he decided to leave. Here are my views on that.

Remender has been instrumental in denigrating the X-Men franchise for the benefit of the Avengers franchise. In his pages, we’ve seen the forced retcon of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver out of being Magneto’s kids, Havok’s “don’t call us mutants” anti-mutant speech, Rogue made to look like an idiot to support that angle, and a lot of complaints about poor character treatment toward iconic X-Men characters in general.

Whenever people have complained (including some assholes that started harassing and attacking him directly), his response has been what many call a “troll” response. He’s given gleefully spiteful responses to outrage for things like killing characters.

Bearing all of the above in mind, it’s time for me to say something you wouldn’t expect: I think most of Remender’s writing that’s received outrage was merely doing what his higher-ups ordered him to do, and he’s leaving Marvel because he can’t take doing it anymore.

I think his spiteful responses to fan outrage were actually a self-defense mechanism. Writers have fragile egos, and with enough pressure put on them, it’s common to want to lash out at fans either with comments or even directly in the fiction. I say that from experience. It’s a hard impulse to control and it takes a lot of time and experience, and even having that, it’s easy to give in at the worst of times.

Furthermore, we know Marvel wanting to tear down the X-Men franchise, make it look bad and diminish the need to acknowledge it has any value to the rest of the Marvel universe goes well beyond Remender. Avengers and X-Men events he had little to no part in were engineered that way as well. The things he’s received the most hate for are things that we can safely say would have happened with or without him.

He had no real control over the things that mattered most. As an employee of Marvel, he was required to toe the line demanded of him, and he couldn’t say “blame it on the people above me” because it would definitively prove an agenda exists above him to hurt the X-Men franchise and its characters.

I think the original plans for him to take over the X-Men franchise were either Remender wanting to set things right, or Marvel wanting him to devote more time to tearing it down. In either case, I think Remender eventually realized now isn’t a good time for him to try. In the absolute best case scenario, he might write good X-Men work but receive a lot of hate no matter what he does thanks to his hand in ruining the X-Men over on the Avengers. Worst case, he might screw it up badly, or Marvel might make more demands on him he wouldn’t be ready to accept.

It’s overall better for him to step out. His reputation among X-Men fans (and even a lot of other fans) took a huge beating during his Avengers tenure. And frankly, if all my suspicions above are correct, it’s better for him to leave for now and come back when Marvel is ready to be a better company than it has been.

I think that’s also why a lot of writers and editors have left Marvel. It’s become a toxic environment for most creators.

I have no opinion on Age of Ultron or its depictions of Scarlet Witch or Quicksilver.

I have no opinion because I’m never going to see it.

Disney and Marvel guaranteed I would never see it when they forced a retcon of Wanda and Pietro out of being Magneto’s kids in the comics. Shitty actions motivated by selfishness and greed are VERY powerful turn-offs for me. It’s not even about not rewarding such behavior, though I sometimes do think of it that way. Largely, it’s about being so disgusted with a company’s behavior that I can’t bring myself to do things that lead to them making money.

Disney and Marvel are not special in this regard. I haven’t bought a Square-Enix product in years. I only buy things from Capcom that fit specific criteria now. The first DC thing I’ve bought since New 52 is Convergence: Harley Quinn #1.

What happens in Age of Ultron does not matter for me because I’m so “excited” to see it that it may as well not exist at all.

And the funny thing is, if not for the forced retcon, I would have been excited about the film and gone to see it. That one thing killed any chance of me seeing it, and I honestly don’t know anymore if I’ll ever want to even if they undo the forced retcon. At some point, it becomes virtually impossible to force yourself to do something if you’re too disgusted.

So while some people scream enthusiastically about Age of Ultron, and other people scream with outrage about it, I’ll be over in this corner not really giving a damn what it did or didn’t do to Random Character #2578.

Disney burying the X-Men – Business Insider

This article by Business Insider illustrates a lot of things X-Men fans have noticed, but which Marvel’s executives desperately want people to believe are merely “conspiracy theories.” They want the stigma of being labeled such to keep people from acknowledging obvious signs of Marvel’s intent.

They’re not even trying to cover up their efforts to diminish and undermine franchises for which Fox owns the film rights anymore. When word got out that Marvel put a ban on Marvel sketch cards depicting anything Fantastic Four, they tried to deny it. Now, XM Studios is told to reduce X-Men products and they don’t try to make excuses other than “conspiracy theory.” They think everyone’s stupid.

This behavior is why I’m not reading female Thor or Ms. Marvel, and why I’m not seeing any of Marvel’s films anymore. I’ve seen Polaris robbed of her relationships with her siblings Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, books she’s on undermined, and events she has a huge stake in like Axis not include her, and I KNOW it’s because of this film rights wankery. That’s why I increasingly see Marvel as toxic. I don’t want to throw my money at companies that disgust me by ruining things I love because the people running the show are unconscionably egotistical and greedy.

Disney burying the X-Men – Business Insider