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.”

Marvel Studios’ “Inhumans” Currently Without a Release Date

I’m happy about this news, and here’s the problem with that: Disney and Marvel shouldn’t be putting me in such a position.

The Inhumans have their own, unique potential. When Polaris was out in space, Lorna spending time with Luna as auntie Lorna and helping Crystal in her rise to power were the positive bits of that time. They offered things for Polaris that couldn’t be done with the X-Men. The Inhumans franchise also has its own fans that want what they care about to get some attention.

Because Marvel is trying to tear down the X-Men franchise, and they’re using the Inhumans as a pivotal device toward that goal, they’ve turned the Inhumans into an obstacle. They’ve made people want the Inhumans to fail because success means Marvel is one step closer toward being able to do away with the X-Men completely. As long as the Inhumans franchise doesn’t succeed in its current form and treatment, Marvel can’t deny there’s a place for the X-Men to exist in the Marvel universe.

Marvel’s created a rift between two franchises that should be compatible, and have been in the past. They’ve ruined any chance of fans trusting events between them are in good faith, too, because Marvel’s spent the past half a decade deliberately dismantling the X-Men while building up the Inhumans as replacements for mutants and X-Men.

The shittiest part of all of this is that Marvel’s ruining at least the next few decades of interaction between the X-Men and Inhumans franchises because of their obsessive hate-on for Fox. And I’m being incredibly generous with the estimation of decades. The damage Marvel’s doing today may be permanent. 

And it may prevent the Inhumans franchise from ever being able to reach its true potential, because Marvel’s turning them into discount X-Men. It’s forcing the Inhumans to exist in the shadow of the X-Men franchise, priming people to think “Why are they using the Inhumans when the X-Men would be better?”

Marvel’s behavior has been a disservice to both the X-Men and the Inhumans, and they both suffer as a result. Inhumans less visibly but no less severely. And really, that raises one more question: if Marvel’s so desperate to turn the Inhumans into replacement X-Men, do they have any respect for the Inhumans and their real potential at all?

Marvel Studios’ “Inhumans” Currently Without a Release Date

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.

This was pointed out over on Twitter.

I don’t know what it comes from, but long story short, question requesting that X-Men get added to a video game gets answered with “We’re not gonna add X-Men, but we’re gonna used a franchise that’s been reduced to a cheap stand-in to tell X-Men stories instead of actually using the X-Men!”

Keep in mind: the company using the Inhumans and not the X-Men is NOT the fault of the people working on the game. It’s the fault of Disney and Marvel forcing them to not use X-Men characters.

File this as yet another piece of evidence on the matter of Marvel trying to kill the X-Men franchise on their end because Fox owns the film rights. Combine this with Marvel still doing the Terrigen Mists thing, and their planned “Death of X” event, and it’s starting to look more like their recent better treatment of the X-Men franchise is just to placate people before screwing the franchise over MUCH harder than they already have. “Yeah, we can do a big Apocalypse event to tie into the film, may as well since we’re gonna really do some damage to the franchise later this year.”

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.

I just saw an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ad on YouTube promoting characters around the world suddenly manifesting powers, tied to the Inhumans franchise.

I now abhor Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Here’s why.

Marvel can’t use mutants because Fox owns the rights. I understand that, I accept that. That aspect is something that can’t be held against Marvel, and if Disney and Marvel limited this behavior to their films and live action TV shows, I would support them. It would be asinine to begrudge Marvel for doing what they can with what they have, after all.

But Marvel’s behavior in OTHER mediums changes that.

They’ve cut the X-Men out almost all merchandise. They’ve stopped making any X-Men cartoons or video games. In the comics, they’ve gone out of their way to cut the X-books down from over a dozen books to 3-4 in less than a year, forced a retcon on Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver purely to separate them from their father Magneto, and engineered every single event since 2009 to take things away from the X-Men franchise and give them to the Avengers and now Inhumans franchises.

Marvel is deliberately trying to tear down the X-Men franchise because they don’t have the film and live action TV show rights, even though they have cartoons, comics, video games and merchandise to work with.

Because that’s their goal, what’s happening on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t merely the company admirably working with what they have. It’s not Marvel showing what they could do with the X-Men franchise if only they had the rights. If that was the case, there’d be damn good reason to push for Fox striking some kind of deal Marvel wants made.

Instead, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is now a propaganda tool in Marvel’s efforts to ruin the X-Men franchise and any public appeal it might have. As long as they’re focusing on this idea of random people manifesting powers across the world, supporting Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is essentially telling Marvel you want them to ruin the X-Men franchise.

Personal note: this does not mean I hate anyone who likes Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or chooses to keep watching it. Everyone has their own interests, their own priorities. And realistically, this doesn’t mean anyone who watches Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has “invalidated” any love they have for the X-Men franchise. Nor does it mean Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is objectively bad.

What it means is that no matter who you are, no matter what your reasons for watching the show may be, success for the show with these plot lines will be perceived by them as acceptance and a nod that they should keep treating the X-Men franchise poorly. And that’s why I now see this show the way I do.

Marvel Still Pissed at Fox, Now Using The Inhumans to Kill Off The X-Men

forceofwillraps:

If Marvel discontinues X-Men, I am straight up boycotting. #NoXmenNoMarvel.

So basically, Marvel knew Wanda causing an end to mutants resulted in people hating Wanda, but they really want Wanda to be promoted in order to “stick it” to Fox, so they freed her of that in Avengers vs X-Men only because they intended to put the weight of ruining the X-Men franchise on the Inhumans franchise instead.

Marvel Still Pissed at Fox, Now Using The Inhumans to Kill Off The X-Men