So Sayeth the Odinson: Have the Big Two Lost the Courage to Use the Epic Tale to Usher in Epic Change?

Greetings from the Odinson,

So, I’m reading through the new Marvel Previews and realizing that absolutely nothing is being reset after Secret Wars. Sure, there are some new faces and the Ultimate U doesn’t exist anymore, but other than that, I see no real difference. It just makes me ask the question: what was the point of Time Runs Out and Secret Wars? See, when it come to the Big Event in comics, what made the classics classic is that when they were done, things were different. There was a major change and the event set up the next year or two of storytelling. All the blood, sweat, and tears and countless hours spent on the event, by the creators and the characters in the story itself, have a payoff worthy of such universal upheaval. So the Odinson has to ask:

Have the Big Two Lost the Courage to Use the Epic Tale to Usher in Epic Change?

The two events I want to focus on (and believe me, they aren’t the only culprits) are the most recent offerings by Marvel and DC – Secret Wars and Convergence. Now, when it comes to Big Events, these two have everything going for them that a Big Event could need to be successful.

NOTE: There may be story point SPOILERS for Secret Wars and Convergence past this point.

Creative TeamSecret Wars with Jonathan Hickman (New Avengers, Fantastic Four) and Esad Ribic (Loki and Sub-Mariner: The Depths), and Convergence with Scott Lobdell (Red Hood and the Outlaws), Carlo Pagulayan (Agents of Atlas), Ed Benes (Birds of Prey), Andy Kubert (Batman vs. Predator), and others, these tales have creative teams that are strong to quite strong.

Premise/Idea – Both of these events have similar premises – Secret Wars features Battleworld, an amalgam planet of many different locales from around the Marvel multiverse separated by thin boarders and always on the verge of warring with each other. Convergence features a pocket dimension where cities from around the DC multiverse have all been brought together and the heroes of these cities are forced to battle to the death to see which city will survive. For fans of “What If?” and Elseworlds Tales, these set-ups are a dream come true.

Aftermath/Effect on Respective Universe – ????

As far as I can see, Convergence has had absolutely no effect on the DCU at all, and for an event that completely took over an entire company’s line of comics, that’s saying a lot. That’s not to say that it was all bad. The Good: Visiting the pre-New 52 Universe again as well as seeing pre-Crisis characters was cool. Also, watching characters like Post-Crisis Superboy interact with Kingdom Superman was pretty awesome. The Bad: Convergence featured one of the most senseless and utterly useless deaths of a hero I’ve ever seen. To have to watch in horror as Travis Morgan, the great Warlord of Skartaris, is so easily dispatched and murdered by his arch foe was devastating. The Aftermath: It ends the brand “New 52” on the covers of DC Comics yet the New 52 continuity continues unabated. And, I guess the story’s legacy will be that it introduces Telos, who as far as I can tell is a good guy Brainiac? I’m not sure on him.

As far as I can see, Secret Wars, like DC’s offering, has had no real effect on the Marvel U as a whole. There’s going to be a new Hulk, team roster changes, and new titles, but none of these cosmetic changes needed a Big Event to enact them. As for the event itself? The Good: It is a Doom story and anytime Marvel can shed the Spotlight on the greatest comic book super villain in history is all right by me. The Bad: My biggest complaint for Secret Wars is that for such an epic tale, a tale that had a magnificent two-year ramp up (see New Avengers and Time Runs Out), the kind of ramp up not seen since Infinite Crisis, this story is apparently going to have such a minute pay off. Which brings me to… The Aftermath: The biggest change is that the Ultimate Universe is no more, but that was a dying concept anyway. Flipping through the pages of the latest Marvel Previews I see very little to make me think that such an epic like Secret Wars has had any effect on the status quo.

That’s my biggest complaint about the Big Two’s biggest events of 2015. Though the ideas were solid and the creative teams were top notch, and the story tie-ins had varying degrees of entertainment value, I’m left asking – What was the point?

Let me illustrate my point by highlighting the Big Two’s biggest events of the last thirty years and the effects they had on the status quo.

For DC, Crisis on Infinite Earths restarted the DC Universe. The Death of Superman left us in a World without Superman and introduced four major new characters – Superboy, the Eradicator, Steel, and the Cyborg-Superman – who still affect the DCU to this day. Knightfall saw Batman face his greatest defeat at the hands of a foe that has become one of his deadliest to date. Infinite Crisis brought an entire era of storytelling to a close and set the stage for the next. The Sinestro Corps War completely changed the status quo of the DCU and opened the door for an array of Lanterns. And, Flashpoint paved the way for The New 52.

For Marvel, Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars left Spider-Man, the Hulk, Avengers, and Fantastic Four so changed that its upheaval was felt for years afterwards and in some cases (i.e. Venom) are even being felt to this day. The Mutant Massacre birthed so many subplots that it took Marvel’s Merry Mutants nearly twenty years to sort them all out. Age of Apocalypse showed what could be accomplished by a company and group of creators when they possess the courage of their convictions, and it introduced concepts and characters that are still around today. House of M decimated the mutant community. The Illuminati led to Planet Hulk which unleashed World War Hulk. And, Civil War fractured the super hero community and left the world without its greatest hero which opened the door for a Secret Invasion and led to a Dark Reign which eventually brought Asgard under Siege.

Secret Wars and Convergence, are they worth a read? Sure. Are they worthy of the moniker BIG EVENT? Let me get back to you on that one.

The more I think about it, I don’t believe it’s that Marvel or DC Comics have forgotten how to execute a Big Event. No, I believe it’s more like they don’t know the meaning behind or the reasons for doing a Big Event.

This is Odinson bidding thee farewell

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About Odinson

I am a lifelong comics fan and pop culture enthusiast. Comic books, novels, games, television, movies, I love it all. From fantasy to science fiction, drama to comedy, as long as the writing and execution are interesting, I love it, and I want to talk about it.

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