Sunday, March 29, 2015


So it seems that following this year's "Secret Wars" event, the Marvel Universe is going to be somewhat rebooted, with the Ultimate continuity integrating into the existing Marvel backstory. I don't know how they're going to do it and really, I'm not all that interested. But the idea got me thinking, as I'm sure we all have from time to time, about what I would do if I had complete control over the Marvel Universe. If I could just blow everything up and start it all over again, what would the landscape look like? What titles would be published and which would get the axe?

Now remember, this is my fantasy; a magical world where profits, sales quotas, and corporate overlords don't matter. It is, simply, my idea of an ideal Marvel publishing schedule for me, and it's naturally based strongly on my own nostalgia, which is a weird mish-mash of eighties and nineties Marvel with some minor aspects of the sixties, seventies, and modern day.

If I rebooted the Marvel Universe, my premise would be fairly simple: the Silver Age and much of the Bronze Age happened pretty much exactly as we all remember. It is now, in Marvel Time, about eight to ten years since the first superheroes, the Fantastic Four, debuted.

As far as the content of the comics, my mandate to the writers would be to strip-mine the best of the past while moving forward, basing their new stories on the strongest material from classic Marvel. The writing style should be of the seventies/eighties/nineties heavy sub-plot style. Third person narrative captions and thought balloons should abound, and relationships and characterizations should stick to the most iconic versions of the characters.

Artists, meanwhile, would be instructed to draw the comic books like comics books, featuring page after page of impossibly physically idealized men and women in skintight, seamless costumes, doing everything from punching a bad guy to sitting at a desk in the most exciting way possible. HOW TO DRAW COMICS THE MARVEL WAY would be required study for every artist prior to their starting work on a book. Artists should certainly develop their own unique styles, but they should keep all characters one hundred percent on-model with absolutely no liberties whatsoever taken with things such as minor costume details, hair length, etc. Changing these things willy nilly, without advance editorial approval, erodes the concept of a shared universe.

In short, the single watchword for the writing in these comics would be "bombastic", while for the artwork it would be "dynamic". And all the series would be produced, by mandatory order, using the "Marvel method" of plot followed by pencils followed by script. I honestly believe that this procedure leads to far better, more interesting comic books than the "full script/art monkey" style utilized nowadays.

And lastly, our series lineup, along with a brief logline and the inspiration/feel they should aim for, would be:
  • ALPHA FLIGHT: Guardian, Shaman, Puck, Snowbird, Northstar, Aurora, and Sasquatch defend Canada from threats great and small, sometimes together and sometimes in smaller groups. Bi-monthly.
    Inspiration: John Byrne’s ALPHA FLIGHT run.
  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: Peter Parker balances power and responsibility with his life as a grad student bachelor. Twice monthly.
    Inspiration: Late sixties SPIDER-MAN by Stan Lee and John Romita mixed with Roger Stern’s early eighties SPIDER-MAN.
  • (THE MIGHTY) AVENGERS: Captain America, Thor, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers), She-Hulk, Wonder Man, and the Beast battle the foes no single hero can face alone. Monthly.
    Inspiration: Late nineties AVENGERS by Kurt Busiek and George Pérez.
  • AVENGERS WEST COAST: Iron Man, Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Yellowjacket (Hank Pym), the Wasp, U.S. Agent, Hercules, and Tigra team up regularly to protect the western seaboard. Monthly.
    Inspiration: Late nineties AVENGERS by Kurt Busiek and George Pérez.
  • BLACK PANTHER: T’Challa, the king of Wakanda, finds himself embroiled in political intrigue and defends his throne from usurpers. Monthly.
    Inspiration: Christopher Priest’s late nineties Black Panther.
  • BLACK WIDOW: At the order of Nick Fury, SHIELD operative Natasha Romanova travels to exotic locations, mixed up in constant action and romance everywhere she goes. Bi-Monthly
    Inspiration: James Bond movies crossed with Ed Brubaker's CAPTAIN AMERICA.
  • CAPTAIN AMERICA: Away from the Avengers, Cap undertakes missions for Nick Fury’s SHIELD and works as an independent operative, sometimes alongside his partners, the Falcon and Agent 13. Monthly.
    Inspiration: Mark Gruenwald’s eighties/nineties CAPTAIN AMERICA.
  • CAPTAIN MARVEL: Ex-Air Force operative Carol Danvers flies solo against many of the Earth’s greatest villains. Monthly.
    Inspiration: Captain Marvel should be the Marvel Universe’s female Superman, a la John Byrne’s eighties run or SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES.*
  • DAREDEVIL: Criminal defense attorney by day, guardian of Hell’s Kitchen by night, Matt Murdock faces the street-level foes no other hero can handle. Monthly.
    Inspiration: Frank Miller’s first DAREDEVIL run.
  • DEADPOOL: The Merc With a Mouth strives to prove he is more than just a hired gun with the help of his sidekicks, Weasel and Blind Al. Monthly.
    Inspiration: Joe Kelly’s DEADPOOL/Fabian Nicieza's CABLE & DEADPOOL.
  • DEFENDERS: Nighthawk, Valkyrie, Hellcat, Namor, and Dr. Strange band together to tackle the threats the Avengers miss. Bi-monthly.
    Inspiration: Borrowing a page from DC: the Keith Giffen/J.M. DeMatteis JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL.
  • EXCALIBUR: From their base on Muir Island, Captain Britain, Meggan, the Black Knight, Cerise, Kylun, Wolfsbane, and their reluctant handler Pete Wisdom protect the British Isles from everything the multiverse can throw at them. Bi-monthly.
    Inspiration: Excalibur should be Britain's Mightiest Heroes, a super-team beloved throughout the land. In this case we would shoot for Bob Harras's AVENGERS, which featured the scope of the Avengers with the X-Men's sensibilities.
  • FANTASTIC FOUR: Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch, and the ever lovin’, blue-eyed Thing explore the universe and and protect the world from Dr. Doom while maintaining some semblance of a normal family life. Monthly.
    Inspiration: Stan Lee’s & Jack Kirby’s FANTASTIC FOUR and John Byrne’s version of same.
  • GENERATION X: At Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters in Massachusetts, Banshee and the White Queen, along with resident assistant Kitty Pryde, instruct the next generation of mutant heroes: M, Jubilee, Synch, Skin, Husk, and Chamber. Monthly.
    Inspiration: Scott Lobdell’s GENERATION X.
  • HEROES FOR HIRE: If you’ve got the cash, no assignment is too small for Luke "Power Man" Cage and Danny "Iron Fist" Rand to tackle. Every issue features a back-up serial starring Colleen Wing and Misty Knight, the Daughters of the Dragon. Bi-monthly.
    Inspiration: The early eighties POWER MAN & IRON FIST series by way of seventies "exploitation" films.
  • (THE INCREDIBLE) HULK: Gray or green, smart or dumb, the Hulk rampages his way across the country and past the armed forces. All he wants is to be left alone! Monthly.
    Inspiration: Peter David’s early (Gray Hulk/Joe Fixit era) INCREDIBLE HULK run.
  • IRON MAN: Billionaire industrialist playboy Tony Stark lives a life of fast cars, fast women, and fast adventure when he dons a suit of sleek, hi-tech armor to transform into his red-and-gold “bodyguard”, Iron Man.
    Inspiration: David Michelinie & Bob Layton’s original and second IRON MAN runs, mixed with the IRON MAN films.
  • MARVEL SPOTLIGHT: Every issue features an adventure of a rarely seen or brand-new Marvel character or team.
    Inspiration: The various Marvel anthologies of the seventies (MARVEL PREMIERE, MARVEL SPOTLIGHT, etc.).
  • (THE MIGHTY) THOR: From Earth to Asgard and beyond, Thor defends all realms from gods and monsters alike. Monthly.
    Inspiration: The eighties THOR run from Walter Simonson.
  • MOON KNIGHT: With his pilot Frenchie and his lover Marlene, the macabre Moon Knight (a.k.a. Marc Spector, Steven Grant, Jake Lockley, and more) trots the globe battling international felons and terrorists. Bi-monthly.
    Inspiration: Doug Moench’s earliest seventies Moon Knight stories as seen in MARVEL SPOTLIGHT and HULK! magazine.
  • NEW WARRIORS: Night Thrasher, Justice, Firestar, Namorita, Nova, Silhouette, and Speedball will be the next generation of heroes, unless their teenage angst tears the team apart first. Monthly.
    Inspiration: The original nineties NEW WARRIORS issues by Fabian Nicieza and Mark Bagley.
  • SCARLET SPIDER: Ben Reilly wanders the country, righting wrongs where he finds them and struggling to come to grips with the fact that he is a clone of the original Spider-Man. Bi-monthly.
    Inspiration: SPIDER-MAN: THE LOST YEARS by J.M. DeMatteis mixed with THE INCREDIBLE HULK TV series.
  • (THE SENSATIONAL) SHE-HULK: After the Avengers defeat a villain, prosecuting attorney Jennifer Walters puts him behind bars. But her reputation as a party girl regularly lands her in hot water with her bosses, leading to sometimes comical situations. Monthly.
    Inspiration: Dan Slott’s SHE-HULK with bits of John Byrne’s SENSATIONAL SHE-HULK mixed in (and maybe just a touch of the zaniness of THREE'S COMPANY, too).
  • SILVER SURFER: The silver-skinned sentinel of the spaceways explores the galaxy, discovering new worlds and civilizations. Monthly.
    Inspiration: The late eighties/nineties SILVER SURFER series.
  • THUNDERBOLTS: Moonstone, Fixer, Songbird, MACH-5, Atlas, Blizzard, and Jolt struggle to make amends for their criminal careers and bring their founder, Baron Zemo, to justice, even as infighting threatens to deep-six their efforts. Monthly.
    Inspiration: Kurt Busiek’s and Fabian Nicieza’s THUNDERBOLTS.
  • WARLOCK AND THE INFINITY WATCH: Adam Warlock, Pip the Troll, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, and Moondragon safeguard the Infinity gems and defend our plane of existence from extra-dimensional warlords. Wild-card Thanos is sometimes their ally, but always for his own reasons. Monthly.
    Inspiration: Almost any Marvel series from Jim Starlin.
  • WOLVERINE: The ol’ canucklehead strikes out on his own, adventuring solo around the world from Westchester County to Madripoor. Bi-monthly.
    Inspiration: Early MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS and WOLVERINE stories from Chris Claremont and John Buscema.
  • X-FACTOR: Havok, Polaris, Iceman, Mystique, and Multiple Man work for Dr. Valerie Cooper as the U.S. Government's mutant task force. Monthly.
    Inspiration: Peter David's original X-FACTOR.
  • X-FORCE: Cable and Domino lead Cannonball, Boom Boom, Warpath, Moonstar, Siryn, Sunspot, and Shatterstar on proactive, para-military missions to eliminate threats to mutantkind before they can fight back. Monthly.
    Inspiration: Fabian Nicieza’s post-Liefeld X-FORCE run.
  • (THE UNCANNY) X-MEN: At the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, Professor X presides over Cyclops, Phoenix, Storm, Colossus, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Gambit, Rogue, Bishop, and Psylocke, all feared and hated by the world they have sworn to protect. Twice monthly.
    Inspiration: The seventies/eighties Claremont/Byrne/Cockrum/Smith X-MEN by way of Scott Lobdell’s and Fabian Niceiza’s nineties X-MEN.
That’s thirty series. Twenty monthly, eight bi-monthly and two bi-weekly, equating to twenty-eight published issues per month. Fairly easy for anyone to keep up with, especially in the era of Marvel Unlimited, where you can read all of it a few months later for one low subscription fee. It’s a nice mix of solo and team books, influenced by some of my favorite comic book runs. I won’t go so far as to pick creative teams for these series, because for most it should be fairly obvious what I'm shooting for. I would look for writers and artists willing to hew as closely as possible to the inspirations listed for each series, and I would hold them strictly to those models. They shouldn't parrot old stories over again, but they should absolutely imitate the most successful classic runs and other inspirations.

For some this might be considered living in the past. For me, it's... well, it's exactly that. That's why it's a fantasy, after all! They say you can’t go home again, but I say you’ll never know until you try. Even if it turned out to be a disappointment, it couldn’t be worse than what we have now.

*This may deserve its own post, but in brief: I really think modern Marvel has a good handle on Carol Danvers, but I would take her further. She should absolutely be Captain Marvel, and I think she should be one of the Earth's highest profile superheroes, rivaling Captain America in (in-universe) popularity. She should really be Marvel's Superman. Thor may be closer to Superman in power level, but he spends a lot of time in Asgard. Carol should be the version of Superman that protects Earth from aliens, stops natural disasters, etc. She should be a Really Big Deal in the Marvel Universe, maybe even serving a term as the Avengers' chairperson.

But she should do all this in her classic Dave Cockrum costume. Nothing against the suit they have her in now, which isn't bad -- but Carol belongs in her classic outfit, one of the best female superhero costumes ever created.


  1. You know, it's okay to not gut-wretchingly hate Bob Harras... but what_the_hell, of all myriad possibilities, is this Harras-lovefest for the early 90's X-status quo, with it's-a-school-they're-the-students X-Men, governmental X-Factor and paramilitary X-Force?! (unless a wish they'd start again from the status at the end of adjectiveless X-MEN #3 and do it right this time).

    Also, no Punisher, who has had like three on-goings going on simultaniously? No Ghost Rider of any sort? You have no love for the cast of Face/off.

    There's a place for GENERATION X only if it's about a generator installation mechanic guy, who's a mutant with so useless mutant power that he never ever fights anyone but only has issues in his civilian life akin to Peter Parker.

    I'd still rather everyone would just find themselves in the Central Park freshly returning from THE Secret Wars and take it from there. Anything that has happened after that is an alternative future, which Uatu the Watcher summarily goes through with them and then slaps Cyclops. Illyana would go fight her dark side with all new vigor.

    Totally with you about Carol though. As long as she's still a 50-tonner and has to make it up with creativity when facing stronger opponents.

    1. Sorry, Teemu. I like what I like; what can I say? As Teebore said, the early-mid ninties was my X-Men era. I love the old stuff; I've declared Claremont/Cockrum/Byrne/Smith, issues 94 - 175, my favorite comic book run of all time more than once. But, much as I love it, it's not the X-Men that belong to me. My X-Men are a group of a dozen or so mutants crammed into a mansion in Westchester with their mentor in his golden hoverchair.

      But you're right that when I say "The seventies/eighties Claremont/Byrne/Cockrum/Smith X-MEN by way of the Scott Lobdell’s and Fabian Niceiza’s nineties X-MEN," I mean stories written with the tone and style of seventies Claremont, but using the status quo of Lobdell/Nicieza.

      As for the rest -- I was introduced to Cannonball, et al, as X-Force. They've never impressed me much as the New Mutants, but I like them as the students who "strayed" from Xavier's dream to follow their own path. I wasn't enamored with the mid-nineties status quo where they moved back into the mansion, either. I like them out and out on their own, and a bit older than they were in NEW MUTANTS. The Gen-X kids are "my" X-Men in training. And X-Factor was a cool idea that just didn't get good stories to go with it, so I stand by that concept too. The problem with the ancillary X-titles of the nineties wasn't that there were too many of them and it wasn't with their premises. It was with the fact that they rarely lived up to their premises (and were sometimes poorly written to boot).

      Anyway, my list is heavily skewed towards nineties X-Men, but much of the rest of it takes cues from the seventies and eighties!

      The FACE/OFF comment cracked me up. I forgot Travolta was in a Punisher movie. But, as I said, this is my fantasy Marvel line-up, and I've never liked the Punisher as a protagonist, and Ghost Rider has never interested me much at all, even as a guest star. I just don't "get" him.

      Your concept of just starting fresh from the end of the original SECRET WARS has merit. It's a good "break point".

    2. It's me who should be sorry, for failing to notice this comment until now. You already answered here to some of the questioning/-able pointers I made in my later comments. I also want to make it absolutely certain I'm not trying to discredit anyone's preferences. There are no wrong answers here, only different paths and reasons for answers, and the important bit is to get to see those.

      About THE Secret Wars, I seem to have changed my mind. It's the beginning of it that's the break point, and everyone's invited this time.

      "The wave of evil coming from the other vessel is giving me a headache", but that's just me then. :)

  2. Interesting exercise and very interesting run down of titles. I may quibble with a few things here or there (I'd probably swap Hercules and Wonder Man, though I get that you want Beast and Wonder Man paired up and Hercules on the West Coast is an inspired idea, my "student-focused X-book would probably take inspiration from the later DeFillips/Weir New X-Men rather than Gen X, etc.) but our sensibilities are pretty close. I particularly like your take on Excalibur. It might be a bit redundant, but I'd also toss in a GI Joe-esque SHIELD series, with Fury in an advisory/Professor X role, basically Hama's GI Joe for the Marvel Universe (which, of course, was what Hama's Joe was originally pitched as).

    She should absolutely be Captain Marvel, and I think she should be one of the Earth's highest profile superheroes, rivaling Captain America in (in-universe) popularity. She should really be Marvel's Superman.

    With you there, along with pretty much everything you said in that paragraph. They're handling her well now, could still do better, etc.

    @Teemu: but what_the_hell, of all myriad possibilities, is this Harras-lovefest for the early 90's X-status quo, with it's-a-school-they're-the-students X-Men, governmental X-Factor and paramilitary X-Force?!

    Just look at it this way: that era is to fans like me (and, I'm reasonably certain, Matt) what the mid to late 80s, circa-Secret War Marvel is to you. The way you feel about that, is the way we feel about the early 90s X-books. While there are other eras and takes on the character (both prior to and after) that I enjoy more now, that early 90s status quo is what was in place when I first started reading comics, and as a result, will always be remembered fondly and feel like the default status quo, to which all things should eventually revert, just like the late 80s is to you.

    1. Way to make a fella feel like a dinosaur, Teeb. :D As I have gathered it, we three are approximately the same age (Jul '79 me) and I just got a bit (immensely) lucky to have started reading a bit earlier and benefiting from them here being two or so years late in publication, which gave me five years to have my monthly (or bi-monthly) fresh-from-print X-book to be a Claremont. In other words, I'm spoiled.

      I wasn't being like genuinelyharsh here, and I certainly whole-heartedly cherish the fondness you guys have for the era, but I can't help feeling in this one call it's the nostalgia angle calling the shots here.

      Of course, I'm deliberately confusing it here between the setting, and the stories and craftmanship that was associated to any particular settings back then. The early 90's X-Men written by the late 70's Claremont would probably kick balls.

    2. I never read any of the NEW X-MEN stuff, so I can't really speak to those characters. I just have a soft spot for GEN-X, though honestly it's more due to Banshee than the students. I could see an ongoing SHIELD series in here someplace too, though having included a BLACK WIDOW ongoing plus a CAPTAIN AMERICA which would use SHIELD a lot, I figured that was enough. Maybe SHIELD gets a backup serial running through those two titles!

      Well said on the nineties love, by the way. I know much of it is garbage, but there's some good stuff in there, or at least the kernels of good stuff, and I don't like to see that forgotten.

      Teemu -- "Way to make a fella feel like a dinosaur, Teeb."

      Hey, I'm actually older than you guys. I was born in December '78. And I was a Spider-Man fan by the time I was four years old, thanks to reruns of the sixties cartoons, episodes of AMAZING FRIENDS on Saturday mornings, and other stuff. I just didn't become a regular Marvel comics reader for a while after. Most of my first decade or so was all about Disney by Barks and Rosa and Gottfredson. I read an occasional Spidey comic here and there, but I didn't become even a remotely regular reader until maybe age ten. It was longer until I got into the X-Men; that was with "X-Cutioner's Song", though there was a brief gap after that story before I officially began reading monthly. And it was a couple years later still that I actually read the classic stuff.

      But yes, obviously this article is a huge nostalgia-fest for me. Only one of my "inspirations" is from post-2000, that being the Brubaker CAPTAIN AMERICA reference (though Preist's BLACK PANTHER lasted past 2000, it started before). Like I said, it's my fantasy! It's a completely selfish premise where Marvel is publishing comics just for me, exactly how I want them, without worrying about demographics. If I was going to try and come up with an actual, real-world publishing plan, it would look very different from this because I'd have to take into account profit and loss and target demos and movie synergy and we'd have Wolverine co-headlining every other book.

    3. One of the things I loved about NEW X-MEN was the way it built up a core group of students, and then pulled in a bunch of scattered B-listers (mostly former New Mutants) who hadn't been featured much as teachers. Dani was pretty much a main character for awhile, with Rahne (who got saddled with an ill-advised student/teacher romance plot), Karma and Amara on hand as well. And Northstar, making lemonade out of the Chuck Austen UNCANNY run.

      It was probably the closest any of the various "school for mutants" series came to actually being about mutants in school, first and foremost, with the traditional superheroic stuff much more limited, and I loved it for that. Definitely worth checking out on Unlimited if it's available, though it's probably not (or really scattered). I'd pay top dollar for a volume collecting all the DeFillips/Weir stuff and then another for the Kyle & Yost follow up (which wasn't quite as good, but had to deal with a lost of crossover junk, like M-Day).

      I have nothing against GENERATION X, which was the first new "main" series to launch after I started reading comics, but I also never connected that strongly with it. I think the large cast may have been part of the problem; any time I started getting invested in, say, a Synch or Husk or Jubilee story, I had to sit through a Skin story, or the latest chapter in the M/Penance debacle.

      But I still love it when those characters pop up in stuff now; I have a lot of affection for them, the ones I liked, at least (introspective, I know...).

      And thanks for making me feel young guys. : ) I'm May of '81 so I'm the young'un. I didn't really get into comics until I was about 12, but I was already familiar with superheroes thanks to cartoons, movies, and action figures. I had a bunch of the Super Powers figures, and the SuperHero Dictionary (literally an English dictionary featuring DC characters) had been required reading when I was young and just learning how to read myself. Which meant I made my poor parents read the dictionary to me at night, just because it had Lex Luthor stealing pies.

      I've mentioned before (and will again, when I do posts on them) that the Marvel trading cards served as the gateway for me getting into comics, the stepping stone between my baseball hobby and getting into comics. But of course, even without reading comics, I knew enough about the characters featured on those cards (most of them, anyways. The main iconic ones, at least) to, you know, want to collect them in the first place.

    4. Lex Luthor stealing pies? That's terrible. Also, I believe our preferred term is 'stepping disks'.

      We didn't get TV shows or anything, outside the comics the Marvel superheroes had zero presence. Superman, Batman, Tarzan and Fantom were the ones known by the wider public. First opening a Marvel book in the 80's was an initiation ritual on its own. Not that there wasn't the readership still.

      Which brings us to Generation X. There's the famous story of Stan Lee setting up pics of the old X-Men and the new X-Men in a room and asking the creator point the characters by their names. Cyclops? Easy. Angel? Easy. Colossus, Wolverine, not so much. He had a point to make about the connectivity of name and looks and powers, and friends, Stan Lee was wrong.

      The one thing that appealed to me in the UNCANNY from the first issue was that they weren't Steel Man, Claw Man, Blue Devil and Weather Girl. In comparison to "first-wave" guys Superman, Batman, Spider-Man etc. these "second-wavers" weren't Single-definition Men and they didn't have an obvious power to go with an obvious name. Oh no. Her name was "Rogue" and her powers were definable but creative and my mind was totally blown.

      The thing wrong with the 90's is the emergence of the "third wave" characters. It's like the second wave had taken all the cool powers and the thirds were forced to have yet something completely else. And we got Siena Blaze, Mikhail Rasputin, Chamber, Husk, Skin, Synch etc. whose powers were either pretty undefined and unclear to begin with or defined but just silly. "I stretch my skin". "Okay... cool that you stretch your skin", I say as I back away. The X-Force gets all the flak as the Liefeldian fantasy, but in a way it's Generation X that to me is the worst offender by trying too hard to be to the second wave what the second wave was to the first. So maybe Stan did have a point after all.

    5. Matt: Like I said, it's my fantasy! It's a completely selfish premise where Marvel is publishing comics just for me, exactly how I want them

      Oh yes. But I still want to believe that the omission of the likes of Punisher was an oversight rather than actively wanting there being no such thing. Like, in your fantasy Marvel Universe there would still surely continue to be those odd corners of Punisher and Tomb of Dracula, despite YOU personally possibly having zero interest for the books yourself?

    6. I really liked GENERATION X. I loved most of the characters, and I liked that in a sea of dark and mysterious X-books (which I loved), it was usually the lighthearted, fun one.

      I always took Skin as a deliberate attempt to headline a mutant with a "lame" power. I don't think we were supposed to believe skin-stretching was cool. Skin himself remarked about how sucky his power was in the comics. In another life, he would've been a nameless Morlock. I kind of liked that aspect of his character.

      M and Synch, though definitely had poorly defined powers. I'm still not quite sure what their deals were. I guess M's power was to... psionically (?) make herself into her own physical ideal? Which resulted in super-strength, invulnerability, flight, etc.

      Synch, I've never understood. Sometimes he seemed like Rogue, stealing powers, other times he seemed like Mimic, copying powers. And, probably partially due to artistic confusion, it was not always clear whether he physically manifested the powers or whether his "aura" did it.

      Husk made sense to me though, as did Chamber, Penance, and of course, Jubilee. The whole M/Penance situation turned out to be a mess, of course, but that was more about the story than the characters.

  3. Also, forgot to add, in terms of the looming Secret Wars "reboot", I remain curious to see just how sweeping it'll be. I know the general consensus is that the word "reboot" is the most applicable, but I feel like, if Marvel was going to be doing as sweeping a reboot as, say, DC's Nu52, they'd have made that pretty clear by now, announced a ton of #1s, etc.

    I have a feeling this'll be more of a soft reboot, used to fix a few things here or there, a la DC's various early to mid-00s Crises. Yes, the Ultimate U will be gone, but I think that'll just mean Miles Morales will be running around the Marvel U (is there even anything else from the Ultimate U left that anyone cares about?), and they'll use this to bring back Wolverine and any other notably dead characters (I lose track if there's any others), stuff like that. More tweaks than sweeping changes.

    I just feel like Marvel is being coy about the exact nature of the post-Secret Wars landscape, letting people throw around the word "reboot" and not correcting them, because then they can have their cake and eat it too (all the press and chatter of doing a reboot, without actually doing one).

    Maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part, as I'd rather see Brand New Day-like continuity touch ups rather than a Nu52 start-from-scratch relaunch. We'll see, I suppose.

  4. Isn't it to be Earth-616 still, but with assorted parallel universe versions of the gang brought there (assumably) instead of the regular folks?

    1. Maybe? I feel like they've been dodgy even when confirming that, and that's just the conclusion most fans have made since it's seems the least messy.

    2. I don't think it'll be a hard reboot either. I think Marvel could really use one, but they seem to be proud of the fact that, unlike DC, they never reboot. Personally, though I hated this idea when I was younger, nowadays I almost think it would be best to just reboot every ten years or so. Blow it all up and start over and try new things. That way the stuff I loved about the past can't be continually messed up and/or overridden.

      In any case, I doubt I'll check any of it out. Other than X-MEN '92. That has my mild attention.

    3. My only reservation with regular hard reboots is that instead of trying new things, we'd just end up getting the same stories retold again and again. I would pay good money to not read another version of the Spider-Man origin story or see one on in a movie for at least 20 years, and ULTIMATE X-MEN went off the rails pretty quickly once it started to read like they were just running down a checklist. "Here's Ultimate Bishop. And Ultimate Stryfe. And Ultimate X-Cutioners Song" and so on.

      Obviously, they *could* use a reboot to tell new and exciting stories (DC managed to eek at least a few out of the Nu52, in and amongst all the rehashes), but I'd almost rather they just try to work those takes into the existing universe, like, say, the current MS. MARVEL or Fraction's HAWKEYE, then getting the umpteenth version of the X-Men's first encounter with Magneto ("but this time, ___ is on Magneto's side!") or whatever.

    4. Matt: Other than X-MEN '92. That has my mild attention.

      Ha, plenty of attention on that one lately. Anyways, I'm chuckling on the fact that the writer is on record for "not having Gambit and Rogue on top list for anything", when once asked about his top list for Southern characters. That'll fly just well on X-MEN '92.

      But it looks like you'll be getting what you wished for, post-Secret Wars.

      The problem with a reboot with Marvel is that whereas with DC it was a much-needed house-cleaning act after the Silver Age silliness and whatnot, Marvel can't, just can't do away with the awesomeness that is the Coming of Galactus, the Skrull-Kree War etc.I joke about the THE Secret Wars as the point of divergence, but it would actually be a sensible point in a way, allowing them to keep stuff up to the Bronze Age. Not too much tweaking would be needed to bring the X-Men to their '92 status (just don't do X-Factor) and Wolverine of course would be fresh out of his limited series.

      I'm actually deeply disturbed how they're doing it under the banner of Secret Wars. They've done the Secret Wars once already, no sense in redoing it in the same continuity again.

      Unless every participant actually are again to find themselves on the white mechanical thingies on the orbit of the Battle World, on top of those two there originally were. It would be nothing sort of awesome if the final panels of pre-Secret Wars (2015) Marvel were about the gang getting into the thingies in Central Park. "Hey guys, remember the last time..." FLASH!

      Hey, it's not like the mid-thirties guys isn't a demographic for them today in any case.

    5. In Sims' defense (not of *that*, of his attitudes towards the X-Men):

      A. Tastes can change - I know from reading his reviews of the animated series that he gained a new appreciation for Gambit, at least within the context of the show (which is, of course, the world he's writing the series in).
      B. A job's a job - I'm not the biggest fan of, say, Deadpool, but if Marvel wanted to pay me to write a Deadpool comic, I'd instantly become his #1 fan.

      That said, I cringe to think of what Sims'll do with Cyclops in that series, whom, he's made plenty clear in his writing, he's never liked in any form.

      They've done the Secret Wars once already, no sense in redoing it in the same continuity again.

      Technically, they've done it THREE times already, however much you may choose to ignore the tales of the Beyonder learning to pee and Nick Fury leading a secret assault on Latveria.

      Besides, gotta get those mid-30 something dollars by reminding of them of other stories they've already read and enjoyed. :)

    6. They haven't done it three times! It's like Jaws, there's only one Jaws... and then there's Jaws II-IV.

      Plus, despite myself having once or twice done a comparison between them, I actually have a certain affection towards SW II, too, to actively wish it go away. Admittedly it's because I managed only to get the X-Men, Spidey and FF portion of it. It was at least effortlessly enough how Claremont weaved it into the X-mythos, and the Spidey spin-off bit was actually very good, with the golden sky-scraper business and the solid gold notebook rescued from the trashcan. Plus, you know, the Europeans and David Hasselhoff.

    7. Good points about multiple reboots. I'm not sure how you could do it and make it work without constant rehashes. Even my little exercise above would lead to plenty of rehashing, I'm sure. I don't know what the right answer is.

      I was unaware that Chris Sims has something against Cyclops. This has me rethinking my position on X-MEN '92. But I think he has a co-writer, so maybe they'll keep each other in line.

    8. Here's Chris' case against Cyclops, which basically boils down to "he's the teacher's pet of the X-Men, so why bother with that when cool Wolverine is right there?", which completely ignores the fact that for many of us, we like Cyclops *because* he's the teacher's pet, because we were teacher's pets too. He's wish fulfillment for nerds, the ultimate goody-goody who still gets to romance attractive women and order the cool kids around. To me, that's much more appealing than Wolverine, who's more like the kids in school too cool to follow the rules, who picked on us Cyclops types.

      But I doubt it'll impact his X-MEN 92 much; Cyclops may have a lesser role in it, but that would fit the aesthetic of the cartoon anyway. I doubt he'll go out of his way to trash the character in am official Marvel book he's being paid to write.

    9. I think you both and Alan Davis are at fault with playing the solid dependability angle. We're talking about the guy who threw hot cocoa at the face of whimpering Wolverine.

      I mean, it'd be a one panel fight if you wanted it to be.

  5. So, guys: how did you respond to the shamelessly 90's cool villain Cyclops of the Age of Apocalypse? I have to say I bought him up and didn't stop waiting for my change, but mainly on the foundation of how far they had brought him from his at-time usual portrayal. Is he so into Charles Xavier because inside he knows that's what he'd be without his guidance? Or just in need of a father-figure, what with the real one being a family-leaving space pirate.

    No wonder he got a bit unhinged just after his surrogate dad left with the space pirate.

    1. I didn't mind that version of Cyclops at all as a one-shot alternate universe character. No problem with that sort of thing. I don't like when Marvel tries to reinvent him that way in the mainstream universe, though. I recall when he returned to normal after being merged with Apocalypse following "The Twelve", he was presented as a brooding "bad boy" type, which really irked me. (Cyclops broods, yes -- but he's a brooding square, not an emo TWILIGHT-esque dreamboat.)