So with FX premiering Legion this week, I sat down and read through the penultimate David Haller story “X-Men Legacy”(2012). With only a cursory knowledge of Legion and a bit of a disconnect to the X-Book at the time (this is post Avengers v X-Men and it’s climax) I dove in with very limited expectations. What I got was a very strong, character driven story of self, loss, and destiny. By its bittersweet ending in issue 24 I genuinely felt attached and heartbroken by the decisions made. I’m trying very hard to avoid spoilers because the journey in this case is its own story, the conclusions springs from those steps preceding it and telling you the ending does the 23 issues before it a disservice.
This is a story of what defines the self, David Haller has always been the embodiment of unlimited potential hindered by a fractured psyche. His power set is so massive, so godlike, that he would be the most powerful being in the universe, on par with the cosmic beings like Eternity, The Living Tribunal, and Death, in essence whatever Haller wanted to do he could. The only limitation on that godlike ability came in the form of his shattered self image and the disparit menagerie of monsters that embody each power. Like a Green Lantern, his self confidence and willpower allow him greater access to his powers, but unlike the GL corps David has to contend with a psychic representation of the power he wants to use, not merely turning a power on but literally fighting that personality for control. If he loses that fight the beast or entity takes control, or in some cases, are unleased in chaotic fashion. Legacy is a story of this broken person finding how to fix himself, if he even can fix himself.
We will dig into this later this week on The Geeks Respite, along with a review of FX’s first episode of Legion.
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So it’s pretty late here, after a pretty taxing day, but as I kick back and watch an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 I am just drawn into some thoughts about some random stuff. So join me in the walk through my mind..
1) I spent this past weekend watching a couple of cartoons series that have some buzz. One, completely earned. Gravity Falls was everything I had heard and more, I’d recommend you check it out. The other? Meh it was ok. Star vs the Forces of Evil had some real hits but about the same number of misses. The season finale showed some depth and gives me hope that season two will finish working the bugs out.
2) While Cinematic Titanic and Rifftrax are great, the jokes are usually better that the original MST3K series or at least seem more worked out, nothing can cheer me up like Mike or Joel and the bots mocking Manos the Hands of Fate or Hobgoblins.
3) I keep moving toward starting the podcast but my own insecurities hold me back, so to compensate I’m going to run a Twitch Channel test tomorrow and see if I can get over this irrational stage fright.
4) When did fans forget what storytelling is? Hydra Cap is just the most recent event that had fans calling for the heads of the writers/creators. Everyone jumps at the first bump in the story instead of waiting till the rides over. I guess it’s one of those things that happens when we have an instant gratification mentality thanks to the internet.
5) Yup wrestling is fun to watch sometimes.
Just some of the rambling in my ADHD brain.
So Marvel released information on Divided We Stand, another relaunch, not long after the All-New, All-Different relaunch after the soft reboot Secret Wars after the Now relaunch after, well you get the idea. Once DC was the master of the reboot (and currently Rebirth is going into good places), just hitting the reset button about every 10-ish years starting with the original Crisis. Now though it seems like Marvel is in a constant cycle of relaunches, not as severe as reboots but still rocking the foundations as it were. Of course the catalyst for this relaunch is the current event Civil War 2: Electric Boogaloo, and while I have yet to check out the story, due to it already being too massive to pick up individually, the summaries and spoilers I have been hit with on social media paint a decent story but a needless event so soon after Secret Wars. You just restarted the 616 universe, condensed the Ultimate universe in to the 616 along with some other straggling parallel worlds and are just starting to get things settled from that. Guess it’s time to rip the curtains down and rework the status quo again!
It’s exhausting being in a constant state of flux, when books are just getting their feet under them to have them torn out again. Your audience is slowly conditioned to not care about anything because it will probably mean nothing after the next event. This started way back with Avengers Disassembled, which lead into Civil War, into Secret Invasion, into Siege. Every book was touched by those events, and countless books started and ended with little to no fanfare, and it just seemed like the entire line was immersed in these events. Once those things passed we had some quiet time, but then came Time Runs Out, Marvel Now, Secret Wars, Civil War 2, and now Divided we stand. Don’t get me wrong, I like events and big stories, but it has felt like that is all we are getting with Marvel recently. I’m going to watch this develop, see how it pans out, maybe after this they will let things settle down for a while and let the books stand on their own, except Avengers Infinity War is on the way, so after Divided We Stand will probably come United We Fall.
To Be Continued…..
As a follow up to our first post about the ending of Captain America: Steve Rogers #1, I thought I would go over the reveal of issue two. By the way, SPOILER WHALE AHEAD!! You have been warned.
Turns out that it WAS mind control. Mind control from a sentient Cosmic Cube that took human form and was under control of the….wait for it….Red Skull (dun dun dunn..*headesk*).
“How can this be?” you ask with disappointment that the righteous anger that so many were dispensing on last month’s reveal and the press tour where the writer and editor were both adamant that this was not a stunt and that it was the new status quo turns out to be nothing more than the puppet masters pulling the strings of the fan base to goad a reaction from the main stream media. If they had just said that it was a story then people would have still grumbled but the outrage that got that book all over the news wouldn’t have been there. They needed to get everyone upset, so they, well, lied.
I’ll point back to my last post about this. In that article I said that it wouldn’t serve the hype machine for the creators to just come out and say “Nope this is just a story and it’s only temporary.” That doesn’t sell books, doesn’t stir a reaction from the fan base and doesn’t get a ton of free publicity for issue two, a book that normally sees a big drop off after the first issue. Marvel did what it does best, make its fans sell its books for them, and the rage at the idea of Cap being retconned in the most core level made sure that non-readers knew something big was going on. What we have now is the typical comic trope of mind control, sure it is dressed up nicely and honestly I want to see where this story is going now but this is your normal comic plot at this point. I’m not upset, I’m too old of a fan to be upset by stunt writing and hype not matching the final product, I’m not even surprised at this point, it is just how comics work. Especially with an Icon like Captain America, not just a comic icon but now a money printing machine over in films too. In fact I would have been surprised if they HAD kept the retcon, it would have meant that something different was happening but again the normal stasis of comics rears its head.
Just remember, before you go off and rage against some new storyline, plot line or stunt, to let it work out before you get angry. Don’t be the creators hype team, unless you like where it’s going.
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When the announcement was made a few months ago about DC Rebirth everyone, me included, focused on the characters and the return of some of the old magic of Pre Nu52 DC. What we all kind of nodded and agreed was neat but not that important at the time was the price drop to 2.99, at a time when new issues were going for between four and five dollars each, this price drop was not just a good business decision but also a way of building a subtle connection to nostalgia for the previous world. It’s funny how a simple price drop can change the perspective of the fans who buy the books and so far it seems to have been a shot in the arm for DC’s sales.
The idea is a simple one, drop the prices and people will pick up more books and when you are trying to tell a large over aching story over multiple titles picking up more books turns into a more complete story being told. The 2.99 price point also offers older fans who stopped picking up the Nu52, me included, a low bar of access. I know that I was able to pick up more books than I would have if they were more expensive, to date I’ve picked up 6 of the Rebirth books and have yet to have any real issues with them (Except Superman, but we will get to that in another post). Would I have done that if it would have cost me an extra six bucks? Probably not, due to my own budget being twenty dollars. I probably would have skipped the Superman books the fact that I stayed in my budget and got some decent to good stories out of the deal works out. Looking over at Marvel and their slowly creeping prices and the Marvel Unlimited service looks like an even better deal, I don’t feel as much need to get the books immediately because they will come to the app soon-ish and probably after the giant crossovers are over. If they were to follow DC and bring their books back to 2.99 would I pick more of them up? It’s highly likely, because I can justify pulling together and spending three bucks easier than five.
My final thoughts, I hope that as DC’s sales continue to rise thanks to both the good story telling and the lower price, that we will see the rest of the industry start to look at their success and give it a try. They might find that good quality, low priced books will increase what has been a shrinking market.