Sunday, April 05, 2009

More One More Day

This Marvel house ad has been appearing in a few magazines this month. I can only speculate that this means the story arc that will ultimately conclude with the return of Steve Rogers as Captain America is going to begin.

I'm curious as to why the star is inverted, the familiar symbol of Captain America corrupted and referencing a pentagram. Does this mean that Marvel is going to continue using Mephisto as their own "Black Lantern"? When a reboot is required, when someone needs to be brought back from the dead is a contract with the devil going to be used as the plot device to accomplish it?

This appears to be the case.

From what I've read and seen in online chats with comic professionals, Marvel and DC are working somewhat parallel in regards to their respective universes. Deceased or forgotten characters can be returned as a Black Lantern without messy retcons or cheesing off the fans too much. Admittedly, this is only as effective as the execution of the story. Depending upon the popularity or story requirements of the reanimated character they can be freed of the Lantern influence and live again either as a member of the Corps or a citizen of the DC Universe in some other capacity be it supporting character, villain, hero or otherwise. The same, after a slug-fest of some sort presumably, could be done with returning a Marvel character to the most marketable or fan favorite status quo.

For Marvel's purposes, Mephisto is serving as the big reboot device. Someone agrees to a bargain and Monkey's Paw style, they get their wish. As one source in the industry notes, this is good for years of cross-overs. Want dead heroes or villains back? Easy, just call up the Devil and get it done. One More Day aside, Marvel can't really get away with this easy out more than once unless there is an over-all plan already in place. Of course, for the characters nothing will go to smoothly and there will rarely be any happy endings. The Devil doesn't play fair. Over time all the heroes and villains and regular people who made their desperate bargains will come to realize that they were manipulated and the bill remitted by Mephisto will come due. Let's face it: There is an entire story arc to be had from someone wishing the Hector Ayala White Tiger to be alive again even as someone else makes a bargain for him to be dead.

Eventually, all this bargaining and "soft-reboots", as a source let slip, will lead to the cosmic-level Mephisto War mega event a few years from now. This could be Marvel's opportunity to merge the 616 and Ultimate Universes, do some house-cleaning and refresh the stable of characters without starting from scratch. It is I'm told, "planned to be a cross between Inferno and Heroes Reborn but without the horrible creative missteps and suckage." I'd take this thing with a grain of salt, though. It reads like typical hyped solicitation.

Yet erasing decades of stories is risky. Companies rightly worry about turning off what fans they have remaining. DC balked when resetting their universe at Day One after the 1986 Crisis event and the Heroes Reborn debacle showed how resistant fans were to sweeping wholesale changes even during the 90s, surprising considering the main readership didn't care how good a story was as long as there were plenty of giant guns, bandoleers and pouches. Marvel also became hesitant in the execution of the Ultimate line. Reading Ultimate X-Men in its entirety reveals an evolutionary dead-end and not for fictional humanity. What started out as a unique vision quickly became indistinguishable from the regular line of X-Books.

Hopefully, the Mepshisto War won't have the rushed, half-assed climax that seems to be typical of the last several years of mega events that plague the comic book companies. But it is at least two years and several mini-series yet distant, so maybe the editors will grow some berries and reign in the egos of their superstars and the creative teams will manage to pitch and accomplish a cohesive, fun and exciting story by then.

5 comments:

  1. They're really thinking of this? No joke??

    Bleah.

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  2. " that will ultimately conclude with the of Steve Rogers"

    I like you blog. it often makes me laugh.

    i saw this typo and thought you would like to know.

    i'm not perfect or anything

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  3. Honestly, I expected it. And I welcome it, but it's too soon. I wish they'd bring him back in the ramp up for the movie (2010? 2011? I forget).


    There was really no likelihood of keeping him dead. There's no way a marquee hero like Cap would be offed for long, esp. when there's moola to be made.

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  4. Like unto a Black Metal Rock Star...or a Black Lantern; Cap will be back and Pissed!

    If you really wanted to get deep into the inverted symbolism...besides the obvious; The star is the symbol emblazoned on Cap's chest. In DC's 52 the Superboy's "S" inverted was the Kryptonian symbol of resurrection. (and I always thought the "S" was the symbol for the house of "El" ...or just "Super").

    You could say that to there being another man in the costume(Bucky)even the design of the "Bucky-Cap" costume experiments with a darker Cap, gun and all. Maybe they have been getting us ready slowly...almost subliminally.

    You could even say that DC/Warner Bros tried this with Superman himself in its "Legion of Superheroes" cartoon: Does anyone remember "Superman X"? 41st century clone of good ol' Kal-El complete with a relentless fuck-U attitude and an immunity to Kryptonite?

    Mephisto does seem all the rage lately. Its a sign of the times. The closer we get to 2012 the more society as a whole gets obsessed with death and rebirth. No one stays dead in comics forever.

    Or the inverted star means that Steve Rogers is gonna come back with long blond hair, throwing up the horns and banging his head to "Holy Diver".

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  5. That star isn't upside down. It's just leaning to the left.

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