Monday, January 03, 2011

First Rant of the Year (That didn't take long)

So this stuff was up on Tumblr...

Yeah, Marvel... We need to have a talk. This thing with Wanda, I know I've complained before but you are seriously out of your heads with this. Right now you are selling a maxiseries to her fans based on the idea of her CHILDREN finding her and getting her back to regular operation but everywhere but INSIDE THAT MAXISERIES you continue to push the idea that she hallucinated her children and lost her sanity. With zero textual clues to suggest that the characters are wrong in this assumption.

Don't get me wrong. I understand that you have to establish certain things in the regular universe in order to set up the premise, which is that everyone but Wanda, Magneto, and Billy think that the kids were just a manifestation of her mental illnessand out of control powers. I understand that this sets up drama.

The problem is that you're dragging this shit out so long, and fixing it completely underground. Disassembled interrupted half of your line and REBOOTED entire franchises. House of M took over the ENTIRE Marvel line and rebooted the OTHER half of your line! And since then, for at least SIX years every MENTION of Wanda has come with a nod to her being tragically insane and everything short of ominous music. You have spent SIX years and your two highest profile crossovers pounding ALL of your readers over the head with the idea that Wanda is BABY CRAZY.

Then, you offer us an option to fix her in Avengers: Children's Crusade.... A special that is entirely self-contained and not reflected in any of the other books published right now. A narrative thread that we have to go out of our way to find (again, there are NO textual clues outside of Children's Crusade and it's single sad prelude that the Avengers are wrong to assume Wanda's irredeemably insane), is being shipped ever OTHER month, and will last 9 issues that will total up to an 18 month storyline. The book itself is oddly out of time, and does not reflect any of the other developments in recent years despite using characters like Steve Rogers--who appears in half the books you publish--without reflecting their current in-story status, and PROMINENTLY featuring characters like Quicksilver and Magneto who are right now appearing in other books with no nod to the emotional build-up to this story (Magneto's heavy concerns involving his children, Pietro's conclusions that these are his nephews) or the fallout from its conclusion.

This, I believe, would be okay if you had made it as high profile an event as the TWO events in which you destroyed Wanda's image as hero, or did not insist on decompressing the living fuck out of this maxiseries along with dragging it out over 18 months WHILE you continued to use those 18 months to push the narrative of Baby Crazy Wanda.

Y'know, your distinguished competition had this problem with a Silver Age character once. They made Hal Jordan crazy evil and stuck to it for ten years and do you know what happened when they changed their minds? They built up to it. We saw Hal EVERYWHERE and we had foreshadowing all over the fucking place that he was coming back and that it wasn't his fault. After the build up they made him good again in a high profile miniseries... that had a compact six-issue storyline, shipped monthly, and led to the reboot of a franchise. And after that mini? We saw Hal everywhere again rebuilding all those bridges his time under mind control had burnt.

See, after you've dedicated so much time and energy to forcing a heroic character into the role of villain, and have enthusiastically sold the character that way to the readers for an extended period of time... You get a lot of readers and future writers who think that character is a villain. If you want to FIX that, you need to make their redemption a Big Fucking Deal, and make it easily seen by all those readers who gave been eating the shit you've been selling for the last six or ten years rather than just the die-hard holdouts who have been waiting for this since you made her nuts. Otherwise, you'll have a lot of confusion and you risk the right dumbass writer connecting with the right dumbass editor a year or two down the road and having this exchange:
"Hey, wasn't she a bad guy?"
"She's been good since that.. Damn, I forget the name if the mini but it was mind control I think."
"I only know how to write her bad. Let's soft retcon it and use her as a villain."

"Hey, as a kid I read this cool story where she went nuts. Anyone ever resolve it?"
"... I don't remember, I think she jyst came back to the team."
"Okay I got this idea... We'll call it AVENGERS: DISASSEMBLED..."

And even if that seems too farfetched or just like something that happens anyway, you still have characterization creep. Your writers, editors and artists have been not only pushing this shit but they've been consuming it themselves. Future writers, editors and artists are consuming it. Even if they are ASSIGNED Wanda as a hero, they still have the impression of a weak-willed passive woman who cannot tell reality from fantasy. These traits will overtake her as they write, because you have been pushing them endlessly and this is the image they have of her now. This is just like Hal Jordan's inability to feel fear, Quicksilver's mental instability, and Crystal's wandering eye... All flaws never in their original concepts that now serve to completely define those characters to the point of pushing away their relatability unless the writer works their ass off at researching and restoring the original personality. With every reference to Wanda's insanity you are CONTINUING to destroy your second female mutant character and your second female Avenger--one of your few female characters with a solid profeminist Silver Age foundation. This is not only irritating, it is MIND-BOGGLING to me that you'd do this.

There's really only one way you can save her. When Wanda gets back, she needs to be directly involved in rebuilding everything she destroyed (Bringing Hawkeye back was a good idea, but you are really going to need to overturn M-Day through HER actions) and she's going to need to make those Hal Jordan style pop-ins where she teams up with everyone in the Marvel Universe and defends herself against their grievances. If you leave M-Day in effect, if you just have people drop the grumbling without actually interacting with Wanda, all this shit is going to remain and Scarlet Twilight II is just around the horizon.

Also, that quote of hers bugs me on two levels. Continuity-wise that's a Lee quote, long before they ever found Bova and got the story of their birth. That story's set up so that Wanda has to be the older one, that's why Cthon would infuse her with power. (Unless you're planning something odd with Pietro and Oshtur.) Personality-wise, unless she's drugged out of her gourd like in House of M she knows better than to defer to anything Pietro says. That is hardly a quote indicative of her personality, and I'm a bit annoyed at your Polaris one too. It's awfully generic.

That said, the Quicksilver profile is very compassionate look at his actions and leaves open the option that Steve doubts Pietro's Skrull story. A previous one suggested Steve couldn't tell there was lying involved, this one may well have been after Pietro came clean and the "skrull interference" would be the Skrull that was in Attilan during Son of M. That one made me wince, because a) Captain America should be able to tell when someone as neurotic as Quicksilver is lying to him, b) Steve should know Pietro well enough to tell, and c) I was a little worried someone would have Steve on the less likely to forgive side of this one. It gives me some hope we'll see a little interaction between those two characters again, at least.


  1. Oh good grief. What in the world are they doing with poor Wanda? I always rather liked her, even though in the early days, she was something of a limp dishrag. The whole "House of M" thing was more or less the beginning of the end for me and Marvel however...Civil War was just the final straw. So I would be delighted if she was rehabilitated. But in a mini-series that isn't being promoted?


  2. Wow. They even have him using the word "hysteria". Just . . . wow.

  3. SallyP -- I'll give them, they did... send out a couple teasers? But yeah, the mini itself isn't really touching anything else. A far different animal from House of M taking the whole publishing line off the rails.

    Though I totally disagree with you on Wanda ever being a limp dishrag. Reread those Essentials, she rocks.

    K.D -- Yeah. Honestly, if anyone in that family can ever rightfully be characterized as hysterical... it's the boy.

  4. I don't know, when she first came out,she was such a Stan Lee girl. She stood there and fainted a lot. She did improve however, I must admit.

  5. While I'm enjoying "Children's Crusade" and its far more interesting portrayal of Wanda, you're totally right to point out the way it's being published makes it close to irrelevant to mainstream continuity, which is a real pity. Why not hold it off a little longer and publish the whole thing monthly as a Big Event?

  6. Lilacsigil -- I know. They don't even have to do much. Just save it all up long enough, and schedule a couple references to it in a smattering of other books. Uncanny X-men just had a backup leading in, surely there would be a build-up to him approaching the grandkids over a number of issues, and some play with the guilt he feels over Wanda.

    A few issues where Pietro's absent in Avengers Academy.

    An idea of whether this occurred before or after Captain America "died"?

    Maybe a couple oneshots featuring various characters who would be affected but aren't in Heinberg's stories? I mean, the magic community must be going crazy during this!

    They don't have to TAKE OVER everything, but they can do a big event with some other writers doing tie-ins and some reference in other books. Put that Wanda might not be a bad guy in front of people's eyes, give us some idea that this is having some effect on anything. I mean, after all the shit she caused, surely her return is Big Fucking News That Will Change the Status Quo? At least as Big as her leaving, or the Sentry's death?