Reading Wheelr's tumblr commentary on the new Marvel comics relaunch got me thinking.
Now, for all Wheelr's comments are thoughtful and intelligent, I do not agree with him on most of the key issues. I think long-term ongoing continuity is one of the greatest joys of comics, and something we don't get - cannot get - elsewhere. I do not think new starts should in comics should be labelled #1, and I think he likes James Hickman's writing more than I do.
I don't think the Avengers 'brand' is diluted by having a lot of characters; I think it's terrific that the interesting characters, including some of the interesting but underused characters, will have a new venue. I am, for example, totally thrilled that Shang Chi will be returning. He's been one of my favourite characters at Marvel since he had his own comic in Master of Kung Fu, one of my favourite series of all time. After a long hiatus he has been turning up recently - in Shadowlands and Secret Avengers - and I couldn't be happier about it.
Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja looks amazing. Never mind that I'd read anything written by Fraction: I have a newfound love for this hero I'd always thought was lame, and I'm eager to see what they're going to do.
Uncanny Avengers intrigues me, but it looks like something they've been doing for a while now, with Wolverine already in the Avengers, and lots of interaction between the teams. Nothing wrong with that.
All-New X-Men is going to be by Brian Michael Bendis and he's another writer I'd read (almost) anything by; especially when Stuart Immonen is his artist. The premise doesn't do much for me, but I have faith in Bendis to pull off unlikely successes. This is the man who got me to enjoy Moon Knight. In my book, he can do anything.
It looks as if Keiron Gillen and Greg Land will be doing the new Iron Man, and much as I'd like to see Matt Fraction write about Tony Stark forever, I'm not unhappy with this. Gillen and Land make a good team. I look forward to seeing what they do.
Here's my wishlist:
- More gay, lesbian, and bi characters. Bi women especially, not just because that's what I like to see, but because that's what we haven't been seeing. Okay, you have to strain to see the gay women, too - so why is that? I love Marvel for featuring the wedding of Northstar and his boyfriend Kyle; we need more.
- People ask for diversity in ethnicity in comics and I do too, but what I really like to see is diversity in nationality. It isn't just that too many characters in comics are white and male, but that too many people of all types are American. Okay, these are comics published in the US for a mostly-American market, which is fine, but I love it when a team like the X-Men or Avengers has characters from Ireland (Banshee), Brazil (Sunspot), Canada (Wolverine), Scotland (Wolfsbane), and so on. No problem with Wakanda or Madripoor, either.
- The return of old favourite characters. My old favourite characters. I'm already promised Gambit, Hawkeye, and Shang Chi - this makes me very happy indeed. I'd also like to see the return and heroic redemption of Forge, more focus on Rachel Summers, a return of Nightcrawler, a reworking of Cannonball to make him the brilliant, brave, heroic leader he used to be; Domino, Fiz (I have a weakness for Skrulls), Pete Wisdom - who should be Marvel's answer to John Constantine, only cooler and smarter - and Frenzy.
- I love the way some old villains have been given more personality and stories and lives of their own - the upgrading of Norman Osborn is a nice example, but it's happened to a lot of them - Taskmaster, for instance. I'd like to see more of that, and some of my old favourites: Hellfire Club, including especially Kinobi Shaw; Fenris; Shen Kuei; Exodus.
- I want Magneto to remain on the heroic side of the hero/villain divide, and Namor, too; without losing their arrogance or dignity.
- I want Daken back, as a dark and troubled hero - with a hearty sense of humour and interesting sex life.
- I want to see female heroes in prominent and powerful positions. I want to see them interacting with each other, not just the men.
You know, I really just want lots of good comics...