Sunday, February 17, 2013

No More Marvel (comics)...

Since young, I have always been more inclined to Japanese mangas than to American comics. The reason is simple: Japanese mangas and animes have been flooding my childhood. In contrast, my exposure to American comics was only to X-men cartoon, Johnny Quest, and the comic strips in newspapers. These comics strips were often taken from the time before I was even born and clearly I was not impressed with the style: be it the graphics as well as the wordiness.

Things changed after Marvel: Avengers movie in 2012. I thought Marvel did a great job utilising the momentum to generate a lot of interest for that movie. I started playing Marvel game on facebook and then the card game on Android. These things caused me to develop interest. However, as I checked things out on wikipedia, I was again unimpressed with the multiple universe, multiple retcons, multiple spin-offs, multiple deaths and ressurections, etc. To me it simply portrays poor story telling. Then came the hype about Avengers vs X-men (AvX) series. I have always liked X-men and the movie and games introduced me to Avengers. I thought this would be quite badass and ordered the hardcover bundled edition from Amazon in December.

Firstly, I was mesmerised with the weight and thickness of the book. Wew.. Japanese mangas are never that thick. Haha.. Oh well.. However, after I started to flip through, everything was just a good surprise. The art is top notch, gone are the days of those newspaper comics strips. I though nothing would be good except for badass brawls between superheroes. Ironically, I thought the fights were not up to my imagination. Lol.. However, the story simply blew me away! I am quite amazed that in just few hundreds of pages, the story can go that far. In comparison, a manga tankoubon is also typically few hundreds pages and sometimes even after few tankoubons, the story often goes nowhere. In short, AvX is just awesome!
AvX deals with Phoenix, minus Jean Grey (thank goodness! I am getting sick of her being dead and resurrected for countless times). Phoenix is believed to be coming to earth and the human host is suspected to be Hope Summers, the mutant messiah. The X-men believed that Phoenix's coming will help mutant powers to re-emerge again in the aftermath of Scarlet Witch's "No More Mutants" in House of M plot. As Phoenix is believed as a power of destruction, the Avengers would like to secure Hope to prevent Phoenix from destroying the Earth. The X-men believed that the Avengers would like to kill Hope and thus eliminating the possible "resurrection" of the mutant race. The mutual misunderstanding leads to an all-out-war between the two sides.

As I enjoyed AvX thoroughtly, I wiki-ed again to see whether Marvel has other great stories out there. As a kid, I actually love X-men. But story-wise, I am drawn towards crossover series more than X-men titles or the individual superheroes stories. The reason is simple: in crossover, there are a lot of popular characters fighting together or fighting one another. That is better than in their individual titles when they are fighting some obscure villains. Haha..

From many fans' opinions, it seems that AvX is nothing compared to Civil War crossover. After deciding the pros and cons, I decided to buy it yesterday instead of waiting Kinokuniya sale since I was already in Orchard for my dental. Taking into account the money spent for transport and meals if I were to make a second trip during the sale, then the savings from the sale will mean nothing. Excuses.. Oh well. Lol..

To me AvX is already awesome and so my expectation is sky high for Civil War which is deemed by many as the best crossover so far. It turns out to be very disappointing. Good thing first. Despite it being older, I have to admit that the art style for Civil War is much much better and prettier than AvX. No argument about that. The characters look gorgeous! The details make AvX seems to be hurriedly drawn.
But a big capital "BOO!!" for the plot and the fights. On the surface, this is quite similar to AvX in the sense that the superheroes are divided into 2 factions. In Civil War, the public is finally fed up with superheroes-related events and casualties and hence they push for the Superhuman Registration Act. With this Act, the superheroes essentially have to be registered and be accountable to the government. Some support the Act while the others oppose. It is a bit "political" as comparison can be drawn to pro-government (and thus support the Act) vs anti-government.

While the "arguments" from each side have their merits, it is not clear why certain people choose certain side and it is not clear what they are actually fighting for/against. The fights end up as brainless brawls and the ending is a big bullshit. I was like what.. the.. fuck...

I also bought the bundled X-men: Dark Phoenix Saga. Again, it is dubbed by many as the most famous and most referenced arc in Marvel universe but it turns out to be another big disappointment to me. Okay I should know that this was published in 1980s and the art style is the reason why I hate American comics in the first place: bad art and too wordy.
Everyone knows the main plot: Jean Grey is corrupted by Phoenix, becomes Dark Phoenix, and wreak havoc. The story and the details, however, suck and are all over the place. If Civil War caused me to have WTF moment at the end, I have WTF moments throughtout this! I know, it is unfair to judge something from 1980s by today's standard but I can't help but feel this sucks.

Bleah.. I really regret buying these 2 books :'( Now I am thinking of selling them again (for a loss I am sure! Sigh..) Perhaps I should have just followed my initial intention not to buy. But oh well.. I guess American comics are not my things.. Just like Scarlet Witch's "No More Mutants" which changes Marvel universe, I think it is time for me to say: No More Marvel (comics)..

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