The GeeksverseAdventures In Editing #1 – Marvel Does It Right?

Adventures In Editing #1 – Marvel Does It Right?
Published on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 by

My last couple columns, okay most of my columns recently, have hammered DC and the New 52 pretty bad (but hey, at least I left that horrible new logo alone). So I figured it was Marvel’s turn.

I’m a story guy first and foremost. I love continuity and I love stories that make sense. Yes, comic books are a fantasy world, but there needs to be some logic to them. Having the same character appear in two different books in the same month and act completely different is not logical.

And I tend to blame the editor for that. The writer isn’t necessarily paying attention to every single book in that shared universe. That’s the job of the editor. The editor is supposed to read the writer’s script and say “No, the Mad Thinker can’t act like that in Amazing Spider-Man because he’s over in Fantastic Four acting like this”. Shouldn’t that be the main job of the editor? Making sure the stories make sense in the shared universe?

So that’s where the idea for “Adventures In Editing” came from. It’ll be a semi-regular column highlighting some really bad examples of editors not paying attention, not doing their jobs, and illogical stories coming out as a result.

Because I had hit DC hard lately, I decided Marvel should be the first target (and there are some instances to talk about) but the more I looked around at the MU, I realized that there was a corner that was actually doing it right.

Nick Lowe, the X-Men group editor, and his team are actually keeping a pretty tight leash over in the mutant’s corner of the world. There have been a couple of instances that have really driven home that this is a shared universe.

Over in Uncanny X-Force, Apocalypse created an area of land that was hyper-evolved. A good chunk of Michigan became this land. After that particular storyline, the land wasn’t mentioned. We had no idea what the status was. It looked like it was on the verge of being forgotten, just another casualty.

But no, Tabula Rasa is now showing up in Uncanny X-Men. What was created by Rick Remender in X-Force is now being utilized by Kieron Gillen in X-Men.

That’s the way it should work. That’s how a shared universe should function.

In Astonishing X-Men, when the book was alternating fill-in stories every other month (week?), Christos Gage created a mutant Brood child. That these stories would be forgotten wouldn’t surprise anyone. The Gage/Bobillo and Way/Bradshaw (why didn’t Jason Pearson finish this up?) stories were filler. They were short-timers. The stories weren’t going to be important. Just quick little adventures that would soon be forgotten.

Or at least thats what we all assumed (and come on, admit it, you assumed it too, there was no reason not to think that the stories were just filler), but along comes Jason Aaron and Wolverine And The X-Men (that’s the best title they could come up with for that book? really?).

Broo is now a main cast member in the book. He’s one of the focal point students. And judging by the flashforward we saw in a recent issue, he’s going to remain pretty important. Not bad for a character from a throw-away story.

Back to Uncanny X-Force for a minute. The same storyline that introduced Tabula Rasa brought back the son of Apocalypse. Genesis, as he’s now known, was the clone created in this version of X-Force’s very first story. Fantomex supposedly killed him, but instead kept the child alive in The World (don’t ask me to explain it, I hate the very concept of The World). Long story short, Fantomex had to let the kid out to fight Death (Archangel).

Out of that storyline, three plot points are now appearing in Wolverine And The X-Men (still hating the title even though I love the book). Genesis has joined the students and Aaron has picked up the plot threads laid out by Remender. Deathlok, who had been hanging around with X-Force, is now hanging around the Jean Grey school. At the end of the storyline, Archangel became a memory-less Warren Worthington with metallic wings. Warren is now part of the school.

That is how it’s done. Instances like this help reinforce that the books all take place in the same world at the same time. It helps strengthen the stories, make them better.

When two books work against eachother, the entire thing is weakened.

There has to be a suspension of disbelief, and a belief in a shifting timeline, for comics to work. It’s obviously different days/different weeks between Amazing Spider-Man, New Avengers and Fantastic Four/FF; otherwise how can Spider-Man be all over the place like that? This particular problem has more to do with the secondary characters and not the main characters.

And the next installment of “Adventures In Editing” will highlight the most recent (and one of the biggest) offenders.

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