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  1. #1

    Default How To Streamline The Marvel U WITHOUT Rebooting

    I don't know if there's a thread already discussing this. I apologize if there is, but I think this is a conversation worth having. Once again, it was recently teased that Marvel might be on the brink of rebooting and/or relaunching. We've seen this before. For the past several years, Marvel has relaunched pretty much every major title, including mainstays like Iron Man and Uncanny X-men. We've had two waves of Marvel NOW! We've three relaunches with the Ultimate comics. Yet each time, it seems less and less effective. I think at some point, something has to be done to streamline the continuity. So I'm opening up this thread to discuss how that could be done.

    I think Marvel already laid the foundation with Age of Ultron. That story effectively established the damage and consequences of all the time traveling that has been done. But that didn't really have much of an impact in the long run. All it did is send Galactus to Ultimate and bring Angela to 616. That's about it. It didn't have any far-reaching consequences. I think if Marvel wants their comics to detach themselves from the 60s when it all began, it needs to do something more radical.

    Personally, I think this can be accomplished without doing the reboot route that DC took. I think what really needs to happen is sort of a "partial reboot" of sorts, one that effectively tweaks the timeline and the overall universe to make it more streamlined. I think this could be accomplished by a merger of sorts. It was hinted at a while ago during the big Cataclysm arc in Ultimate that these two worlds would merge. Early in the history of Ultimate, it was even seriously considered making Ultimate the main Marvel universe. I think it shows that Marvel is serious about making their books more accessible. The movies have widened the audience, but I think too many people are confused or intimidated by the breadth of the Marvel universe in the comics.

    So here's how I think it could be done:

    -Take Ultimate and have it "collide" with 616, effectively merging and reorienting the timeline
    -Establish that the history of the characters is mostly the same, but with a number of key differences to make it a more modern setting
    -Eliminate all current future timelines, including Days of Futures Past, Age of Ultron, Age of Apocalypse, etc.
    -Remove all time-displaced and AU characters, and/or make them full 616 characters
    -Establish a definitive starting point for Avengers, X-men, F4, etc.
    -Make a handful of series that will remain ongoings while the rest are either minis or non-ongoings
    -Remove clones, major retcons, and resurrected deaths wherever possible

    All this might be pretty extensive, but I think it could be done in a way that retains enough of the major Marvel events (the Phoenix Saga, Secret War, House of M, Siege, etc.) without starting from scratch. Because that's something I think Marvel really wants to avoid. DC has rebooted multiple times and I don't think Marvel wants to establish that precedent. This could be their way of going about it without losing that history that they're so proud of. But this is just my idea. I'm opening it up forothers to share theirs.
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  2. #2
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    I fully expect a soft reboot after Axis and the culmination of Hickman and Remender's stories both of which seem to be setting up some sort of temporal reset. Some of the current Marvel books are getting positively ancient in numbering by current standards as they are in their 30's.

    I expect that every book will relaunch with a new #1 at the same time, ala DC new 52, only it will be a soft reboot in that everything that happened before probably still happened but there has been a major status quo shift in the 616 which makes it a good jumping on point for all the books. Basically think the current Amazing Spiderman relaunch and how its a soft reboot without actually having undone anything. Maybe they use it to fix some problems but I'd hope they learned their lesson after the OMD debacle and just choose to never mention certain things again (Gwen Stacy's children for instance) instead of erasing it.

  3. #3
    Astonishing Member sifighter's Avatar
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    How about releasing series or one-shots that explains history of characters, teams, stories, events, and etc. within the Marvel Universe so that we don't have to stream line or reboot. Kind of like the Season one graphic novels or series like Spiderman learning to crawl, maybe even something like All-new X-men. We don't have to start everything over for new readers, we just need to explain more to them so that they are able to understand it more.

  4. #4
    Invincible Member XPac's Avatar
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    I don't think they need to do anything.

    For every one reader that believes continuity is too convoluted, there's 4 that complains when continutiy is ignored. For the most part, it's not really that huge an issue.

    THe only major concern is creating new jumping on points for new readers. And they can accomplish that by doing new issue 1's every so often when major runs and and new ones begin.

    Sort of like how the Bendis era ended and the Hickman era began. Eventually the Hickman era will end and a new one will begin, and that can create a brand new jumping in point without anything needing to be rebooted.

    People overthink the whole issue or reboots. It's simply not necessary, soft or otherwise.

  5. #5

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    Yeah, let's not do that. Ever. Or anything even remotely like it.

    There's no need to do it. Continuity's only a problem to people who want it to be a problem. For everyone else, anything they don't like, they ignore. If something makes no sense, they shrug and move on. And it's not like things are actually all that difficult to understand anyway.

    I'll use, as an example, one of the more notoriously convoluted things out there: The Summers family tree. You've got Scott and Alex, of course. And Vulcan, but nobody cares about him. Scott married a clone of Jean Grey, and they had a son, Nathan. Nathan was raised in the future, and grew up to be Cable. In an alternate reality, Scott and Jean had a daughter, Rachel. And . . . that's pretty much it. There's an alternate-reality version of Cable out there. There's a clone of Cable. But, honestly, the whole family tree can be summed up in about 5 sentences. That's really not that complicated, no matter how fun it is to joke about how convoluted it is.

    There is pretty much nothing that can't be explained, simply and effectively, in just a few sentences.

    If people are turned away because they feel intimidated by thick continuity, then truthfully, I think that's on us. That's on comic book fans. Because there's a lot of comic book fans who talk up the complexities of continuity. If people are turned away, that means we're not making enough of an effort to make it clear to them that it's really not that tough to follow along with what's happening.

    A reboot isn't necessary, and I would argue it's not a good idea. In the name of simplifying things, you actually end up making them more complicated, because then you have to figure out what's still canon and what's not.

  6. #6
    BANNED dragonmp93's Avatar
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    Well, "Remove all time-displaced and AU characters, and/or make them full 616 characters","Remove clones, major retcons, and resurrected deaths wherever posible", it would erase all the summers-grey family tree, x-23 and the stepford cuckoos and pretty much that has ever happened since before the Dark Phoenix saga, because to be sincere, making the summers children 616 characters is more trouble than what its worth.

  7. #7
    Ultimate Member MindofShadow's Avatar
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    The past continuity isn't a big deal anymore thanks to the internet.

    You know what happens if I do not know a character?

    I go to marvel wiki and read about him. And any idiot can do that.

    I don't understand a story reference and I think I NEED too? I google it.

    You know what WAS confusing though? the Nu52... id go to the DC wiki and it would say stuff like "pre crisis" or "silver age" and this and that and I didn't know what was still canon and what was not.
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  8. #8
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Yeah, reboots are not the way to go. DC tried to fix their continuity with the first Crisis. Know what happened? Ten years later they had Zero Hour to explain the problems and glitches the Crisis caused. Ten years after that? Infinite Crisis and 52, which largely tried to do the same thing. A few years later? The New52, and fans are still trying to figure out exactly what happened, how, and when. And none of this is even getting into the minor reboots you get within a single title or franchise.

    I wont say Marvel's "ignore what we dont like" approach is better, but it works for them. All you have to do is not think about how old Ben Grimm would be if he were still a World War II pilot.

    The problem isnt the continuity. As MindofShadow said, and this actually mirrors what Hickman has said; in the internet age there's no need for jumping on points. Google and wiki are a point/click away from answering all your questions. Anyone who says a comic is too confusing should try Hamlet, or try paying attention.

    What Marvel, and the entire comics industry, needs to do is find a better way to tell their stories and get their stories out there where the general public will not only see it, but be interested in it. Maybe drop the idea of endless numbering and re-numbering and just start running in year long seasons. Instead of talking about Avengers volume five, issue 102, you can talk about Avengers Season One, chapter ten. That might make it a lot easier for people to handle; its setup in a way similar to television (and therefore familiar) and you'd get a clear beginning and ending each year. It'd also make creative runs a lot more consistent, assuming you hire them for a full season. Sell these seasons in collected editions at bookstores, offer digital-first rewards for those who pre-order and market the hell out of it in places where books, action movies, and video games get a lot of attention (in other words, places where the target demographic hang out). DC's Earth-1 series have sold well using this basic format, why not apply it to the entire industry?

    No idea if that particular idea would work, but the point remains continuity is not the issue.

    But streamlining things without an actual reboot? Pretty easy, just take the core characters you want to use and ignore everyone else. Decide what sort of settings and status quo you want to run with and write yourself into that place (getting the mutant schools back together and the original X-Men back in their own time, for example) Start everything off at a new #1, and treat it the same way that Invincible Iron Man or DeConnick's first Captain Marvel volume did things; establish your basic premise and ignore the rest. It's basically just the NOW initiative taken a step further with a bit less emphasis on past events.
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  9. #9
    Astonishing Member Lady Warp Spasm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiamatty View Post
    Yeah, let's not do that. Ever. Or anything even remotely like it.

    There's no need to do it. Continuity's only a problem to people who want it to be a problem. For everyone else, anything they don't like, they ignore. If something makes no sense, they shrug and move on. And it's not like things are actually all that difficult to understand anyway.

    I'll use, as an example, one of the more notoriously convoluted things out there: The Summers family tree. You've got Scott and Alex, of course. And Vulcan, but nobody cares about him. Scott married a clone of Jean Grey, and they had a son, Nathan. Nathan was raised in the future, and grew up to be Cable. In an alternate reality, Scott and Jean had a daughter, Rachel. And . . . that's pretty much it. There's an alternate-reality version of Cable out there. There's a clone of Cable. But, honestly, the whole family tree can be summed up in about 5 sentences. That's really not that complicated, no matter how fun it is to joke about how convoluted it is.

    There is pretty much nothing that can't be explained, simply and effectively, in just a few sentences.

    If people are turned away because they feel intimidated by thick continuity, then truthfully, I think that's on us. That's on comic book fans. Because there's a lot of comic book fans who talk up the complexities of continuity. If people are turned away, that means we're not making enough of an effort to make it clear to them that it's really not that tough to follow along with what's happening.

    A reboot isn't necessary, and I would argue it's not a good idea. In the name of simplifying things, you actually end up making them more complicated, because then you have to figure out what's still canon and what's not.
    I agree with your post. Anything can be explained rather quickly. I'm thinking of the synopis pages which open most comics. They give a nice history of the character (and/or storyline, team etc.) in a paragraph or two. Rebooting seems like it's more trouble than it's worth. And if erasing resurrected 'dead' characters includes Bucky/WS, then I'm definitely against that.

    Quote Originally Posted by XPac View Post
    I don't think they need to do anything.

    For every one reader that believes continuity is too convoluted, there's 4 that complains when continutiy is ignored. For the most part, it's not really that huge an issue.

    THe only major concern is creating new jumping on points for new readers. And they can accomplish that by doing new issue 1's every so often when major runs and and new ones begin.

    Sort of like how the Bendis era ended and the Hickman era began. Eventually the Hickman era will end and a new one will begin, and that can create a brand new jumping in point without anything needing to be rebooted.

    People overthink the whole issue or reboots. It's simply not necessary, soft or otherwise.
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  10. #10
    Savior of the Universe Flash Gordon's Avatar
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    I don't think MARVEL needs to reboot at all. The only characters that really need it are the X-MEN, but I don't care about them. I almost wish they were in their own world. SPIDER-MAN is kind of a mess, but that's fixable.

    I think they should just cancel the ULTIMATE line, and start a new experimental line where old characters can become new again. Recapture the energy of the original ULTIMATE line, with new creators. New ideas.
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  11. #11
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    ....I don't see why they would need to streamline or reboot anything.

    Pretty much everything anyone wants to know about any character in the marvel universe can be found digitally or in trade and each year what little these two mediums don't have is being added.

    I doubt Marvel will reboot the 616 especially after seeing how terrible an idea it has been for DC.

  12. #12
    Veteran Member Dayle88's Avatar
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    I like the idea of the "rolling timeline". Chronologically, in our real time, Peter Parker got bit in 1962. As Slott said, with the rolling timeline he got bit 12 years ago from today. It's the reality of fiction in this medium. If you can't read these stories because the characters aren't all in their 50's or 60's by now then you just need to readjust. This is the way of comics and I'm personally glad its this way, loads of stuff to read!

    It's up to the storytellers how much continuity they use to benefit their own story. If it enhances the story that's great. Otherwise they just don't have to reference anything from the past and still tell a great story. Continuity isn't required to have a good story so it doesn't really affect anything. And as others have said, if a reader feels they need to know something that is mentioned they can just search for it on the ol' internet.

    I also don't mind death in comics knowing the character will return. I don't find it cheap or demeaning to me as a reader. It can be frustrating sometimes. I missed a year and a half of Peter Parker stories for Superior Spider-man but I kept reading to see how the story would play out and how he would return. As in life, but especially in comics, its the journey that counts and not the destination.

    No reboot of any kind is necessary.

  13. #13
    Extraordinary Member jackolover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiamatty View Post

    A reboot isn't necessary, and I would argue it's not a good idea. In the name of simplifying things, you actually end up making them more complicated, because then you have to figure out what's still canon and what's not.
    I can think of a situation where Captain America wakes up and pulls himself up off the ground, wondering what just happened, and every other character does the same thing. But that would be too confusing, because the heroes would have to re identify themselves, and they may not go back to the same symbols they originally had, like a spider suit or the Stars and Stripes. I wouldn't be able to imagine an amalgamation of the Ultimates and the Avengers and adapting one background to the same bunch. Like keeping the Avengers, but giving them Ultimates origins/backgrounds.

    What is wrong with the 616 continuity? Is it too long? Is there no room to adapt a heroes story anymore? Has Marvel rejigged a heroes origin to have started in more recent decades, away from his 60's roots?

    Is it better to do a reboot and make the heroes origins officially the year 2000? Should the 616 be adapted to the movie verse origin story?

    I can't see drawbacks to altering the starting date of the whole MU, because everything that has happened could still happen, just compressed into the first 5 years of the 2000's. I suppose the conceptual difficulties I have is that everything happened in decades I lived through, so I see them as having happened during those eras of change that the stories happened in. If we for instance anchor the MU in the years 2000, it reduces the impact of those earlier stories for me. Mind you, I have discarded all my early books before 2003, anyway, so in effect, I have done my own personal reboot already, recognising only the books from 2003 onwards. But that doesn't mean I don't recognise the books from the emergence of the hero, like 1930's stories by Brubaker and Remender on Cap. In a reboot, with Cap, for instance, the significance of the Depression and WW 11, become a little irrelevant to what he was. The reboot would have to include some recall of the memory of Steve Rogers about things that are so out of date to other characters. While Peter Parker need not remember he was born in the 50's, or lived through the 60's to the 2000's. His whole history could have happened in the modern era, and it wouldn't change what is essentially Peter Parker.

    You could have the heroes wake up in 2015, and only remember they got their powers in 2000. But it would have to be a thorough reboot. Nobody at Marvel could then go back and refer to stories in the 80's anymore. It would have to be something we would be able to accept, like a memory swipe. We've had so many of them anyway, with the Sentry, Iron Man and Peter Parker, already. What's one more? The Watcher doesn't want the current Space-Time fracture to continue, so he does a memory swipe of the whole 616, and we start again. Why would he do that? Maybe because the 616 has lost control of its own story. It would make the ultimate Original Sin.

  14. #14
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    Just don't. It ain't broke. Don't fix it.

    DC can continue to embrace this trend of throwing away their history (and hemorrhaging fans) every decade or so. No reason to jump on that bonfire with them.

  15. #15
    Extraordinary Member jackolover's Avatar
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    Yeah, it seems to me they dropped the Carol Danvers Ms Marvel title because they were going to introduce another person of that name and had to shove Carol sideways to do it. So Danvers got Captain Marvel again, and the younger Ms Marvel was born. We even got a little crisis when Carol met the African American Captain Marvel, and Carol never called to tell her.

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