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Comic Polity: Marvel’s Future


Once again, a hearty “In the Morning” to you all out there.  This go round we’ll be discussing the many (in-continuity) futures of the House of Ideas and what they mean to us.

It’s no surprise that Marvel is where most of my comic knowledge comes from (check out M6P for details), and paired with the fact that I am something of a continuity buff…it’s not unreasonable to assume that some of the recent stories that expose the future of the Marvel U can get a little cringing reaction from me.  My wife tells me that continuity doesn’t matter, because they will just rewrite it when they get stuck anyway.  See the whole “One More Day” fiasco for a good example of that.  But the fact remains that, to me, if something is said to be within continuity there must be an adherence to prepared plans and committed follow-through.

Allow me to cite just a few recent examples of Marvel’s not-too-distant-future that I hope do not come to pass:

Once again, I would like to point out that as far as I’ve read and i know, every single one of these examples is within continuity and are not associated with alternate realities or some other branch of the multiverse.  These are all 616.  Do you notice any similarities?  There is one characteristic in particular that sticks out to me as a glaringly obvious face-palm.

They are all representing a dystopian society.

I’m sure you can imagine how stunning this revelation is when we think of the basis of the superhero genre: altruism.  Sure each book has its own bent toward either Humanism or Existentialism or Theism or even  Determinism, but through it all the hero stands tall and stands till the end.  The question is then: what happened to make the future turn out so malformed and cruel?  Is evil just more powerful than good?

These questions could go on forever as we examine the underbelly of the Marvel U and factor in the variables of timing, the current lineup of creators, and finally Marvel’s revenue…but I have another theory.

Is there hope for the Marvel U?  In short, yes.  But there always remains a chance for the 616 to teeter over as it balances on the knife’s edge.  Sure, we want to keep the reader and the audience engaged, but there’s more to it than that.   The Marvel future reflects our future.  We’ve seen that future before on a lesser scale through Hitler and Stalin and Mussolini and Kim Jong-il and countless others.  And the fact remains that we may see it again.  So what is Marvel’s creators trying to show us?

I submit that we are to look at the causes to the dystopia that faces our heroes and analyze where each originates.  The ones we have the answers to seem to seem to flow from the mistakes of the powerful and the inability or lack of care and action of the masses until it’s too late.  Marvel is calling to our inner hero.  We could be facing the same fate in a mere matter of years if we continue to turn our heads away from injustice and look to ourselves instead of our neighbor.  So what can you do?

Stand up.  Do what’s right.  Look out for your fellow human beings, and refuse to stand for injustice.

And just as we hope that our heroes don’t have to face a world plunged in death and destruction, so too our Fear motivates us to act in our own corner of the multiverse.  Be the hero that will  stand tall and stand till the end!

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Comments (3)

Jason Edwards

It's all Richards' fault!

ok, i think the reason Marvel does let the heroes see their (maybe) future is because they want to show us (the reader) that when we stand together (the heroes of 616) they can rewrite the future. like in avengers, the future iron man didnt know some characters that existed now. Those could be the difference makers in the future. And you know the sentry will come back and save the earth in like 5 years. And lets face it old man Logan was a awesome story. also, the paper industry is going down , in 10 years there might not be comic book stores anymore, and you know you got to do something crazy to get those online comic readers buying so i say in 10-20 years bring on the age of Apocalypse, bring on aliens, bring on the villains united! Because lets just face it ..the house of ideals is going to run out of ideals….so they made some to far back on.

All good points, Shane. I would cringe at that also…I think that the way the Marvel U is set up, it's not 616 if it is a re-writable alternate future. But the idea you said about it showing us maybe has to be there to give the reader the real sense of dread that it is possible. I haven't looked at it that way before.

Thanks for the input.

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