That's a good one (for my money, too many of these are "they don't love a character I love").
Do you think it's isolated to/sprang from DC though? From what I've seen, the current JLA is probably the most high profile offender, but I think like "overly decompressed storytelling" it's just become a mainstream undercurrent.
Well, if you're ready for a multi-pronged answer, I'm ready to give you one.Short Answer:
No. If there is anything to take away from the release of Captain America Vol. 6 (besides it's agressive mediocrity) it's the fact that Marvel has embraced that it'll ultimately be a static Universe. It won't be like DC where what you see is what you're going to get, but ultimately the Status Quo will depend on who's getting a movie or appearing in one.Long Answer:
What I find interesting besides the obvious answer is how Marvel and DC got to where we are now.
For DC, it was property manipulation that would almost have to be saluted, if it weren't for how much scorched earth they left in its place. Didio and Johns literally moved Heaven and Earth to get the characters they grew up back to the places where they thought they should be. Whether it was poisoning valuable assets (Cassandra Cain could've made DC serious money as a whole), creating villains that could represent them (Superboy Prime was little more than a plot device to begin clearing the way for the DCU of their vision) or reversing pivotal storytelling moments (Barry Allen's death still remains the best thing to happen to the character), they stopped at nothing to see their vision done.
By the time the relaunch came, not only had most of the legwork had been done, they now had an excuse to get rid of all of the "undesirable" (i.e Legacy Characters and virtually all of the changes made to characters in the Post-CoIE DC) aspects that they couldn't do completely do away with before. Being armed with the weapons "accessibility to new readers" (which would've made sense if they actually aimed for new readers) and "New Universe = New Continuity" (which they don't even have straight), DC looks almost like it did in 1984.
Now for Marvel, it's road down this path is quite different and could be a subject of a whole article, but for our purposes there are 5 main reasons why we are where we are now.
1) The rise of the Avengers Franchise
: In 2004, Marvel made it known that they wanted Avengers to be their Justice League, the unquestioned number 1 franchise of the company. Being charged with the leg work, Bendis took the path of least resistance and swept away the Avengers as we knew it, in a story that got people talking. Disassembled is still quite memorable due to the fact that began these trends.
- The reliance on shock storytelling.
- The over proliferation of it's S (The Icons), A and High B-List Characters
- The manipulation or outright ignoring of continuity (I always said that Wanda going crazy wasn't legitmate, it was the reason why she went crazy that was the problem)
With the old swept away, New Avengers was launched and filled to the brim with Marvel's most bankable characters. However, there was still one thing in the way hence...
2) No More Mutants:
Say what you will about Grant Morrison's work on the X-Men, but he had no problems telling the next phase of the X-Men story. After what seemed like a period of wheel spinning in Claremont's Status-Quo (which Marvel tried to progress in 1999 - 2000) than felt longer than it actually was, Grant Morrison bought the mutant story to where it could've became anything Marvel wanted. However, if you have Mutants in a place where they could affect the Marvel Universe in ways the Avengers can't, then you need to put them in a place where they can't, no matter how much it affects the franchise. Hence part of the why we went from 2 million mutants to 200. In 3 words, Marvel KILLED most of the progression that the X-Universe saw in those 5 years.
3) One More Day and One Moment in Time:
Speaking of killing years of progression, these 2 stories are married to each other in that regard. Of course, we need to make a special mention of "Sins Past" as it not only made Peter's relationship with Gwen Stacey a lie, but it made everyone ask the question "If even Gwen Stacey isn't beyond tainting" what else in the Spider-Mythos is up for demolishing? Beyond destroying Peter's marriage, One More Day and One Moment in Time didn't just invalidate Peter's core philosophy (With Great Power comes Great Responsibility ), but it made it so that Peter Parker will never progress beyond douchetard 28 year old who will always screw up whatever good happens to him.
4) Marvel Studios:
With Bankruptcy fully behind them (and no Quesada didn't save Marvel from this) Marvel decided to take control of what it saw as its' future and open up a studio that would put them in a position to exploit it's own properties on Silver Screen. With the movie rights of X-Men, Spider Man and the Fantastic Four (along with numerous others) sold off to other studios, The Avengers were at the forefront of their movie plans and Iron Man's success not only put The Avengers movies on the fast track (effectively helping to kill Bucky Cap and Thor: Lord of Asgard), but made the next step inevitable and in 2009 we had...
5) Disney's Purchase of Marvel:
Without going too long into the particulars of this purchase, Disney's buying of Marvel effectively put the Marvel character catalog in the same place that Mickey Mouse is in now. In 2012, Mickey's primary existence is not to be a character in a story, but to be an IP that's exploited for licensing cash. In the case of the Marvel characters, this hurts worse because one of the vital foundations of a great story (a story having a lasting affect) will almost always lose out to marketing concerns that mandate that a character must be a certain way to protect the IPs value.
And before I finish this post off, let's gove a special shout-out to the unofficial Reason #6 why Marvel is now a Static Universe.
6) The Advent of $3.99 as a regular price point:
Even though $3.99 was not a new phenomenon when Marvel decided to price it's 22 page content at that point in 2009, $3.99 for each issue of the comic changed the habits of comic buying public. With each book potentially eating an extra dollar into the comic budget, fans had to make a choice between buying that 6th $3.99 book that was deemed "important" to the Marvel's meta-plot at the moment or the $2.99 book that while might have been a better comic, but was not important to meta-proceedings.
- The fan chose the former, which in turn...
- Helped the Shop Owners (Marvel's real customers) choose to order more of the $3.99 books and less of the $2.99 ones, which in turn....
- Drove Marvel to cancel the $2.99 books, which had pretty much all of the progressive storytelling that Marvel was engaging in.
Thus here we are. Goodbye to Captain Britain and MI: 13, Agents of Atlas, Exiles, Guardians of the Galaxy, Nova, The Incredible Hercules and a host of others and hello to a Marvel filled almost exclusively with Avengers, X-Men and other movie tentpole titles, giving us the Marvel Universe as we know it now.