John Smith
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Why Characters Need to Fail

Why Comic Audiences are Really Rejecting Marvel's New Characters

The shame I feel at calling myself a comic book fan right now is sad on many levels. For too long, I have watched the comic book community deteriorate from the sidelines and I have decided to finally throw my opinion out into the void for whoever wishes to hear it.

To begin with, I am a huge fan of legacy characters, I believe that the act of handing down a heroic moniker to a new generation adds grandeur to the persona. My favorite Batman story actually revolves around Dick Grayson wearing the iconic cape and cowl ("The Black Mirror"). I initially defended the existence of both Riri Williams and Kamala Khan as a new generation of heroes stepping up to fight the good fight. I was excited to see new blood out in the field, but that feeling quickly died.

I am going to dismiss the straw man arguments of bad writing apologists right off the bat. Diversity is not ruining comics, and no rational person makes this argument because comic books have always been diverse. Just look at how popular Blade was, and how hungry for new stories his fan base is (myself among them). Look at how long the X-Men have survived while existing as a metaphor for the people who feel voiceless and hated. Let's not forget the cult favorite character Luke Cage finally getting a chance to shine, even if he has become a hollow shell of what he used to be (more on that later). Comic books have attracted a very liberal-minded audience for decades and arguing otherwise is disingenuous at best and a lie at worst.

The new Marvel characters commit the greatest sin any protagonist can: being boring. Peter Parker, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, and Carol Danvers were all deep, three-dimensional characters full of self-destructive behaviors. The four of them, more often than naught, found themselves so close to what they really wanted in life, but too far away to grasp it. Though these four are far from perfect characters and have more than their fair share of bad stories, they still rank above their replacements and current versions, not only to me but to other life-long fans.

For the most part, the replacement characters never do anything wrong. Every fight they win is done with next to no effort and never once have any of them been faced with any introspective crises. (Miles Morales has, just back when he was in the Ultimate Universe.) 

The Marvel event I love and everyone else hates is Maximum Carnage. An all out war for New York between Spiderman's rag tag group of allies and Carnage's team of psychopaths. It was a story arc that pushed Spiderman to physical and mental exhaustion, and took a serious toll on his marriage. Peter Parker even reached the point where he seriously contemplated murdering Carnage to stop him once and for all, erasing the blurry line that seperated him from his enemy, Venom. Marvel refuses to give any of the "legacy" characters anywhere near this amount of depth or humanity. Instead, they make their superheroes personality-less tropes wrapped in the criticism-proof shield of "Diversity." 

I am not saying get rid of the new characters. Far from it. I am begging Marvel to allow their new creations to come into their own as heroes. Put the focus back on action and less on politics and cringe-inducing Disney channel sitcom shenanigans. Until then, I personally will be sticking to my back catalog and supporting everything Jeff Lemiere and Walter Simonson put out.                     

Read next: BIG MOUTH
John Smith

This is mostly just a means to improve my writing skills. I often write late at night since I spend most of my day studying when not on campus.  


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Why Characters Need to Fail
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BIG MOUTH