I’ve been prattling on about Marvel comic and reboots for years and writing about it prolifically since this site’s inception, up to earlier this year, and even earlier this week, but Marvel just keeps on adding layers to the reboot rumor cake, and I really love cake! The recent news is quite compelling, feeding the rumor mill to gluttonous proportions, but I still don’t think we’re going to see a hard reboot of the Marvel Universe.
The New News
Despite the announcement of the still mysterious Secret Wars 2015 event that definitely gives the reboot-theory some traction, more recent and relevant news points toward a MCU reboot.
It’s been on the web for a while now, and everything about this particular rumor seems to be lining up…almost. While it HAS been confirmed that Marvel will be canceling the Fantastic Four comic, it may or may not have to do with Marvel Studios competing movie properties, but it surely has a lot to do with the FF book just not selling. But, breaking at NYCC this week, rumors of the X-Men books being cancelled due to the same movie competition got a shot in the arm when an image suggesting a huge change, and perhaps an end, were coming to the X-Franchise. Now, I don’t buy this one bit because, unlike the FF, the X-Books, for the most part, are selling quite well. Still, this latest batch of news, coupled with the unveiling of the Secret Wars event, has brought the rumor mill to maximum RPMs. But I just don’t buy it, and here’s why.
What Is a Hard Reboot Exactly?
Tabula rasa. A clean slate. It’s the beginning all over again. A rebirth. Where is the appeal of retelling the same old origin stories again? What is the difference between what IS happening currently in individual Marvel titles and what would happen if there was a complete reset? Marvel has no problem rebranding and retconning anything and everything. From a movie universe Nick Fury to a brand new Spidey character named Silk, Marvel has no problem adding whatever they want, changing whatever they want, and doing whatever they want, with no need for a total reset. If something needs to be ignored to tell a good story, they ignore it. And what is there to gain? When DC rebooted with the New 52 sales increased for a few months, but they quickly went back to the standard 1, 2 that is the Big 2, and Marvel is still on top most of the time, unless DC does a special cover month gimmick. Pound per pound, over time, Marvel is winning when it comes to sales. So why fix it if it ain’t broken? The answer to that question is: They fix it all the time.
The Perpetual Soft Reboot
I won’t get into this too much, because I’ve done it so much already. Marvel NOW!, All-New Marvel NOW!, The Heroic Age, Avengers NOW!, even event after event that seem to be forgotten by the individuals that took part in them. Marvel changes the overall status quo of their entire universe and comic book line all the time. Is Age of Ultron even a thing in the comics? It certainly didn’t have a far-reaching impact overall on the universe for more than a few months. So why change things with a broad stroke when the narrow strokes have been working so well?
Maybe I’m Wrong!
This is something I struggle with all the time. Maybe Marvel really is going against every bit of logic I’ve laid out and is truly planning a full-on hard reboot of the entire universe. If this does happen, however, it has drastic repercussions and meanings, both good and bad.
On the heels of the FF cancellation, a hard reboot would certainly mean that the X-Men comics will go away and be replaced by the Inhumans as Marvel’s go-to mutate. This allows Marvel Studios to take advantage in big ways, while the current push with the Inhumans in the comics supports this a lot. On a personal note, this does refute my favorite comic book shop owner’s reasoning that the X-Men are the most important reason to reboot the Marvel U, but I digress. This will also mean a whole lot of buzz for the Marvel Comics brand. Look at the hype just changing a couple of characters brought earlier this year. If Marvel put out a whole line’s worth of #1 issues, the boost to the industry would be epic in scale, and, with the success of the Marvel movie universe in bringing in fans, the synergy could be legendary. But it’s not all good.
If the Marvel Comics Universe reboots it will surely come out the other side of that clean slate looking more like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I don’t think that’s good for anyone. We’ll either get two identical universes, or a shared universe that sees the comics merely supporting the true cash cow. I seethe with anger at these thoughts.
The Waiting is the Hardest Part
Because that’s really all we can do: Wait and see. But it will be an amazing ride while we do! Hickman’s still knocking it out of the park; Spidey is going in directions that only he could go; And Marvel shows no signs of slowing down on quality, compelling, and different sorts of stories that only they can tell due to their huge stable of characters. So, who knows? Not me. The only thing I DO know is that I am either setting myself up to be a genius, or preparing the largest plate of crow in history.