Monday, February 14, 2011

The trials and tribulations of a shared universe

I've been thinking alot lately about shared super-hero universes. I know, I know...pretty heady stuff.

For the most part I'm all for them, but to some continuity is one of those "c" words that shall not be named. That's a little harsh, as in my opinion a little continuity is good for the soul. And here I stress the word "little". I'm not talking about basing your universe around some small bit of minutia that happened in the mid-80's, but rather letting your characters live and breath with actions and repercussions that are felt from title to title.

Granted, it doesn't always work flawlessly or with no hiccups, but hope springs eternal and I guess I'm the eternal optimist. I haven't always felt this way, but the economics of the current marketplace have gently pushed me in this direction. As more and more Marvel books migrated to four dollars, I found it easier and easier to give them up and put that money towards other books. Naturally, some of that money flowed to DC and the more DC books I got involved with, the easier it was to try another one...and another one...

The shared universe is a double-edged sword easy as it is to get sucked in, it's almost easier to get pushed out too. It looks like the landscape that's coming up this summer is going to do nothing more than further entrench my habits.

Fear Itself and Flashpoint

Both of these company wide crossovers are promising big things and repercussions that spread across their entire line. Being the continuity connoisseur that I am, they pretty much have my name and number.

Flashpoint I'm very much looking forward to reading through week by week, mini-series by mini-series, and issue by issue. That fact that it's an alternate universe-ish type, time traveling epic means that as far as I know they're writing this story just for me. The fact that all the books are going to be three bucks means that I can afford to digest as much as the quality of the storytelling will allow. If it keeps on entertaining, I'll keep on buying.

Fear Itself I'm very much looking forward to keeping up with the spoilers on-line, while leaving the books on the shelves. I'm not the biggest fan of Matt Fraction's super-hero work, but the idea behind this series sounds like it might be more to his style. His stellar non-Marvel stuff still reads pretty good and gives him a lot of rope, but I just can't jump in with Marvel's price point. It's a shame, as this means that it's another Stuart Immonen series that I'm not reading.

So what's the point of this rambling, stream-of-consciousness diatribe?

I guess I just miss the good old days when you could afford to keep up with more than one super-hero universe.

God help me (and my wallet and my spare time) if the digital platform ever adopts a two-dollar price point. That is also a discussion for another day, so let's get to picking the next random book to review. Take it away, Randomizer...

...and that book is Thor #365 from March 1986, published by Marvel Comics!

Now we're talking! The last time the Randomizer picked a Thor issue is was smack dab in a mediocre run with a Ghost Rider guest appearance. We suffered through and gave it the old college try, but it wasn't a very memorable issue.

This time around we're treated to an issue from one of Thor's truly stellar runs, as this issue comes from smack dab in the middle of Walter Simonson's forty issue run. See you in a day or two for the review.

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