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Avril Brown Presents:


Welcome to the Center for Comic Continuity Complaints!

As comic book fans, we understand there is a certain amount of ridiculousness we are expected to swallow in order to be swept away by a story, but every now and again we must pause and pay a visit to the C4 (ominous, innit?) in the hopes our comments will reach the ears of the people responsible for the chaos of overused characters and intersecting timelines.

There are dozens of Marvel titles for sale every week, but the ones I focus on are X-Men and some of the related spin offs. Being the broke-as-shit bastard I am, limits are necessary in what I bring home to my nest of nerdy-ness, yet I buy enough to notice the excessive appearance of Wolverine and a few of his teammates.

As I (and many others) have mentioned before, you can’t swing a dead cat in the Marvel U without hitting Wolverine or someone genetically related to him. Let’s face it, Logan is lucrative, and you can’t blame the Marvel Powers That Be for using him as much as possible, but the timing of his adventures have gone from ridiculous to re-donkulous.

In ‘Uncanny X-Men’ Wolverine has not been the most major of players in the last few issues, but he has popped up here and there, mainly in California where the team is now based. Cali is where he appears in the latest issue trying to recruit the mutant Northstar to the Uncanny team, and in the same issue, fellow mutant and teammate Archangel is also flying about the Golden State doing his own thing while Domino is trekking around Tokyo as per Logan’s request.

Funny how that should be, considering all three of them are on X-Force (a different, darker team of mutants brought together for wetworks operations), and the latest issue of that book places them one thousand years in the future, somewhere around where New York used to be.

Oh, and in ‘Astonishing X-Men,’ Wolverine and several other team members (some of whom are in California in ‘Uncanny X-Men’) were on a mission in China before jetting off to Europe in the most recent issue.

Have a headache yet? Here’s something that might help: a few of these multi-talented mutants have a different costume for each team they’re on, so just in case you get turned around, all you have to remember is Wolverine in the gray and black costume is the one trying to save the mutant baby one thousand years in the future, while Wolverine in the yellow and blue costume with the ribbed boots (ribbed, for her pleasure) is the one traipsing about Europe trying to stop an invasion by mutants from alternate realities.

Don’t get me wrong, I love all this time-traveling, alternate dimension, science fiction shit; I am a comic book fan, after all. But for the love of Pete, has anyone heard of pacing? Immersing oneself into a particular story becomes difficult when the main characters are the stars in several other stories and are supposedly in multiple places simultaneously.

This has been done before and will be done again, no doubt, because fans will buy the damn books anyways. Honestly we just can’t help ourselves (don’t look at me like that; at least it’s not crack). Besides, occasionally the stories are so incredible it doesn’t matter where or when the characters are. In the first two years of ‘Astonishing X-Men’ Cyclops, Emma, Wolverine, Beast, Kitty and Colossus were here, there and everywhere, but the books were so incredible it was easy for fans to convince themselves the stories fit seamlessly into the general comic continuity.

Despite my whining, I am at my core a logical person and I can understand the need to have several popular character make appearances in several popular books. Therefore I am not a strict stickler for continuity and timing, but there should be a reasonable limit as to how much is thrown into the Marvel mix at one time. Diving into the past or a possible alternate future of any character, living or dead, is a perfectly acceptable alternative to multiple story lines supposedly occurring at the same time. Several years ago in ‘X-Men’ Gambit left a god-awful story arc as a demented, rebellious Horseman of Apocalypse complete with jet-black skin and white hair, and a few months later showed up in an unexpected place looking and acting like that whole genetic alteration experiment was so passé. While I’m completely on board with the ‘Pete Milligan’s Moronic Story Arc Never Happened’ gravy train, I wouldn’t be objected to a talented author taking the reigns and explaining how my favorite Cajun transitioned from his craptastic Point A to his much more acceptable Point B.

If I may make a connection between two seemingly unrelated fields, this abundance of artistic adventures reminds me of an intelligent yet overexcited dog. When a dog with a large vocabulary is really worked up and maybe a bit confused, he’ll start to throw everything he’s got on the table to get what he wants. You ask for a sit, he’ll give you a sit, then a down, then a roll over before heading to the kitchen to make your breakfast, all because he wants a Scooby snack.

Marvel Comics, you’ve already captured my love and attention. I don’t need a plethora of fancy plots or even to see beloved characters appear on every page under the sun. You’ve already given me my Scooby snack, which is essentially tons of cool characters going on unbelievably awesome escapades. Remember, you have all of time, space and history at your fingertips to play with; you do not have to focus all of your efforts on the same timeline, nor the same characters, no matter how much of a cash cow they prove to be. Now pace yourself, for god’s sake, otherwise fans left and right are going to be stampeding towards their very own C4. 

Avril Brown

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