Thursday, October 01, 2015

I'm Stricken With A Malaise Towards Team Books

I mentioned in July I found it difficult to get excited for team books. Even if they featured characters I liked, even if they were written and drawn by creators I normally enjoy.

For example, Gerry Duggan is going to be writing Uncanny Avengers, with Ryan Stegman drawing it. I have enjoyed some of Duggan's writing, both serious and not, and Stegman drew that She-Hulks mini-series I liked. And the book is going to have Spider-Man, Deadpool, Quicksilver, and Old Man Steve Rogers. In theory, I should be excited for this, but I'm not.

I think part of it is just the pacing of the Marvel Universe now*. One of the fun things about team books is throwing characters together and watching them play off each other, and watching those relationships shift over time. Watching Captain America and Hawkeye go from practically antagonists to good friends, or Kitty Pryde's shift in role over her years in the X-teams. But it doesn't feel as though books move fast enough for that to happen in a way that doesn't end up feeling forced. Most books get, what, one six-issue arc in before they burn 3-6 issues on tie-ins to whatever event is happening at the moment, an event which at least half the time throws the book off the path it was on. After the tie-ins are over, the roster may have shifted, people leaving or joining, and things start all over.

Related to this, I've said in the past with regards to the Avengers I'll accept just about any character (Wolverine and the Sentry being notable exceptions) as long as the creative team shows me why the character belongs. What do they bring to the table? And I wonder if enough happens in a given span of time now for that to happen. One mission or fight might be all it takes, but I'm not sure how many of the writers on these books can manage it for everyone on their roster in a single story. And then it comes back to whether there'll be time to get back to the ones that didn't have a chance to shine on the first go.

One could probably work around these by doing some shorter arcs about parts of the team split up, 2 issues for a couple characters here, 2 issues for a different trio there. It allows certain characters more chances to interact, also gives them more room to shine. But there'd still be the possibility of event derailment, and you kind of have to put the whole group together at some point and have them doing something as a team. Or else why are they together? At this stage, practically every hero in the Marvel Universe knows each other, it'd probably be good to have a reason why this specific group of 5/7/13/48 characters are working with each other.   

* It could be argue cost is a bigger factor, but seeing as I do still buy some Marvel comics, I think it's more relevant why I think the team books aren't worth spending the money on, compared to the books I do purchase.


SallyP said...

I am stricken with a malaise towards just about everything lately... which is probably not a good thing.

I do like team books... but there is always the possibility that things can quickly spiral out of control. I have found the whole Darkseid War for example, to be practically incoherent, and a lot of time Avengers books can be just as puzzling.

But as you say... if the writer gives us a plausible reason for each character to actually be there... things can work.

CalvinPitt said...

Yeah, I still think the initial roster Bendis put forth (Cap, Stark, Spidey, Luke Cage, Spider-Woman) had promise. But he so rarely had them do anything it was hard to understand what they were doing there (a problem he compounded with a lot of characters he added later, like Storm or Daredevil).