Saturday, 14 November 2009

Everything Old Is New Again

Of course, 2004 wasn't just about Brian Bendis. It was also the year of optimistic relaunches:

3rd time out for Alpha Flight, and a return to Marvel for 90s X-writer, Scott Lobdell. A humorous spin on the Canadian superteam, this lasted all of a dozen issues, and most of the team were subsequently exterminated, in order to establish the badass credentials of the latest Avengers foe. As for Cable and Deadpool, this was was a buddy book, written by Lobdell's former partner in X-crime, Fabian Nicieza, and, for the first few issues, even featured covers by Rob Liefeld, who'd brought Cable and Deadpool to comics in the first place.

Keith Giffen, J.M DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire had made comedy names for themselves with a relaunch of the Justice League at DC Comics, in 1987. 17 years on, they decided to have a crack at the Defenders, applying similar comedic principles to the title. Meanwhile, J. Michael Straczynski decided to have a crack at making Dr Strange popular again, mostly by retelling his origin. Neither limited series did much for the ongoing popularity of their cast, but neither did a great deal of harm either.

On the other hand, these two books did no good at all for anyone. Chris Claremont launched a new Excalibur book, not related to the previous team book, but instead starring Professor X and Magneto, mostly so that Claremont could retcon the evil Magneto who had been showing up in Grant Morrison's New X-Men. There followed a great deal of to-ing and fro-ing between Morrison fans and critics, none of which made Excalibur a good book. Still, compared to James Mullaney's brief revival of Iron Fist, a book so bad that, despite being the biggest fan in the world of Danny Rand, I have been unable to reread, Excalibur was a classic.

Dan Slott made his first venture into the Marvel Universe with a new She-Hulk book, in which Shulkie joins a law firm and engages in all sorts of superhero litigation. Imagine Boston Legal with super-types. In one form or another, this book was still going until quite recently. Meanwhile, having killed off the original Thunderbolts concept, and replaced it with a supervillain wrestling book, Marvel persuaded series originator Kurt Busiek to come back one more time. The relaunch lasted until Warren Ellis came along and kicked out the existing team, in the midst of 2006's Civil War, to my somewhat dissatisfaction.

Yeah, on the whole, actual ideas were pretty much on the way out over at the House of Ideas that year.

No comments: