The age of crossovers

There are just too many intellectual property crossovers right now. I saw a film that I quite liked recently, ‘The Wolverine’. I liked how the human side of the mutant character was emphasised. I liked the exploration of the psyche of Logan’s persona, his vulnerabilities and his outlook explored.

 

I have gotten quite big into Marvel recently. I am currently reading a volume from last year’s ‘AvX’ comic event, where there is quite a completist aspect about all the various series that tied into the story, and all the follow-up IPs since then. Due to work and other real life things, I don’t have enough time or energy to pay attention to more Marvel stuff, like Age of Ultron.

 

I wrote a while back about how I missed the ‘Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ (EMH) Disney series. As it happens I am now following 3 Marvel animated series, and they all seem to have a decidedly purposeful intertwining. The problem is…there’s a slight inconsistency.

 

So the most recent Avengers’ series is supposedly a continuation of the series cancelled last year, but more re-formed to orient the recent interest in Marvel’s cinematic universe. However, in an episode that featured a flashback, it referenced something that points to how the new series (Avengers Assemble) is a continuation of EMH. However, due to transitive relations this would lead to some problems.

 

The recent Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. features characters from the new Avengers series and Ultimate Spiderman, suggesting that they are in the same universe, the Avengers’ Fury character also references Ultimate Spiderman. However, the ultimate spiderman is a different character to the spiderman referenced in EMH (which is supposedly in the same continuity). Not least to mention how ‘Don’t Call me Power Man’ Luke Cage is a vastly different character between EMH and Ultimate Spiderman. Okay, so this is a kids show and these kinds of continuities don’t really matter.

 

There is something quick and easy about crossovers. DC has an upcoming Batman vs. Superman film coming up, for which the announcement of Ben Affleck has brought some notoriety. There’s more Marvel IPs coming out soon for the cinematic universe: Guardians of the Galaxy, in particular. Crossovers and team ups are also popular in action films. Note the success of the films Expendables and Expendables 2, which is an admittedly shameful guilty pleasure for me. The day my friends went to see the Expendables back in 2010 was so notable that it was a day that one of our friends met his now girlfriend, she has recently moved in with him and they are very much together. I think we can thank Stallone’s dream team making a film together as an efficient cause to their relationship. Perhaps cynically, I was recently drawn into the Fast and the Furious action films, when I found that cockneyed action hero hardman Jason Statham has a cameo at the end of the recent 6th outing of Vin Diesel’s action vehicle. This doesn’t even mention the capitalising of the pairing between Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson’s odd couple relationship.

 

So many things in popular culture emphasise the bigger and the bolder, the teaming up and the crossing over. There is a problem when we have too many characters, not enough genuine development. It seems culturally and in terms of consumption, there is a definite market and desire for such tastes today. I must admit, I quite enjoy the unusual pair-ups in Avengers vs. X Men. However with staple characters such as Captain America or Wolverine, I wonder how much Brian Michael Bendis can put in of personal insight into these characters. I see it as a potential tension, although Bendis manages it quite well.

 

Michael

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