Comic Story Concepts I’m Tired Of
Avengers Vs. X-Men was released a week ago to much bally-hoo. Personally, the concept did not thrill me.
(WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD)
The big problem I have with the whole Avengers Vs. X-Men event is that it appears to be setting up to be just another hero vs hero battle royale. Personally, that is one of the story concepts I have grown tired of. There are a number of story concepts that I make me groan when I see them being set up. This is mostly because they have either been done to death, or done so poorly that they become boring for me to read.
Hero vs. Hero
The concept is familiar to all of us. Hero group X has an issue with hero group Y, even though there has never been an issue with each other before, or they have worked closely many times before. Tensions grow until they reach a head and blows are exchanged. Hero vs Hero stories usually end in one of two ways: either the heroes split, or they unite to face a greater foe.
The best played out example of Hero vs Hero was X-Men: Schism. The series has all the classic elements of Hero vs Hero, the growing tension between Wolverine and Cyclops in light of increased pressure from the outside world and attacks by the Hellfire Club eventually blowing up into a knock down drag out slug fest between the two mutants. In the end, the two, once longtime allies go their separate ways.
Other examples of Hero vs. Hero are:
- Civil War
- World War Hulk
- Contest of Champions
Alternate reality stories basicly shunt the story line off to an alternate version of the comic world the reader is familiar with. The big problem with the alternate reality concept is that is plays out as a cop out. Writers can do whatever they want in the alternate reality, knowing that once they story is done, everything switches back to the world we knew and were familiar with, often with few, if any lasting alternations.
One thing to remember is that this concept does not apply to all alternate reality stories. Stories like the DC Comics Elseworld series and imaginary stories, and Marvel’s What If? stories remain separate from the alternate reality concept in that they often state right out they are an alternate story. Alternate reality as a concept applies to story lines in which comic reality A is switched wit comic reality B.
Examples of Alternate Reality stories are:
- House of M
- Age of X
- Age of Apocalypse
Death of [insert character]
Death of stories have become played out for me because they have become predictable. Every one of these stories always ends with the death of a major character, or a number of minor characters. In the case of a major character, the problem arises from the fact that no reader now a days ever believes that the character’s death is permanent. In the case of the minor characters, the problem is that either the characters are not all that well known, or never really liked all that much.
The worst example of this concept has shown up in the issues of Fantastic Four. In that series, it appears that the Human Torch is killed in the Negative Zone. First, the series uses one of the most classic of comic cop outs: the off camera death. Such deaths usually result in the lack of an actual corpse, which, as any comic reader knows, no body means no death. Sure enough, barely a half a year later, Johnny Storm was back, alive and reunited with his former teammates.
Other examples of Death of stories are:
- Death of Superman
- Final Crisis
- Death of Captain Marvel - This graphic novel would have been a good example of how to do a death of story right if not for the fact that Marvel Comics has brought him back in one form or another at least twice
- Death of Spider-Man - This refers to the Ultimate Comics story line, a gutsy approach since they established for most deaths in the Ultimate Universe, dead is dead
Return of [Insert Character]
Return stories tend to follow the reverse premise of the Death of stories, often times undoing the effects of a Death of story (which help to cheapen those stories that much more). Return stories often stretch out over multiple issues, forcing the returnee to undergo some sort of trial before he is accepted as “returned.” Often times with these stories, everything thereafter continue as if nothing had ever happened.
Examples of Return of stories are:
- The Return of Superman
- Captain America: Reborn
- Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne