Monday, October 13, 2008

Folks We've Seen Too Much Of Lately

Let's just admit it: there are some heroes that used to be cool guest stars, but have worn out their welcomes. They seem to show up every month in some title or another, and it's not working any more. Most have their own book, and many times their guest-starring role makes no sense at all. Here's my list of heroes who need to lie low for a little while.

This is the poster boy for oversaturation (he even won our recent poll about heroes who are in too many books). He started as a guest-star in Hulk before moving on to a regular slot among the X-Men. Once Wolverine's popularity started to show in the X-Men titles of the 80's, he became the go-to guy for boosted sales. If you needed some extra issues, bring in Wolverine for a guest shot. As such, he's appeared in every comic you can imagine, and he's had some reason to fight the star of that comic in the process. Granted, his first appearance against Captain America in Cap's magazine remains one of the coolest fights he's had, but we've seen enough.

Even now Wolvie has two solo titles, his slot in X-Force, and his regular position in X-Men. Even with his healing factor, how on earth does anyone keep up that kind of schedule and not fall asleep on the job?

A true underdog story, Spidey made his debut in the last issue of a dying comic title (Amazing Fantasy) before moving to his own solo title and becoming Marvel's most popular character. Unfortunately, it only took one issue before the guest-star bug (no pun intended) bit and he showed up with the Fantastic Four. After that, he was everywhere. Like Superman and Batman, Spider-Man was the star of his own team-up book for a while during the 70's and 80's before that fad died out.

Even though they've trimmed him to one title that comes out 3 times a month, he's still showing up everywhere during the Secret Invasion. The problem? The stupid reboot they gave him in "Brand New Day". He no longer fits into any title's continuity but his own. The recent crossover with the Thunderbolts gave him a chance to interact with Norman Osborn again, but it didn't make sense. Marvel downplayed this "minor event"--the sudden fact that no one in the Marvel Universe knows who Spider-Man really is anymore--and is desperately trying to cover their tracks.

During these years when Spider-Man doesn't have a movie on the horizon, they should let him have a little down time. I love the character, and he's the first comic I read and the reason I fell in love with comics to begin with...but he's popping up a little too often at the moment. Let's get everything straight with this new convoluted storyline and then gently interject him into other titles again.

Ok, so we have Action Comics, Superman, Trinity, JLA, JSA, a guest shot in Brave & The Bold, and the recent miniseries Superman and Legion of 3 Worlds, and Superman: Beyond 3D. Could this be considered oversaturation?

Granted, this is DC's heavy hitter. Anytime they feel the need to prove how tough a hero is, they send him after Superman (or vice versa). But let's give him a break. Seriously, after DC killed him off it took 4 guys to take his place until he returned! I understand he's Kryptonian, but let's send him and Lois on a little vacation to the Bahamas for a few months and leave him alone. He's still got a cousin and a dog running around out there, so let them cover it for a while.

Iron Man
Oh man, am I going to take flak for this, but let's face it: he's getting to be a little much. I know his movie came out this year and it was honestly the best Marvel has done so far, but is there any artist working for Marvel that hasn't drawn him yet? Before the Civil War he was just another player in the Marvel universe with a solo title and a team spot in the Avengers. Then he stepped into the spotlight during the Civil War (as the heavy, no less), and hasn't stepped away from it since. How did Tony Stark suddenly become the linchpin of the Marvel Universe?

There are those who would argue that he's always been important, but he's now the star of 2 solo titles, 2 miniseries, 1 team book, and a major player in Avengers: The Initiative. After the dust settles on this Secret Invasion and Nick Fury takes over SHIELD again, hopefully Marvel will pull him back just a little bit.

As much as I love this character, I think it's time to let him have a little rest. I know they're in the midst of this whole "Batman R.I.P." storyline that has the world in an uproar because it could mean the death of Bruce Wayne, but even if they kill him off the next guy to wear the cape needs to lie low for a while.

While Batman doesn't have as many titles as Superman (thanks to his 2 Final Crisis miniseries), he's still popping up in all kinds of books. I realize he's a central figure in the DC universe and has to used, but we're starting to lose something here. Maybe a little more slinking in the shadows for a bit? Or how about letting Jason Todd step in as Red Robin again and do a little tough guy work while Batman is away?

So what about you? Is there a hero I missed that you think needs a little vacation from the spotlight?

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