With each new big blockbuster event Marvel has brought wide sweeping changes that dramatically affect their entire line-up of comic book offerings. Some of these changes have given certain series an injection of new life that it has been missing or revived forgotten characters all together. But as Marvel has gone all in on holding an event every year they have lost their own identity as a comic book universe. Now with the recently teased Generations comic book Marvel has an opportunity to fix all this and create a Marvel Universe that is much more consistent.
One of the biggest things that Marvel has lost since going down their yearly event culture is a sense of consistency. Marvel has become so obsessed with moving on to the next big thing there is never a sense as a fan that we can settle in to fully explore what events like Civil War II or Inhumans vs X-Men means to the universe. That is certainly the case with Secret Empire being announced and already being heavily promoted just a little over a month after Civil War II and while IvX is still going on. As a fan the question does have come up: “Why should I invest in the Marvel Universe now when it all goes out the window in a few months?”
Additionally, alongside this new event culture another thing that has been lost is how far the heroes are stretched now. One of the things that made the Marvel Universe so interesting is that every character and series felt unique. Whether it was Spider-Man and Daredevil acting as guardians for New York or the Fantastic Four dealing with cosmic threats or the X-Men dealing with persecution or possible mutant extinction, everyone seemed to have an assignment. This made the times when characters did participate in stories that were outside of their normal status quo special events that caught fans eyes.
That is where Generations should step in to act as a defining piece of Marvel’s next, and hopefully permanent, direction. Whoever the creative may be Marvel must use Generations as a way to reestablish the rules of their prime Marvel Universe. This means defining what the world Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, etc. exist in as it has become incredibly blurry with everyone getting dragged into big events. In defining the worlds of Marvel’s characters and ongoing comics we can start to see why comics events like Secret Empire are special as it is not an everyday occurrence in these characters lives like it has currently become.
At the same time, Generations can act as a way to define the legacy’s each Marvel comic character has now that classic characters have an expanded cast of related characters. This is something Marvel has done a horrible job at as they keep characters at arm’s length from each other. As great as characters like Miles Morales and Kamala Khan are a big reason they do seem like derivative characters is that the heroes that inspired them are non-existent in their lives. It would be one thing if they existed after Peter Parker or Carol Danver’s have been dead for a number of years or there was an official passing of the mantle. But in the majority of cases Marvel has just given away their iconic characters superhero names in order to sell more comics than if these new characters had brand new identities.
Now with Generations Marvel can officially lay the foundation as to what it means for Spider-Man and Captain Marvel to create a legacy with Miles, Kamala and other characters. Whether that means taking their new allies under their wing or helping them out in some other way, they should be an active part of each other’s lives. By doing so Marvel can show that they are having older heroes move forward while having a wealth of characters, that when need be, can take over the mantle of a hero without it being seen like stunt casting.
At the end of the day, Generations has the potential to be one of the more important comic books Marvel has produced in recent memory. Will it be? Maybe not but there is hope that it’ll be just that for Marvel following this teaser. In the process Marvel can bring back disenchanted fans and the new generation that is growing up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe into their comic book world in a way that is easy to understand its rules and type of stories to expect, which has not been clear for some time.