Monday, March 03, 2014

30 years of back story

Reading the first Captain Marvel trade this evening, I think I've finally figured out my problem with Marvel comics.

I've always described it rather flippantly as having to know decades of history about characters, most of which has been tweaked or ignored or retconned several times over that period.

But really the problem is not knowing what bits of the story I'm supposed to already have an understanding of, and which bits will get explained in this book eventually.

If there's an allusion to a character's past in Saga, I know that it'll be explained later if it's important. But in Captain Marvel, I don't know if I'm supposed to know Helen Cobb already. The stuff that happens with her in the book is pretty reliant on you believing the relationship she has with Carol Danvers; I'm not certain this volume self it enough, but maybe there have been other comics previously that build their friendship/rivalry into something bigger.

The back of the volume has a four-page character backstory, but it's given no timeline for context. There's decades of character development with the XMen, SHIELD and the Avengers, and although not much of that is essential to understand what's happening in this story, there's a constant gnawing reminder at the back of my brain that I'm missing something.

No comments: