Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Speaking Of Continuity Problems

Much has been made of the first issue of Final Crisis not matching up with the end of Countdown to Final Crisis. But, on this Wednesday, one writer managed to write two issues that contradict each other on continuity.

Without getting into specifics (out of respect for those who haven't read the issues yet), New Avengers and Mighty Avengers contradict each other when it comes to the timeline of Hank Pym's being replaced with a Skrull. In a big way.

If anyone can give me an explanation as to how it can be explained away as to no longer be a contradiction, please hit me with a message at schwapponline at gmail dot com.


  1. confused... Avengers: Initiative and New Avengers have him already being a Skrull and Mighty Avengers has him being replaced before he divorced Janet, I don't see how they contradict each other. COuld you explain that here?

  2. The Mighty Avengers issue takes place after Disassembled when Hank and Jan were working things out (again).

    Hank is replaced around this time, but New Avengers kind of verifies it with Spider-Woman skrull instigating the break out of the prisoners at the Raft.

    It does kind of work out, but it looks more and more to me that Marvel ARE making this up as they go along, because nothing here really reads as planning; rather, it reads as a writer going back to fix mistakes he thought would slide past people but readers caught him.

    The big trouble is that Marvel keeps pushing back more and more the time the first wave of sleeper agents arrived into the timeframe.

  3. No the problem is that Mighty has Hank being replaced by by a Skrull sometime after the formation of the New Avengers and in England. While it isn't clear with how long it was it is apparant some time passed (probably a couple of weeks) before Hank was replaced.

    However, in New Avengers Hank has already been replaced and New York apparently when the New Avengers formed.

    Kevin I'm glad I'm not the only one that caught this. I posted that contradiction on Millarworld and so far the reception has been "so?". No one has bothered to explain it or back their indignation of Final Crisis and Countdown not lining up with this contradiction. So why does one event get a pass while another is crucified for it?

  4. adt1974:

    Three reasons:
    1) Because the contradictions haven't been in the main series.
    2) Because fans were lied to about the importance of Countdown. Wouldn't you be pissed off that you spent more than $150 on a series that was contradicted by the series it was supposed to lead into?
    3) Because if it was a mistake, it was veeeerrrryyyy minor as opposed to all the mistakes in FC.

  5. OK...since y'all are going to discuss it in the comments despite my stating that I didn't want to possibly mess things up for readers who didn't read their books yet.

    1. I'm talking about New Avengers contradicting Mighty Avengers. This would mean that the architect of Secret Invasion is contradicting himself. Same writer on all three books. You can't explain that away with saying there was some sort of miscommunication or disagreement.

    2. In Mighty Avengers, the real Hank Pym is still around in England when the breakout happens on the Raft. In New Avengers, he was already replaced by a Skrull who wonders why the New Avengers are possibly reforming without him being involved. Both scenes are set to have happened hours after the Raft breakout.

    3. You can't use the whole "it isn't happening in the main series" excuse. Bendis has been putting some bits into the Avengers books that are arguably more essential than what happens in an issue of the main series.

    But yeah, Frag, there is a much bigger reason to be outraged about the Countdown/Final Crisis part. That doesn't change that it is pretty ridiculous that a writer can't keep his own continuity straight, regardless of how damn cool Bendis might be (his performance at WWC was pretty damn good).

  6. Explanation that likely won't get used? The Skrull replacing "Hank" in England was actually replacing a different Skrull who'd found himself "frozen" as Hank (the way the Mar-Vell Skrull did) years and years ago -- maybe around the time he first took on the Yellowjacket persona.

    Explanation that will be used? "Misprint", or "editing error".

  7. Misprint doesn't fit. And an editor shouldn't have to edit a writer for continuity when that writer scripted all of the involved issues. :)

  8. Well, Tom Brevoort isn't really the great editor he's made out to be. I bet people like working with him because so much stuff gets by him that a normal editor would say "Now wait a minute..."

    Under his watch recently we have had big time inconsistencies with Disassembled (with him having to work out the true extent of Wanda being crazy on a message board), Xorn, the inconsistencies with Civil War and the varying portrayal of the SHRA, One More Day, and currently Secret Invasion.

    There are other little things too, such as Ms. Marvel having a beer at a bar (alcoholic), FF being labeled as a Disassembled event despite having only one line referencing the Avengers and being nothing but a red sky event, and the whole Xorneto thing which took two years to get around to in House of M. Oh, the whole delay thing with Civil War yet it was still on schedule. These are just minor things compared to the previous paragraph.

  9. I've not been the biggest fan of Tom Brevoort. In fact, I caught a bit of heat for calling him a liar on that Civil War delay bit when his explanation didn't seem to fit with reality.

    But I don't think that this is a case where you can really hit him with blame. You shouldn't have to have continuity concerns with a writer matching up points with his own scripts.

    Again, it isn't the hugest problem. It is just sloppy. Very sloppy. Which is frustrating and disappointing, because there's no excuse for that and I tend to expect better from Bendis than that.

  10. Now that I've actually read Mighty, it makes even less sense than before. Just in that book alone, there are big gaffes, like Hank and Jan still being married (but separated) after all these years, or Skrull Hank giving Jan a growth formula that she's never had despite the fact she's used one for years. In books that Bendis wrote, she's used one.

    But, isn't that the problem? Guy can't keep straight what he's written in books that came out simultaneously; can't expect him to remember what he wrote three years ago...

  11. I've read them and I still don't see the problem, there is obviously a bit of time in between the raft bit and when she joins the New Avengers, because as I recall she held out for a bit. Plus there is some time in between when the Raft happens and the New Avengers actually form.

    But seriously, you guys are sitting at home with notebooks flow charting this stuff out aren't you.

    It's possible there is some time issues, but I don't see it as a glaring error either way. The cool thing about comics is time is fluid, you guys are asking why they are still seperated when things that happened in comic book printed four years ago are refered to as being after "serveral months ago."

    This is why you end up with Editors going "Jeez.. they're just comic books."

    It's kind of the same as saying "relax, take a deep breath, and readjust your spidey underoos, it'll be alright!" In fact when I am finally writing or editing comic books like fifteen years from now that will be my catch phrase, you heard it here first.

    I know you will all dog pile on me now, it's cool, take your shots.

  12. Read it, again, Lee: the conversation between Skrull Spider-Woman and Skrull Hank Pym is initially written like it was an immediate report on how things at the Raft went down. It certainly doesn't read like it is several days after.

    Oh...and Lee? No one is talking about when she joined the Avengers. When she's having this talk with the Skrull Pym, she hasn't made her decision. I'm trying to dig up my NA issues to see when it was that she was asked. Your angle makes it possible that all the scene needed was something in the box with the location to say "a few days later", in order to make sure it read the way the author intended.

    While I can't speak for anyone else, the major problem with this continuity gaffe (if it, indeed, is one) is that the same writer scripted all the bits. To screw it up under those circumstances where it is so obvious is a pretty big deal. Especially for an event that the author has been giddily sharing how he's seeded bits for it over several years (and, for the record, I *like* that Bendis is giddy about that; it's infectious).

    One more thing: it seems like you are actually desirous of getting dog-piled, Lee. You're taking shots at anyone who would be concerned with the possible mistake, rather than sticking purely to the subject. It's kind of disingenuous to try to poke others with a stick and then set yourself up as a potential victim.

    Remember: even the author of the alleged continuity snafus has said that he can kind of appreciate that those who complain about his work that they've bought are just getting their $2 (or, in this case, $4) worth. He's, also, said that comic books are the best medium to work in...so I think he'd argue against "it's just comic books" to some extent.

  13. I will admit that my comments on Underroos and just comics may have been a little uncalled for, but it's not like we are gonna get Bendis to come over here and tell us and I am too lazy to find his website...

    someone post me a link.

    In the end I was kind of just saying I don't see it or why it's that important... it probably would have been easier to say that. I was in a weird mood when I posted that so who knows... maybe I wanted to start something.

    Now not so much. If it is a gaffe, I've seen bigger and if it's not it would be cool to get a follow up on BMB's answer.

    sorry if I peeved anyone.

  14. In hindsight, my whole desirous/disingenuous/etc came off much more serious/hostile than I meant for it to come off. Sorry about that.

    The Bendis Board is here.

  15. ken b. said:

    "...but it looks more and more to me that Marvel ARE making this up as they go along, because nothing here really reads as planning; rather, it reads as a writer going back to fix mistakes he thought would slide past people but readers caught him."

    I've said exactly the same thing.

    In addition, Skrullvasion sets up the entire Marvel Universe as one that can be altered at any time by simply saying, "Oh, that was a Skrull---it doesn't count." At least it's not another case of, "It's magic. We don't have to explain it."

    Alan Coil


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