Why Current Marvel Retcons are a Good Thing


Recently there has been a major shake up in the comic world of the X-Men. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are no longer mutants. They are indeed “Inhumans!” Everyone relax, this isn’t the first time the parentage of the two infamous brother/sister mutant duo has been changed. Originally the pair were the children of Miss America and the Whizzer. However this was later changed to streamline Marvel canon.

The current change has come from a matter of print mirroring live action. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Quicksilver and his ginger haired sister, Scarlet Witch, are not mutants. They cannot be mutants and probably never will be again. We all know why: FOX owning the movie rights for the X-Men franchise and hence they own the word ‘Mutant’ and so on. So both Marvel Studios and FOX can use the characters just one has the rights to mutants over the other. More than likely the two will indeed be official Inhumans in movie continuity soon enough as there have been hints laid here and there that the twins are more than augmented humans.

The thing is, Marvel wants their print to mirror their Live Action. Which means no X-Men and Fantastic Four and, until recently, that includes Spider-Man (which is another monster of debate altogether).


Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #1
Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #1

This comic retcon has had the fandom up in the arms. The constant attempts by Marvel to distance themselves from properties which they do not have movies too in the comics. This happened earlier this year with the cancellation of the Fantastic Four comic, the death of Wolverine, the Inhumans taking more of a center stage in the Marvel Universe as well as this latest Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch retcon. Also, rumor has it that after Marvel’s 2015 Secret Wars event, the X-Men will be segregated from the rest of the Marvel Universe. Evidently due to the revelation that Terrigen Mist Crystals kill mutants, the X-Men along with every other mutant on earth are going to leave for space and find a new planet. Bare in mind this last part is a simple rumor and fan conjunction based on some off-hand comments made by Axel (Alonso) over at Marvel. However, seven more months will tell.

Now, why is all this a good thing (and yes it is a good thing). I remember the 90s, some of you might and some of you may not. Everywhere I looked it was X-Men and Spider-Man. Cartoons, toys, comics even the promise of movies that far back. Those were the two major Marvel Comics powerhouses. No matter how hard other characters were pushed, Marvel couldn’t get them off the ground. In the 90s FOX had a Marvel Comics animated universe; it was split between three networks at the time but they all were loosely in the same universe because Saban had all the rights. It started with X-Men, then Spider-Man followed by Iron Man and the Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, Silver Surfer and finally the Avengers. Of course the animation had to stop when Marvel filed for bankruptcy and this is why we were devoid of a second season of Silver Surfer. We were even suppose to get a 1940s based Captain America cartoon! However out of seven animated series, stop and ask an average fan what they remember from that time sand you’ll find X-Men and Spider-Man come in top and by right, they were fantastic cartoons (the X-Men more so than Spider-Man).

The Avengers
The Avengers

Did you know, if Marvel Studios had control of the X-Men and Spider-Man film rights we would more than likely not have Iron Man or the Avengers. I know, a world without those movies scarcely bares thinking about but it’s true. The reason Marvel Studios went with Iron Man was because it was all they had to work with. All the papers would refer to Iron Man and the Avengers as B-String characters and if you remember your 90s and early 2000’s they were just that. The comics never sold well, most characters were unknown save for Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. No one outside of comics knew War Machine or Falcon.

What’s my point?

My point is, without the use of the two cash cows, Marvel had to make what they had left work. This means exposure, this means other characters get to take center stage. The Avengers have done quite well without Wolverine & the X-Men or Spider-Man. The Inhumans have become an interesting arc on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The Marvel Universe itself in the comics has fared well without the need to have the X-Men save everyone at the end of every huge blockbuster. We’re seeing Black Panther come to the big screen, Daredevil just had a successful launch with a blockbuster first season of a new live action series. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is showing us characters and aspects of the Marvel Universe on the small screen we would never have seen before.

Fantastic Four
Fantastic Four

Imagine, we can have a chance to see Moon Knight or New Warriors. Hell, next month we’ll see Ant-Man on the big screen. ANT-MAN! Can you believe that? Ten years ago I would have laughed had you told me that. Like Black Panther, we’re going to see Miss Marvel and the Inhumans! It’s an exciting time to be a Marvel fan!

Of course we’ll still have Spider-Man, the biggest hero in the world. Marvel may be vindictive against FOX and alienate the Fantastic Four & X-Men from their comics universe but they aren’t stupid. We’ll always have Spidey, but I digress.

Marvel's Ant-Man
Marvel’s Ant-Man

How is all this possible? Simple, characters like the X-Men, and even Spider-Man to a degree, have taken a backseat in the comics and due to rights and red tape have been nonexistent in the Marvel Studios films. This change of continuity can only be a good thing in the end. Only good things can come of this both for the comics and the movies which Marvel puts out in-house.

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