Pictured: not the kind of crossover I’m talking about.
I’ve been binge-watching Netflix, since that’s what you do when you’re sick. I happened upon and went through all the episodes of Daredevil. I enjoyed it. It was a darker, grittier kind of superhero series with real character development that focused on Matt Murdock and those around him and the issues one would face trying to live such a schizophrenic life. I even liked how they introduced The Punisher. I went and watched that spinoff (one season), and I liked how it dealt with pain from loss, the real struggle of ex-combat veterans, building relationships.
Now here comes the hard part. I see that Netflix has a crossover called The Defenders, and I am skeptical. Comic book makers love super hero crossovers, but I hate them because:
- They cram several superheroes into the same universe, or even same city. They dilute the very idea that superheroes are exceptional and have a unique struggle trying to relate to the world around them and find their place in it. The X-men series is the most obviously egregious in this respect. Not only are the main characters not unique, people with super powers are commonplace such that you have a significant segment of the population with them. Less so, but still odious, are things like the Avengers, where super powers are everywhere, and all the superheroes are surrounded by their own kind. The viewer becomes inured to it all.
- The stories are as shallow as a puddle after a Las Vegas rain shower. There is no time for real character development because we have to make sure that every super hero has time to showcase his or her super power. And fight scenes, we have to have lots of those. In the end, all those “exceptional” people’s stories get cast aside, and everybody appears two-dimentional. Captain America: Civil War was a prime example of this. Just look at how Perter Parker’s story (a tortured and tragic life for a kid) got completely washed away, and he became a glib, clueless teenager.
- The storytelling is usually really lazy and formulaic. It becomes mostly fight scenes against a super-baddy, strung together with our heroes licking their wounds and maybe a few intra-squad squabbles between super egos.
Now, we all know that comic book writers are historically lazy storytellers, and crossovers are an easy and lucrative way to get more mileage out of their characters. Marvel, DC, they all do it. What I would like to see is each hero live in his or her own universe, where he has to deal with the isolation, and his relationship to society. Why do we have to have this BS where every character’s story has to eventually intersect with every other’s plot line? I just read about this new hero Jessica Jones. Sounded interesting, but apparently, she went to high school with Peter Parker. Why? I’ll tell you why, so they can do easy crossovers.
Anyway, that’s my rant for today. What’s your favorite super hero character?
Picture of a Genesis that appears often in Daredevil for your time.