In college I started to read The Amazing Spider-Man comics from the first issue, I got 250 issues in before I called it quits and jumped ahead to the more modern stuff. I stopped shortly after. Never to return.
I read through the Spider-Gwen comics until there was a crossover with the Miles Morales Spider-Man comics, I was conflicted. Do I stop where I am, put everything on hold to go back and read through another comic book series up until this crossover so I wouldn’t miss any detail? I said no, I just read the previous Spider-Man issue that started the crossover and alternated between crossover issues until I finished (I still have to wait on the new issues next month). I was frustrated because I knew, I knew there were little tidbits and characters that appeared that I knew nothing of.
I started the newest Guardians of the Galaxy series because Kitty Pryde was now a member of the group and I am a fan of Kitty, she’s a cool (Shadow)cat. As I sat there reading issue after issue I got to one with a page that said Civil War II in big, bold, yellow letters. Perfect. Luckily it was just the Guardians doing Guardian things: being a bunch of A-holes. But the following issues involved the Guardians taking a trip down to Earth to help out Captain Marvel during Civil War II. Instead of going back and reading the Civil War II comics up to that point I just charged ahead and issue #12 started with the Guardians aiding Captain Marvel in a scuffle against Tony Stark and company only to then skip the big fight and instead shows us the aftermath of the fight with the Guardians’ ship in pieces making them stranded on Earth. Later on it’s revealed that Star-Lord and Captain Marvel had been hiding the news that Thanos has been captured on Earth, upsetting the other Guardians and causing them to walk away from their leader and the team.
That. That is what I dislike about comic books. I feel that if I want to get the whole story, I have to read other stuff. If these comics weren’t so readily available for me, I probably would not have read them, probably wouldn’t be writing this either. I didn’t need to read Civil War II to keep up with the Guardians on Earth, but I was rather miffed when the big fight was skipped in that issue. I read Civil War II to see the fight, it was nice and the Guardians had some dialogue and scenes that weren’t in their own book, in particular that I think are pretty important for the characters. Namely, the panel of Star-Lord agreeing with Captain Marvel’s actions and Kitty giving a look of discomfort, like she knows she’s on the wrong side.
I have, for so many years, wanted to dig into the X-Men comics but there are too many of them and so many characters that I do and do not care for. Every time I wonder where if I can jump in with something recent, there’s a big fight the X-Men are in whether it’s with the Avengers or the Inhumans. Do I need to read Avengers to know both sides? Will I have to read whatever Inhuman comics there are as well? There’s a new X-Men comic releasing next month titled X-Men Gold. I’m hoping I can pick up the first issue and not have a ton of questions immediately.
Crossovers and big events like Secret Wars and Civil War usually sell well for Marvel, I’m sure there are people who have no problem picking up the mainline issues of a big event and the tie-in comics that go along with it. But I don’t. To me, it’s like putting together a giant puzzle and I am always missing pieces. Wikipedia is a decent alternative but it skips out on character interactions and the imagery is completely up to the person reading the Wikipage.
I love comics and I will continue to read them but it is difficult staying up to date on them when I might have to hop over to another ongoing series due to a crossover and I don’t want part of a story.