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January 16 2006

More on the best Joss Whedon anecdote in ages. A couple of days ago, Joe Quesada relayed the tale of how Joss helped choose the ending of Marvel's big summer event 'Civil War'. Anyhow Mark Millar (Ultimates, Wolverine, Wanted, Saviour) tells the tale and more in his own inimitable style.

I always like to read what Mark Millar has to say. His column in SFX is very funny and he always seems to tell it like it is.
Nice to hear praise for Joss from another fantastic writer.
The second link isn't working, think it was supposed to be this.

Sounds good.

It would be an honor to shake Joss' hand, sneezed in or not. Actually, that may be where I'd draw the line.

[ edited by Ghost Spike on 2006-01-16 19:15 ]
Okay, now I'm sorta glad I didn't get to shake Joss's hand in London...
What did i say in the other thread on this topic? Did i not say that Marvel Civil War was going to be THE event of the decade? Hell, THE event of Marvel history!

I kid you not. If any of you had ever considered getting back into comics, or even giving comics a try for the first time, there has never been a better reason.

You would think i was paid to hype Marvel. I'm not, HONEST! :)
Yep, Vampire With A Gun, I'm a huge comics fan that had to stop buying regularly because of financial issues, and I'm finally getting back into the game with this stuff...

Sounds friggin' awesome...
Could someone help me with my obtuseness? It sounds like Millar's comment is saying that Joss showed up, said remember that time Lex Luthor was hired to find a way to kill Swamp Thing? That'll give you your ending.

This statement by Joss obviously wowed Millar and Joe Quesada. It just made me go "huh"? What am I missing? Did I misinterpret what Millar or Joss was getting at? Or does my ignorance of how Luthor proposed killing Swamp Thing prevent me from being wowed? Or is it both?

Thanks in advance.
I kid you not. If any of you had ever considered getting back into comics, or even giving comics a try for the first time, there has never been a better reason.
As someone who regularly buys comics, this is another excuse to avoid most Marvel series for another year or so. Most big events are just horrible written and need to you to buy a huge number of comics in order to understand the story. Even Whedon helping out with the ending is not enough for me to buy a single issue.
Could someone help me with my obtuseness? It sounds like Millar's comment is saying that Joss showed up, said remember that time Lex Luthor was hired to find a way to kill Swamp Thing? That'll give you your ending.

This statement by Joss obviously wowed Millar and Joe Quesada. It just made me go "huh"? What am I missing? Did I misinterpret what Millar or Joss was getting at? Or does my ignorance of how Luthor proposed killing Swamp Thing prevent me from being wowed? Or is it both?

I'm pretty sure Millar was comparing Joss to Luthor and the other writers to the scientists in Swamp Thing. i.e. Joss came in and fixed the problem they were having like the genius that he is :)
Yeah that's the distinct impression I got from what he said as well.
Someone has to tell Joss that they are now training children to sneeze into their elbow. Fewer glistening palms that way.
Since Joss is a fan of Asian ways, he might consider a polite head bow and avoid the germ thing altogether. Others can offer him a deep kowtow.
Matt_Fabb, if you have read anything from Marvel over the last few months, specifically the Decimation storyline and fall out, you will know that things are changing.

Don't get me wrong, this is a line wide event and will (i hope) reach every single title Marvel puts out, but at the same time each title will tell it's own story as part of the larger event. For the most part to enjoy the event you will only need to read the mini series and whatever books you normally read anyway.

Another thing to remember, this isn't a self contained story that has a beginning and end. The central kick off storyline does have a conclusion (which is what Joss was so important in structuring) but the effects will ensure that the Marvel Universe cannot simply revert to it's old status quo.

You will see what i mean, if you give it a chance. Don't let past events colour your opinion of this one, because it is very different.
I've grown a bit tired with Millar's writing recently (except for the ever-sublime The Ultimates) but I have to admit that Civil War has me pretty psyched.

Don't forget it will have very pretty pictures by Steve McNiven, too!
I'm still getting a bit overwhelmed by this 'huge change in the marvelverse' business. I haven't gotten that House of M TPB yet (but I'm planning to), but this was followed by Decimation (is this another single arc thing?) and now a whole new follow-up/big thing? It's confusing the crap out of me (mostly because I don't know where to get the info I need) ;-).

Is there a link to a webpage that explains this stuff and shows how to pick up the comics I'd need (preferably TPB's and not single issues) to read the whole cross-over?

And I still love this Joss anecdote. It is the best in ages :-)
I'm so out of the loopy with these Marvel events. I'm still back here going, "House of M-wha? Where'd all the mutants go?"
OK, that anecdote was the best JW one in ages. It had me giggling like, well, a schoolgirl.

(that and the image of Garth Ennis practically orgasming over Sarah Silverman -- I mean, that image is just so strange.)
"Where'd all the mutants go?"

My thoughts exactly come the end of each workday.
Okay, for GVH (and any other Whedonesquers who care to know) here are the basics of House of M/Decimation/Civil War, and i do mean basics because it's too big to fully summarise here.

A while back, Wanda Maximoff (aka the Scarlet Witch) had a mental breakdown brought on by the emotional stress of her life and went just a tad loopy. Her mutant ability to effect reality began to grow out of control, altering reality at her unconscious command. She eventually turned on the Avengers, causing the deaths of a number of them, including Ant-Man (Scott Lang, not Hank Pym), Jack of Hearts, the Vision and Hawkeye. Though eventually defeated, she did bring about the end of the Avengers as they had been known. All this can be seen in the final issues of The Avengers (issues 500 - 503, a story called Avengers Disassembled) and the teams reformation can be seen in the pages of the current New Avengers series.

She was taken to Genosha by her father, Magneto, in order to try and save her mind from total collapse. Charles Xavier, also a resident of Genosha at the time, attempted to help restore her sanity but became more and more convinced that Wanda was not only too far gone but also that she was a danger to the world. If she lost total control of her power there was no limit to what she could do. Xavier feared that that would be the final straw in human/mutant relations, forever branding mutantkind a threat. Unknown to Magneto, he began to believe the best and safest thing to do would be to end the life of the Scarlet Witch. This is mostly seen in the final few issues of the second volume of Excalibur (mostly issues 13 and 14).

This brings us to the House of M miniseries. Xavier calls a meeting of the current X-Men and Avengers past and present, as well as a number of other Marvel big guns, to determine the best course of action regarding Wanda. During the debate of whether to kill her or not, Wanda's brother, the mutant speedster Quicksilver, overhears the conversations and thinking the decision made rushes to Genosha in order to save Wanda. This leads to him prompting her to use her power in a way she has never done before. He manipulates her into changing the reality of the entire world to one where mutants are the dominant species and his family rule. The reality of the House of M. The Marvel Universe remains this way for several months worth of comic books, although due to not all Marvel's titles currently being set at the exact same time, not all were effected, at least not that we saw. Certain titles, such as the core X-Men books were effected for several months, others like Captain America and Thunderbolts were changed for only one issue, whilst still others like Runaways, New Avengers and the Spider-Man titles were seemingly uneffected, at least until after the event. Several miniseries were created in order to feature the characters whose own regular monthly titles were not currently at the chronological point in time of House of M, such as House of M: Spider-Man, House of M: Iron Man and House of M: Fantastic Four. It should be noted though that to understand House of M itself you only need read the actual miniseries (House of M issues 1 - 8). All the other stories and titles i mentioned are extra and only important to those who like those characters anyway.

As you might have guessed, eventually things were reverted to normal. Wolverine (due to his mind being a mess of manipulations and false memories anyway) was never effected by Wanda's changes and remembered the world as it should be. He set about, with the help of a mysterious young girl called Layla Miller (who also knew that they were living in a false reality had the power to awaken the truth in anyone she came into contact with), gathering together a group of friends and heroes who could help him get to Wanda and force her to put things straight again. Eventually they succeed but at a high price. Wanda does put the world back as it once was but with one major alteration. No more mutants.

She believed that the world was such a terrible place due to the race war between humans and mutants and so, in a final use of her power, changes the world back but in the process attempts to turn all mutants back into regular humans. For whatever reason she is not entirely successful as some remain but the mutant population goes from numbering in the millions to just a few hundred. For a better idea of the aftermath you need to read Decimation: House of M - The Day After.

This, naturally, brings us to Decimation. This isn't a series so much as the overall after effects of House of M as seen in all the X-Men books. All the regular X-books are now dealing with what has happened, as well as a number of new titles that begin as a result. New Excalibur and X-Factor are both new teams that were created in the wake of House of M. Deadly Genesis is a mini series that also is tightly connected to what has happened to the mutant population, as well as having ties to a dark secret from Xavier's past.

Decimation begins in Uncanny X-Men #466, X-Men #177, New X-Men #20, Wolverine #36, New Excalibur #1, X-Factor #1, Son of M #1 (mini series), Deadly Genesis #1 (mini series) and Generation M #1 (mini series). The after effects continue in such titles as X-Men: The 198 and other mini series.

After that there is a little down time whilst things start to settle into the new status quo. However, it has not gone unnoticed to those in power in the U.S. that the mutant problem has just been suddenly (and inexplicably, as most people don't even remember House of M happened in the first place) made all that much less of a threat and mutants are now a containable issue. The Sentinel program is re-established (although in a whole new guise) and Xaviers becomes a refuge for all those still with the mutant gene.

Ultimately, it is these facts that lead to the upcoming Civil War. I don't want to reveal too much about the details of that particular story for fear of spoiling it for anyone waiting for the series but needless to say, everything from Avengers Disassembled to House of M and Decimation has led the U.S. Government to make some hard choices about the superhuman community of the country and this is where the problems all begin.

There! Believe it or not, them's just the basics! Hope this has been helpful to anyone wanting a quick catch up of the main points and a few pointers to the important issues of the comics that you might want to read, which i've hopefully highlighted where appropriate. If anyone wants to know anything i've missed out or just more information, my e-mail is in my profile. Feel free to ask!

Also, sorry for any typos or spelling mistakes. That was a lot to check through so i've no doubt missed a few. :)

EDIT: Can't believe that i went into all that detail and didn't mention that the whole Civil War thing will centre around a very powerful group of superhumans, known as the Illuminati. The group includes Reed Richards, Charles Xavier, Stephen Strange, Namor, Black Bolt and Iron Man and has been in existence, although unknown to the rest of the MU, for a very long time, playing a part in some of the larger events in MU history. Civil War will not only effect this group but will split them right down the middle and force former friends and allies to choose sides against one another.

[ edited by Vampire With A Gun on 2006-01-17 04:14 ]
Matt_Fabb, if you have read anything from Marvel over the last few months, specifically the Decimation storyline and fall out, you will know that things are changing.
Personally, I don't really care much about change in the Marvel Universe, as it all sounds like just a marketing gimmick rather than trying to make good comics. I'm more interested in a good creative team, doing something interesting and different on a single title rather than another huge crossover. Whedon's Astonishing X-men and Peter Milligan's and Mike Allred's X-Statix are the last new comics that I've read from Marvel. Meawwhile Neil Gaiman doing the Externals sounds cool, Warren Ellis messing around with Marvel's old New Universe also sounds interesting, but I'll pass on this whole Civil War crossover.
Well, like i said in another thread, obviously anything that Marvel do is a marketing gimmick. They are a business and want to make money so they come up with ideas that they think will sell the most comics. Can't say i will ever blame them for that.

Civil War is most certainly a marketing gimmick but what it also is is an amazingly fantastic idea for a story that will not only involve great creative talent but also be done in such a way that you can either enjoy the whole crossover or simply stick to your own choice of titles and see how it effects the heroes in those particular books. The important thing is that this will allow everyone to enjoy it on whatever level they choose.

Do yourself a favour and don't seperate the concepts of "marketing gimmick" and "good comics" because sometimes the hype of marketing is well deserved.
Matt_Fabb: I understand the wariness of big crossovers, but there is some GREAT stuff from Marvel right now (and I do love the stuff you mentioned too). Ed Bruebreaker's Captain America, Dan Slott's She-Hulk (and now The Thing), Brian K. Vaughn's Runaways and Alan Heinberg's Young Avengers are all wonderful books well worth checking out.
Excellent post Vampire With a Gun, I feel like I know more stuff ;). I'm normally a bigger fan of the 'other company' and usually only buy TPBs anyway but given what folk on here are saying i'm actually tempted to get some of these to have a look (not for a while tho', still got the latest Y:TLM trade, Global Frequency Vol 2 and Astonishing X-Men Vol 2 to get through among others).
Thanks, Vampire With A Gun, for all that info! I tried not to read it too closely, as I'd like to read the story, so I appreciate your issues list a lot!

The Avengers 500-503
Excalibur 13-14
House of M miniseries (1-8)
Decimation: House of M - The Day After (is this a miniseries?)

I'm very new to Marvel, but since Joss started his run (and because I enjoyed the films a lot, too) I've had plans for reading some backstory first - I learned from Buffy that it's much more satiffying to get the stories in the order they were meant to be told.

I did some homework (and wrote my findings here:,
and started right at the beginning (which may have been a mistake) with the Masterworks X-men volumes (the first of the old ones and 1-5 of the new "uncanny"), and I've tried to pick up the next albums individually up to around issue 200. I also have Kitty Pryde and Wolverine, the first TPB of the old Excalibur, Mekanix and Shadow and Flame, as I figured Kitty was a key person in the Astonishing X-men as well as being a major inspiration for Buffy.

Could you help me out with the timeline - I think it's Kitty Pryde and Wolverine -> Excalibur -> Mekanix, but when is Shadow and Flame as compared to Astonishing? Where does House of M fit in? And have I missed some must-have backstory to Astonishing, or just some must have X-men stories? I understand that the sheer volume of X-men stories makes this question hard to answer, but since you're a fan of Joss I know you have impeccable taste and with your knowledge of the X-men I hope you could give me a few pointers! Thanks a lot, it's really a difficult thing to get into for a complete newbie :-)
Sasja, firstly, Decimation: House of M - The Day After is a oneshot issue.

You are correct with the order of Kitty Pryde related issues you stated already. I haven't had chance to read Shadow and Flame yet but i'm led to believe it occurs after Kitty joins the Astonishing team, so fairly recently (don't quote me on that though, lol). House of M definately takes place between the two volumes of Astonishing X-Men.

It would be impossible to give you examples of must-have backstory for the X-Men, simply for the reasons you stated. The best idea would be for me to point you to UncannyX-Men.Net. It is the best X-Men related resource on the net and should give you an idea of what you are asking for.

Getting back to the thread topic, apparently Brian Michael Bendis also enjoys the touch of Joss Whedon ... or touching Joss Whedon ... something like that.
Thanks for the help! I already know about, but I think it's more like a resource for checking a fact here and there - not so much for the complete newcomer. It's like trying to learn a new language with a dictionary :-)
Hehe, you are probably right. I sometimes forget that the Marvel Universe is second nature to me. I know it's history as well as i know that of the real world and forget how difficult it must be for somebody coming into it with little or no previous knowledge.

UncannyX-Men.Net has quite a few features and articles that spotlight various major storylines and character profiles, which is why i thought it might be a good place for you to start. They also have notes at the bottom of each issue summary that reference previous issues where you can read the back story of the events of that comic. It's still a very large amount of information to sort through but that is usually my first choice of website whenever i need to find out a forgotten detail from the X-Men archives.
Okay, for GVH (and any other Whedonesquers who care to know) here are the basics of House of M/Decimation/Civil War, and i do mean basics because it's too big to fully summarise here.

Wow, thanks for that Vampire With A Gun! I'll be saving and printing that post and I'll use it to get a handle on this whole crossover. Guess I'll just have to start ordering single issues and the like for this, since it seems there won't be a couple of comprehensive TPB's (a missed chance, I'd say: collecting huge crossovers and the like in a couple of TPBs would surely help sales and at the very least be less confusing for newcomers or people just now returning to the Marvel 'verse). But this certainly sounds like something I'd love to read.

I used to be addicted to the whole Marvel 'verse and stopped reading right after the Onslaught saga ended (it was just getting too expensive), so this seems like a perfect time to start reading more than just JMS' Spider-Man, Joss' Astonishing X-Men and the occiasional TPB again.
Sorry, GVH, i had meant to say that all of the major issues and storylines from Avengers Disassembled, House of M and Decimation are (or soon will be) available in TPB form. Just check out (or whichever Amazon is best for you) to see what is already available. They have a huge selection of all of Marvel's TPBs listed.
I'm quickly running out of space to store comic books and just short of buying a house there isn't a lot I can do about that. Sure I suppose I can sell them, but the ones I'd want to get rid of probably aren't worth anything beyond their cover price.

Now I'm not big into these huge story crossover things to begin with, so for me to justify adding that many extra comics to my stash it has to be amazing, and even with Whedon's involvement I'm not entirely sure it will be. The House of M may have been much lauded but after having read most of it I wished I hadn't bothered.

How long before we get digital comics in a nice easy to read format? That might sway my decision.
Wow, Vampire With A Gun. Thank you very much.

As I stated before, I am a huge comic book fan who had to stop buying regularly due to financial issues, but now that I want back in the game, I need a good jumping-off point.

You've just given that to me. :-D
Thanks for that information, Vampire With A Gun. Like GVH, I will print out the column and take it to my local comic store, who just advised me yesterday that I've asked for so many things lately (all Joss or JMS-related) that I now have my own 'box' to check instead of them phoning me all the time!!

[ edited by samatwitch on 2006-01-17 22:58 ]
Not a problem, guys. Always happy to help get people back on the Marvel bandwagon, lol.

As i said before, anyone who wants any further information, please feel free to get in touch via e-mail. If i can help i will. :)

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