I caught up on a couple of Marvel books this week, it it underlines for me that although they've lost their way a bit with their core titles, they are producing a lot of good stuff in some of their outliers.
The first 2 issues of Hulk have been really good, with Jen restarting her law career at a new firm and struggling to deal with the aftermath of CW2 and stress and anxiety issues which are manifesting themselves in the form of her alter ego - it's an interesting take.
Also, Great Lakes Avengers has been really funny. I tried it on a whim and although I don't really know the characters, they've endeared themselves to me very quickly. I don't think it is a book long for this earth, which is a shame because it's genuinely very amusing and the dialogue is great.
So along with Amazing SpiderMan, which has been awesome since around issue 13 or 14 of the new series, we have Moon Knight which still blows my mind every month with its incredible art (the writing is good too, don't worry), we've had Vision which we all know is going down as a classic, Dr Strange is a lot of fun, the two new Iron Man books have started off well, old Man Logan has been solid, and I get the sense that the Al Ewing books would have been great if they weren't constantly taken off piste by the events.
It's hard to understand what the problem is. Taken individually this stuff is all really good, but the line doesn't at all seem to be the sum of its parts. It's as if there's been some loss of identity along the way or something. It's quite bizarre and it's a shame, because they are going to need to do something soon and some of the good books are going to be collateral damage in that shake up when it comes.
I think they just made too much change too quickly, and to be honest a lot of it is lazy; flipping the sex and colour of characters does not equate to diversity - it's just a lazy box ticking excercise and it's really harmed their line.
Also, there's far too many books - which kind of contradicts my point but, and I'm going to concede to a point Robert made a year or more ago - too much choice is not always a good thing. There's far too many comics on the shelves just now. Which leads to a lot of stuff not finding an audience, which leads to early cancellation, which leads to frustration and fatigue in the audience - which is going to drive readers away.
They need to find a way to keep the long term readers happy and to attract the new readers who are not just dipping in for a couple of years before they find a career and get married then disappear again - which I suspect happens a lot with readers who come to comics a bit later in life (not saying everyone - but I do think it's the case that people get a bit of a buzz on for a couple years then disappear again - so they will only equate to short term sales).
It's a hard task ahead.