Oh, the tangled web that cross-title continuity weaves sometimes. So, the latest issue of Daredevil ends with a cameo from the Superior Spider-Man, which means that the most recent storyline (#18 onwards) presumably takes place after Amazing Spider-Man #700. Which, itself, takes place after the first storyline in Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers (And yet, no mention of evolution bombs altering cities across the world; maybe they get fixed?). And Hickman’s Avengers takes place after the current Avengers Assemble storyline, considering the costumes everyone is wearing (And the Peter Parker Spider-Man). Given that we see Captain America switch from his old costume to his new costume in Avengers #1, however, that storyline clearly happens before the first issue of Uncanny Avengers, which seems to happen in the immediate aftermath of Avengers Vs. X-Men (Assuming that the funeral of Charles Xavier happened relatively close to his death), which means that all of “Avengers World” happens between AVX and Uncanny Avengers…?
To make matters more confusing, Dan Slott has claimed on Twitter that at least part of Age of Ultron takes place before the final issue of Amazing Spider-Man because we see Peter Parker in action, even though Superior Spider-Man actually has a crossover issue with the event in March. I’m willing to believe that Dan was either joking, lying or flat-out wrong about that, just because Age of Ultron is supposed to be status-quo changing from the get-go and, based on what we’ve seen in Daredevil, the Marvel Universe’s status seems very much as quo as it ever is.
Cross-title continuity can be a wonderful thing, building a sense of a world beyond the pages of the comic you’re reading and making the fictional world that little bit more “real” for the fan. And yet, with the pressure from fans for stories to “matter” or “count” in some vague, wide-reaching, sense these days, and so many characters appearing in multiple titles (Remember when Wolverine used to be the sole character we joked about appearing in multiple books a month? Iron Man will soon be regularly appearing in five ongoing series at once, Captain America in four. Hell, Captain Marvel will soon be simultaneously in three, for Pete’s sake), what we’re ending up with are various series that just step on everyone’s toes. We know that Avengers‘ first storyline poses no real threat to the core Avengers, because they’re all fine and unchanged in Uncanny Avengers and their own books; we know that the world isn’t too affected by Ex Nihilo’s evolution bombs, because everything seems just fine and dandy in Daredevil and Amazing Spider-Man, and so on.
I’m not sure what the answer to this problem is. Not caring seems like the most appropriate one (After all, who really believed that anything would happen to the big name character at Marvel, especially when their own books have just been relaunched?), but nonetheless, surely there can be some different approach taken – a minimizing of characters appearing in the same books, perhaps, or a lowering of the stakes in each adventure? – that would cut down on the fact that the dramatic tension in Marvel’s titles (and DC’s too, although I feel as if Marvel is a slightly worse offender right now, but that may just be my own boredom with a lot of the DC output currently coming through) is constantly and consistently being undone by Marvel’s own comic books.