Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)


The first Marvel Comics I ever read (besides the Transformers ongoing series- which was surprisingly good at times) was Secret Wars. I actually collected every issue. I had never done this before and to this day I have a burning love for that arc. Besides Spider-man, I had never even encountered most of the Marvel characters until then. This was a great introduction to them and their relationships with one another, which I think was played out to great effect (including some interactions between characters who rarely crossed paths...up to that point, anyway).

I get tantalized on the rare (VERY rare) occasions when Marvel harkens back to everything that happened on Battleworld. So of course I was excited when the new Secret Wars started getting teased. Now that I’ve had some time to mull it over, I suspect that this Secret Wars will have little to do with the comic story that I loved as a kid. It seems to me that Marvel is setting the stage for their first real universal reboot. I mean, I suppose there’s a possibility the Beyonder could make an appearance or something like that, like the vehicle of the deus ex machina. But I guess even the title of the series and the planet is enough to help me feel like Marvel hasn’t forgotten about this era of comic books which, in my opinion, is at least the most iconic era for them if not the greatest.

But yeah a reboot, a la Crisis on Infinite Earths. At least, that’s the impression I’m getting here. Maybe I’m going to be very, very wrong, but I think there might be a 52 relaunch kind of thing with every comic going back to issue one when this is all over. Maybe not. Now, I’ve been critical of DC rebooting every five years or so, it seems like, these days. So my opinion on Marvel doing this?

Well frankly, they’ve earned it.

Yeah, I think this. After keeping literally everything they have written in continuity for, let’s say about 75 years or more (well, almost everything), I’m willing to get on board with a reboot. I mean, I’m impressed that they’ve made it this far without doing this kind of thing sooner. Granted, the Ultimate line was kind of a reboot or it was until it evolved into something that, frankly, I haven’t been as impressed with as when it WAS a reboot and there was that whole Onslaught/ Heroes Reborn thing that went on in the nineties but that didn’t exactly stick. They’ve never done anything quite of this magnitude.

If you’re a New Avengers/Illuminati fan, it’s been a good year to read that comic. Things have been very weird and morally ambiguous for the Illuminati as they’ve become embroiled in this strange cosmic mishap where alternate Earths keep colliding with each other, resulting in the destruction of entire universes. The Illuminati, preparing for the worst, have been prepping doomsday weapons to destroy alternate Earths that might appear out of space and time and ‘collide’ with the mainstream Marvel Earth, in order to preserve their Earth. This of course raises all sorts of disturbing questions about how far Tony Stark, Reed Richards and the rest of the Illuminati are willing to go to safeguard their Earth and whether it’s right to do so. It’s all been very VERY out there and cosmic and it’s felt like it’s building towards something.

What it’s building towards seems to be this: Secret wars and a new Battleworld. While I can’t really know what exactly the metaplot of this finale to the Marvel Universe will be, I suspect something in the realm of different mainstream Marvel realities battling for dominance, hoping to emerge as the new face and ultimate destiny of Marvel Earth seems in the making. This actually ends up pitting the various comics mythologies against each other. Most of these comics have had their own version of a future for the Marvel universe. In Thor, Midgard is possibly subject to the ravages of a Ragnarock that will shake the foundation of the worlds its inter-dimensionally connected with. While in X-Men, futures and alternate realities where mutants and Sentinels run amok are what’s on the horizon.

What is tantalizing to me is the idea that Marvel might sort of play all their cards at once, in one grand (albeit, bizarre) story that somehow tries to resolve all of the future-oriented meta-plots of their characters. Ranging from characters as small in scope as Daredevil to characters as grand in scope as Galactus, everyone will be affected. As a kid, it always seemed strange to me that the Marvel universe had so many futures that their characters encountered. Now, it seems like those futures might literally battle one another.

Not that I expect every area of Battleworld to represent the future per se. I really don’t know what to expect and everything I’m saying here is complete conjecture. The standard 616 timeline might be represented among these towering Marvel empires and when it’s all over, we might be back to the normal 616 continuity with a few alternations instead of a full-on reboot. I mean, my speculation might be way off. The Infinity Gauntlet series was originally depicted as "the end" of the Marvel Universe as well. And they most certainly delivered on that promise; it just didn’t stay destroyed and decimated. So maybe this is just more 616 fare.

What’s everyone else think? Sense reboot here or just really tantalizing teaser trailers?

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