In an event that is rife with ideas and revisited storylines from the 70’s on up, there is still room for it to be unique. One of those new ideas is that of The Shield. A planet wide border wall that keeps the likes of Marvel Zombies, Ultron and the Annihilation Wave from overruning the more “civil” domains on the rest of Battleworld.
The Shield and the domains it protects the rest of the planet from, are also where anyone that defies God Doom and his rules are cast. Sentenced to either serve for the rest of their days as a defender of The Shield or to fight to stay alive against the horrors on the other side.
This concept has been the backbone of some great series (Siege, Marvel Zombies, Infinity Gauntlet) but also of some that started with great set ups and promise and fell flat (Age of Ultron vs Marvel Zombies, Red Skull).
After the break I’ll look at this weeks biggest movers including Red Skull as well as get Tom and Ryan’s thoughts on the most over and underrated series.
- Red Skull -6. Rank: 34.
Red Skull had an interesting set up. After the Red Skull failed in his quest to defeat and overthrow Doom as ruler of Battleworld (this seems to be a common goal of many of the biggest villains on the planet), he was cast over The Shield. But no one could confirm if he died there, and his image and ideologies were continuing to run rampant over Battleworld in defiance of Doom. As such, Doom tasks a team of former villains and Winter Soldier (because history) to head over The Shield and find proof of the Red Skulls demise.
Sounds interesting no? Well it all falls apart immediately as the team is swarmed by Marvel Zombies and everything, including the series goes downhill from there.
This very much echoes the Age of Ultron vs Marvel Zombies series that had a fantastic set up and twist and then followed it up with horrible execution and a nonsensical ending.
- Civil War +3. Rank: 15.
We’ll look a lot more at Civil War below in the Underatted section. Fair warning…that way be spoilers.
- Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows -3. Rank: 25.
If you’ve read much of anything I’ve written here at Gabbing Geek, you know I am a huge Spider-Man fan. But I just did not like this series. As I’ve said before, maybe it is just because I’m not a parent and can’t relate, but Peter just seems so out of character to me it really rubs me the wrong way. I know that having a family changes you and the way you do things and you will do “anything” for them…but would you really do “anything”?
It’s an ok series, and it was great to see Peter and MJ together again, though the daughter was mostly forgettable. (I’m also a spoiled “Mayday” Parker Spider-Girl/Woman fan, so maybe that subconsciously worked against it as well.)
Tom: Maybe if I knew more about the original Guardians of the Galaxy or first Korvac story, but it read more as a jumbled mess. I don’t miss it now that it’s over. And yeah, it’s pretty low, but how is it higher than 1872?
Jimmy: I’m at a disadvantage as well, having never read the original Korvac saga, nor knowing much about the original Guardians of the Galaxy. And I agree the series has mostly been pretty weak…we are talking about a book I ranked 43/49. I gave it a bit of a bump this week because it is one of the few books to really tie into…well, I don’t know if tie in is the right phrase…but acknowledge the events of the incursions that destroyed the multiverse and the creation of Battleworld by Doom. I’m a bit of a sucker for stories that seem like they are truly part of the event and not just stand alone. I’m anti-Ryan in that way…among other things.
Tom: It does seem that most of the zones are either Spider, Hulk, or X-related, but I put this one as the weakest of the Spider-books. There are a few too many Spiders, and since all of them are visiting from somewhere else, we really haven’t had a chance to explore the zone itself.
Jimmy: This book has disappointed somewhat especially in comparison to the fun that was the recent Spider-Verse event. I don’t have it as the lowest of the Spider-Books, I saved that for Renew Your Vows, which I’m probably in the minority in. I’ve got no problem with the number of Spiders, but I do find the art a tad weak and the story can never seem to grab much traction.
Tom: Maybe it ‘s because I read the original story, but this one was a lot of fun. Peter David threw a massive fake-out on the identity of the Thing seen, mixed some elements from his X-Factor run, and gave the series a fairly appropriate ending. This would be how to end a Hulk mini, not the Planet Hulk…thing.
Jimmy: I’ve really enjoyed this series as well. Having not read either the original Future Imperfect or David’s X-Factor run, I clearly didn’t get everything out of this that I could have. But I do have it ranked pretty high. Currently sitting at 14 and just a smidge below Inhumans: Attilan Rising, Marvel Zombies, Howard The Human, Captain Marvel And The Carol Corps and A-Force. This could easily leapfrog those and I’d be fine with a top 10 ranking.
The end was excellent. And as you mention, it stands out even more in comparison with the very lackluster ending of Planet Hulk, which was otherwise a fantastic series.
E If For Extinction
Tom: Actually, it’s not really over or underrated at all. It’s about right where it should be. I just wanted to take a moment to say that the series did more or less accomplish the look of Grant Morrison’s X-Men run. The art does look a bit like Frank Quietly’s, and they’ve hit all of Morrison’s major plot points from his run (Cyclops and Emma Frost, the Phoenix Egg, Cassandra Nova, Sublime, Magneto and his “new” X-Men, the U-Men, etc.), but its all been condensed into a crazy mix. On the other hand, it does seem to make more sense reading it issue to issue than Morrison’s entire run did.
Jimmy: This is one of those books that I’ve felt a bit lost. The story is relatively straight forward, but I felt like I was missing something having not read much of Morrison’s run.
I actually find it a bit amusing that the majority of the X-Men books have been the biggest disappointments, when the annual X-Men crossover event was such a huge thing that dominated year after year back in the day.
Our last entry in this article contains HUGE CIVIL WAR SPOILERS, so read no further if you want to be surprised by issue #4.
Ryan: Civil War has been a fascinating series–it had promise but also a lot of problems. How was this war still raging? How were these arbitrary limits imposed to keep the war going: lack of expansion and trade embargoes. That didn’t feel very Battleworld-y, it sounds more like the opening crawl to The Phantom Menace. But then issue 4 changed all that and it deserves to be placed in the top 5. Even if just for a week. Because issue 4 revealed that this isn’t really the Civil War zone–IT’S THE SECRET INVASION ZONE! Holy crap. Only when it was revealed that Skrulls have caused the Civil War to continue did it all make sense. Well, better sense in that “Because comics” has now been replaced by “Because Skrulls” as a reason for everything. But it also helps explain why there wasn’t a Secret Invasion zone when every other major event had one. Brilliant twist, brilliant move, and now I’m really, really interested to see how this series ends. So happy I stuck with it for that twist.
Jimmy: First, we have very different ideas about how the rankings should be done. As a whole, Civil War is not a top five book, even if the last issue was great. Much like I didn’t think Squadron Sinister should jump to the top spot “just for a week”, Civil War moved up, but I still hold the weak parts of the first three issues against it.
That said, issue 4 twist was fantastic. And did answer the question about why a huge, popular event like Secret Invasion didn’t have a zone when other things, like say Korvac Saga, did. And I’m just being nitpicky but it is not that it isn’t a Civil War zone and it is a Secret Invasion zone…it is both. And probably makes more sense from a conflict and character behavior standpoint than the original Civil War. And you have to wonder with the behaviors of some of the other characters on both sides of The Divide if there are more Skrulls yet to be revealed?
And last week I said, “It should probably be ahead of last weeks favorite whipping boy Captain Britain, but I don’t know if I would put it in the same air as the likes of Future Imperfect and Infinity Gauntlet. But truth be told, a stellar fourth issue could move it up there.” I almost feel prophetic because it delivered just that. And how!
I do have it ranked neck and neck with Future Imperfect, so like I said above, depending on how issue 5 shakes out, I can see Civil War jumping into the top ten.