Way back in the middle of July I reviewed Civil War #1. Six months and 4 issues later I’ll finally look at Civil War #2-5 after the break. The series was a bit of a mixed bag starting off but unlike many of the Secret Wars series, really finished strong. It is currently ranked 12th in our nearly completed Secret Wars Power Rankings.
Writer Paul Jenkins and artist Jae Lee had a surprise hit with an Inhumans mini-series when the “Marvel Knights” line launched, so there was some anticipation for their follow-up.
That would have been a character they said was a long forgotten Marvel hero that predated the Fantastic Four. They said his name was the Sentry.
I wrote last week in my unofficial “comic book character who died and sometimes got better” weekly column about Drax the Destoryer. I mentioned that Drax died in a place called “the Cancerverse” but didn’t go into great detail on what that was.
You know what? That storyline provides some good fodder for one of the few deaths Marvel Comics just will not reverse: Mar-vell, Kree captain and champion of the living and the original opponent to all things Thanos.
OK, so, Jenny did not like my suggestion from a couple weeks ago that Phantom Lady could have been a good fit for her criteria on Iconic Female Heroes That Are Not Madam Xanadu. That was because of her costume.
Admittedly, Phantom Lady has a terrible costume. No one would argue that one, aside from the occasional pervert, like Jimmy. He’s only a pervert on some occasions.
But with this in mind, I think it’s time to go in the complete opposite direction for this week’s column and go with a somewhat forgotten character that was for a period a knock-off of an established male hero. Let’s talk about the She-Thing.
Marvel Comics has famously mined Norse mythology for a few of its better known superheroes. However, Marvel has also mined Greek myth, using Hercules as a sometime rival, often good friend, of the mighty Thor. And while Wonder Woman has most famously been pitted against the DC version of Ares, the Greek God of War, Marvel hasn’t been shy about using the character either as a foe of his half-brother the Lion of Olympus.
The biggest difference may be Marvel later turned Ares into a good guy. Mostly.
It is not uncommon for a major comics crossover to end in the death of a character. Marvel’s Secret Invasion was no exception. A so-so crossover written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Leinil Francis Yu, the big death at the end was Janet VanDyne, the Wasp, on-again, off-again lover and ex-wife of Hank “1,000 Codenames” Pym.
She’s not currently dead. I’m not sure how she managed to come back, but she’s not dead anymore. So, really, did it matter?
Want to cause a dispute among comics fans? Ask them about big blockbuster crossovers. Most fans claim to hate the dang things, and yet they still shell out good money to read them. Many come out like clockwork, and storylines inbetween seem to be more the calm between storms. Publishers promise big changes. “Nothing will be the same!” they say. Rarely is this ever the case, and many changes are so minor the fans barely notice. Even if resurrection were not a distinct possibility in any case that doesn’t involve removing a tragic backstory, most fans know better than to assume many characters will actually stay dead. Usually its more like, “This character will remain dead until we figure out how to bring them back in at least a somewhat plausible manner.”
In the end, most crossovers don’t do much. DC has Convergence coming this summer, just in time for the 30th anniversary of Crisis on Infinite Earths, probably the only crossover to actually make massive changes that really stuck for the longest time. Marvel is doing a new Secret Wars that is doing…something. Neither publisher is saying anything, and that just stokes the Jimmy Impossibles of the world to a frenzy until someone is left cleaning up an awful mess of drool and disappointment.