I begin with my traditional spoiler space picture of someone who has nothing to do with the topic at hand:

Alan Hale Sr. & Jr. (To quote Russell Johnson: "At one point, the two men looked almost exactly alike."

Issue #1 covers from the beginning of time to the birth of one James Howlett. Random thoughts:

  1. The art is tolerable, but not great. I would've put a better art team on a book like this, myself.
  2. The storyline is, essentially, Galactus and Franklin Richards sitting around at the end of time, shooting the breeze while waiting for the universe to end. Apparently, Galactus' energies will be the seed to create the next universe, which Franklin will survive into. (Is he going to become the next universe's "Galactus"? Anyway, Franklin asks Galactus to narrate the history of the universe to him, so he'll remeber it all in the next iteration of reality.
  3. The problem with this set-up is that it tends to go all over the place.  One minute they're talking about cosmic stuff, the next minute fairly mundane stuff.  Why would Galactus know or care about Sir Percy of Scandia or the Two-Gun Kid?
  4. Marvel cosmology is littered with "cosmic" characters, the vast majority or whom are not even infinitesimally interesting.
  5. The annotations at the back would be interesting, I suppose, if you were the sort of Hardcore Fanatical Completist who owns copies of every comic Marvel ever published and might therefore be liable to go look them up.

Next Time: Captain America! The Human Torch! Bucky! The Red Skull! Marvel Girl! Iron fist! Doctor Strange! Namora! Mystique?

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A few more notes:  

1)The "1950's Avengers" weren't actually called "Avengers", and were gathered to fight the evil "Atlas Empire". The notes say that the team was called "The G-Men".

2)The 50's Cap and Bucky are said to have become mentally unstable, and been cryogenically frozen, which is about what I remember.

3)The Freedom's Five are noted as existing, and that's about it.  

4)The First Line are mentioned as having existed, and mostly been killed off fighting the Skrulls.

5)I will also note that in the story, the country is repeatedly called "Siancong", but in the notes, it's repeatedly called "Sin-Cong".  That's some bush league copy editing, there.  This is a Marvel Comic, not a promotional piece for Ed's Comics Cafe, and even if I was "Ed", I wouldn't be happy about it.

6)The notes state that the Vietnam War is still an event that took place in the Marvel Universe, and was separate from the Sin-Cong/Siancong War. Sin-Cong is shown on a map as being a tiny country wedged between China and Vietnam, which makes it even less likely that the US fought a "decades-long" war, there. Really, it's a problem resulting from having characters that don't age, but who are tied to specific events in history.  Reading this made me realize how many Marvel characters are Cold War Era characters at heart.

Next Time:  The FF! Professor X! Doctor Doom! Loki! The Vision and the Scarlet Witch! Annihilus!

Oh, and the 50's "Avengers Initiative" consisted of Dum-Dum Dugan, Gabe Jones, Sabretooth, Dominic Fortune, Kraven, Ulysses Bloodstone, Silver Sable, Namora, Powell McTeague and the Blonde Phantom.  

Namora and Bloodstone were also part of a team called the Monster Hunters with Doctor Druid, Makkari, and A Wakandan called Zawadi.

Oh, and no mention of The Twelve, either.  Have any of those characters been used since their series ended?

Marvel's Mystery Men appeared in a one-off mini-series in 2011, and  seem to have been Depression Era anti-hero types.

As for Destiny & Mystique, there have been hints going back to at least the first Handbook of the Marvel Universe that Destiny was actually the same Irene Adler that matched wits with Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia", and Mystique once claimed that she had been a "consulting detective" when she first met Irene, and Sherlock is the character that coined that job title.  While Mystique's power could conceivably allow her to stay young & healthy over the century or so she may have been alive, I don't think any explanation has been given for how Destiny held up so well for her age.



The Baron said:

Oh, and no mention of The Twelve, either.  Have any of those characters been used since their series ended?


They get a mention in the text pages but you have to wonder if that was tacked on after the artist turned in his pages.

I missed that, I'll have to check again.

Detective 445 said:



The Baron said:

Oh, and no mention of The Twelve, either.  Have any of those characters been used since their series ended?


They get a mention in the text pages but you have to wonder if that was tacked on after the artist turned in his pages.

“I had no idea the Mystique and Destiny were supposed to over a hundred years old.”

I had no idea they were lesbian lovers! I always thought of Destiny, Mysique and Rogue as three generations of a “family” who weren’t actually related by blood. (According to the endnotes, the lesbian relationship was hinted at as far back as Marvel Fanfare #40.)

“Also never heard of Eben Stafford,the Man on the Wall, or John Steele”

The endnotes reference Original Sin and Secret Avengers, respectively. Good. Now I know which comics to avoid. Issue #2 also mentions that Nick Fury was a “Man on the Wall” (around the same time as his Avengers team.) Uh, uh. Never happened.

“Didn't realize Blade was supposed to be so old, either.”

First I’ve heard of it, too. Another factoid AFAIAC.

“Looks like the ‘1950's Avengers’ are canon now”

If you’re referring to the “Agents of Atlas,” I have always considered them canon.

“Apparently, Nick Fury had a 50's Avengers Initiative”

Yeah, I read this 2011 Howard Chaykin series. It came out around the same time (and took place in the same time frame) as Neal Adams’ First X-Men. (Wolverine was on both teams.) Avengers: 1959 is mentioned, First X-Men is not.

“Even my voluminous vocabulary cannot express what a lame-arsed continuity implant I believe [Sian-Cong] this to be.”

Really? I kind of like it.

“Still, ‘Siancong War’ sounds like a cheap cop-out.’

That’s one for, two against.

“I do think you lose a bit of grittiness and realism when you use a fictional war though.”

That’s one for, three against.

“What, pray tell, is a ‘decades-long Siancong War’?”

According to the endnotes, it first appeared in Avengers #18. I don’t recall any mention of this war being “decades long.” (I think that was just speculation on Bob’s part.)

“We know James Rhodes and Frank Castle were in Vietnam”

Frank Castle: yes; James Rhodes: no. The Punisher’s origin is too firmly rooted in Viet Nam (although he should be getting a boit long in the tooth by now), but as far as Rhodey (and other) are concerned, the “Siancong” war will always be that one which took place “10 or 15 years ago.”

“…but weren't Ben Grimm and Reed Richards in the European Theater of Operations during their time in service?”

That’s dealt with as a topical reference in the endnotes, particularly Reed’s involvement in the OSS (which wouldn’t have existed by the ‘Siancong’ war or whatever.) It explains that Reed was involved with whatever group served a similar function.

“(it is Mark Waid, right?)”

It is.

“So far it sounds like Waid is trying to write a history that doesn't involve, or involves as little as possible, a sliding scale or permanent time markers for its heroes.”

Correct. The most recent date mentioned in the endnotes is 1961. (That doesn’t have anything to do with the origin of the Fantastic Four; it’s something about Wolverine.)

“And what about Marvel's WWI characters?”

They’re all mentioned.

“Can't wait to see what he'll do with the Space Race and the FF.”

Considering the scope of issue #1, I expected #2 to cover the entire 20th century, but no. (Or maybe it does; things get kind of fuzzy at this point.) Events depicted occur in the same order in which they were originally published, but beyond “1961” there’s no indication of when, exactly, these events occur. #2 takes us right up to the time Donald Blake appears on Earth and just prior to the Fantastic Four’s fateful flight.

“So far, this series is OK, but not nearly what it might have been.”

I have to agree with that assessment.

Now for a few thoughts of my own…

Dr. Druid is “retconned” as a student of the Ancient One, concurrent with Baron Mordo, circa 1920s. This does not jibe with “Dr. Droom’s” origin story (cited in the endnotes) at all.

Namora was much more active in the revised history than she ever was in reality. She was an active member of three teams: the Agents of Atlas (or whatever they’re being called now), the Monster Hunters and Nick Fury’s 1959 group of “Avengers.”

The endnotes not only tell me which comics to avoid, but which to seek out. One of the things I was hoping this series would provide is a better differentiation between the Titanian and the Uranian Eternals. While the story did not do that, the endnotes at least pointed me in the direction of the 2010 mini-series Marvel Boy: Uranian.



Jeff of Earth-J said:

“I do think you lose a bit of grittiness and realism when you use a fictional war though.”

That’s one for, three against.

Haha, I'm ok with it.  But one thing that does kind of annoy me is the prehistoric Avengers team with Odin, Iron Fist, Black Panther etc...  I don't like the idea of the Avengers as this ongoing legacy team.  And having a version at the "dawn of man" is just dumb. Who are they even Avenging? There's no one else around yet. And why would they need a name for their team? Its not like there are other teams around that they need to differentiate themselves from. 

I'm enjoying this series, but overall, it strikes me as somewhat unnecessary.  I get that Marvel wants to iron out all the continuity kinks and Mark Waid is probably the right man for the job.  But once we get down the road from this, I doubt if much of it is going to stick.  Waid gave Hypertime to DC and even though it was pretty clever solution, it never really caught on either.  And usually when someone tries to "fix" things it just opens up a whole new can of worms that needs to be "fixed" again later al la Crisis on Infinite Earths.

No, the comic itself uses the phrase "decades-long". It is not my "speculation".  If I was speculating, I would have said so.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

“What, pray tell, is a ‘decades-long Siancong War’?”

According to the endnotes, it first appeared in Avengers #18. I don’t recall any mention of this war being “decades long.” (I think that was just speculation on Bob’s part.)

OK.

Sorry, that came off crankier than I meant it to.

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