I was going through some old comics when I came across a reprint of the original Galactus story and I wondered -yet again- if some ideas shouldn't be left alone. The idea of knowing what the nullifier did, of learning the Beyonder survived Secret Wars,.. Isn't it better to just let some things be?

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FWIW, that's how Duela Dent debuted back in the 1970's. She had a number of different identities before finally settling on "the Joker's Daughter".

Mark S. Ogilvie said:

Funny in the new character of the Joker's daughter the woman behind the mask has multiple stories by the writer's own design.  Suits her too.  I think it's better to wonder what could drive a young woman to idolize the Joker to much that she'd wear his dead face.  Seeing Harley's origin was different.

Yea. There is a big difference between a crazy girl in the 1970's and a crazy girl today.

Randy Jackson said:

FWIW, that's how Duela Dent debuted back in the 1970's. She had a number of different identities before finally settling on "the Joker's Daughter".

Mark S. Ogilvie said:

Funny in the new character of the Joker's daughter the woman behind the mask has multiple stories by the writer's own design.  Suits her too.  I think it's better to wonder what could drive a young woman to idolize the Joker to much that she'd wear his dead face.  Seeing Harley's origin was different.

Duela first appeared in the Robin story in Batman Family #6. There was a topical element in the story that my fellow Legionnaires who remember it may have missed. The story has to do with the opening of a vault that is expected to contain the last work of a deceased lady mystery novelist, in which she kills off her famous hero. This situation was based on the recent death of Agatha Christie and her final published works. During WWII she had written and saved a Miss Marple novel and a Poirot novel. The Poirot novel was Curtain: Poirot's Last Case, which was published a few months before her January 1976 death. Batman Family #6 came out at the start of April 1976. The Miss Marple novel (which doesn't kill her off) was unpublished at that point and appeared in October.

Hey, Mark. Which “explanation” of the Ultimate Nullifer” are you referring to?

There was a “What If…?” story that “established” that it not only destroyed whatever it was aimed at, but the user, too.

In a recent issue of FF, the female Watcher dropped hints that it was, in reality, some sort of alien IUD.

I always assumed it was a weapon that destroyed all of existence (and I’m pretty sure I saw that explanation in one story or another, too).



Mark S. Ogilvie said:

  I remember an FF story where some superpowerful cosmic guy (I think this was after Reed and Doom died together and it took time to find them) and it had been used on Galactus but Reed brought him back to handle the other bad guy.  Other than that there was the What-If with Korvac where Captain America used it on Galactus and then Korvac used it on that entire universe.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I always assumed it was a weapon that destroyed all of existence (and I’m pretty sure I saw that explanation in one story or another, too).

Something like that happens in Fantastic Four #341, one of Walt Simonson's issues, but I don't remember the full details (I've tried to fill them in from the internet). A Galactus from an alternative universe (?) was destroying all things and the FF provided him with the Ultimate Nullifier so he could destroy himself. When he actived it he created an expanding sphere of white nothing that consumed him and the rest of the time bubble he was occupying. The point I'm unsure of is whether this was supposed to be an alternative universe, or alternative future that got cancelled.

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah... I remeber these stories.

 

In answer to the original question, I think its purpose should be left to the reader's imagination. Otherwise, you get what we have: it's whatever any one writer wants to to be at any given time.

I agree with Jeff, the Ultimate Nullifier is one of those things best left to our imaginations.  However, as a rule, the amount of things that perhaps shouldn't be explained or expanded upon should be very few in number, imo.  A lot of good storytelling has come from taking something and putting a new twist on it.  Maybe Wolverine and the Phantom Stranger's back stories weren't great to some readers - does this mean adding to any character's back story is a bad idea?  Yes, it's important to ensure that a character isn't depicted wildly out of character, but to me, the fewer restrictions placed on creators' ability to be creative, the better.

Maybe Wolverine and the Phantom Stranger's back stories weren't great to some readers - does this mean adding to any character's back story is a bad idea?

John, I don't really disagree in general to what you're saying, but as you say, there should be some exceptions and it seems to me that removing the stranger aspect of the Phantom Stranger, no matter how good the story, intrinsically damages the character.

OK, I'll concede the Stranger is a good exception.  

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