I am a fan of Marvel’s “cosmic” characters but I haven’t been following them for some years now (not since 2004, I reckon). I’ve tried to keep my mind in over the years [including Thunderbolts #100 (2006), the Civil War: The Return one-shot (2007) and the five-issue Captain Marvel limited series and The Mighty Avengers #19 (both 2008)], but none of those really seemed to strike my fancy. I don’t know what caused me to pick up the Thanos Imperative: Ignition one-shot a couple of weeks ago, but I had previously read the six-issue “Samaritan” story (Thanos #7-12) by Giffen and Lim (i.e., “someone other than Starlin”), so I figured what the hell.

I know from previous experience that mentioning Jim Starlin’s name is immediately going to polarize the opinions of those reading this, but to them I say to re-read (or read) his last major “cosmic” trilogy for Marvel (Infinity Abyss #1-6, Marvel: The End #1-6 and Thanos #1-6) in a single sitting (as I did just this morning) before rebutting.

Reading Thanos Imperative: Ignition was like opening the floodgates to the past several years’ worth of Marvel’s “cosmic” comics and doing so convinced me that someone other than Starlin can write cosmic Marvel comics. Initially my intention had been to follow just the Thanos Imperative limited series, but after two issues, discussions with Alan and Dagwan, and some research on my own, I decided to backtrack and pick up some of the series I had inadvertently “trade waited.”

I the days to come I will be starting at two different points in the cosmic timeline: at the very beginning with the Annihilation Book 1 tpb (collecting Drax the Detroyer #1-4, Annihilation: Prologue one-shot, and Nova #1-4) as well as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 (collecting issues #1-6). In addition, I will be discussing future issues of Thanos Imperative in this thread as they are released.

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Not mentioning him yesterday was simply an oversight on my part, but when I realized I wasn't familiar with Gabriel, the host of the Uni-power, a quick flip through the Captain Universe tpb you sent (thanks again for that) confirmed I have some backstory to fill in.
It occurs to me I forgot to mention Captain Universe in my treatment of the Starlord mini-series

Don't forget the kitchen sink! I think they have covered just about all the cosmic characters by now, and their offspring.

Just read the last few chapters of Annihilation 1-6. It was fun. Pretty well constructed story. The early warfare chapters worked great. Giffen does the good Leone/Tarantino "tough guys in space". Even the women were tough guys.

I think you need a story where the heroes are up against a definite 'existential threat' for that kind of worship of martiality to be passable. For the writer to be cheering on these 'strong men' in a more civilised context would be verging on fascism.

But that's what these stories are for. To give us an outlet for 'uncivilised urges'. Like good Conan stories. I pretty much enjoyed it. My wife had to ask me what I was chuckling at while I read it. Drax getting his 'pound of flesh' from Thanos was one such moment. It seems he gets better though... As did Super-Skrull.

Still to read Heralds of Galactus. I am wondering how Silver Surfer resigned himself to being Galactus herald again. Perhaps he allowed his individuality to be subsumed to a higher power? Fascism is like that. :-)

I also have Nova vol 4 1 & 2 as well around here somewhere...

You don't go into the plot details with Annihilation: Conquest, but it looks like the early books are just there to mark time until Conquest starts?

Is Bug still only 6 inches tall? Does he have any company?

If I've learned nothing else from this reading project, I can now spell "Annihilation". It took me a while to get it ...
No, I wouldn't say the comics leading into Annihilation Conquest are "marking time," per se. More like positioning pieces on a chessboard before moving them into play. Bug is human size. I'm not quite certain how he got that way and why he's in the "macroverse" in the first place, but I probably have the comic that explains it sitting around in my recent backissue waiting to be read.
As far as I know (not that I'm any kind of expert), the last time Bug appeared before Annihilation was in the Peter David Captain Marvel comic, before the reboot. I just went and flipped through those issues, and at that time he was still in the Microverse with no explanation (or intention) of his coming to the Macroverse as far as I could tell. So it could be that the current status quo is an as-yet untold story.... (I suppose it could've been explained in an issue of Guardians of the Galaxy and I just forgot, but I don't think that's the case.)
I'll definitely be reading that Captain Marvel run at some point in the future. Wasn't Avengers Forever his first appearance? So I've always wondered how he got on after that...

Also the first few issues of PAD's CM read very much like a sequel to his Hulk, which I'm plenty good with.

Maybe after I finish the Micronauts...
Marvel's own online character biography doesn't say why Bug is human-sized now. I also checked the unofficial Marvel wiki but it didn't help, either.
Genis-Vell debuted as Legacy in one of Marvel's Annuals (Silver Surfer??) the year where each had a (usually ill-conceived and unappealing) new hero featured. He was the best of the bunch, but that's not saying much. (Poisin, Battling Bantam, Blood Wraith, etc).

Figserello said:
I'll definitely be reading that Captain Marvel run at some point in the future. Wasn't Avengers Forever his first appearance? So I've always wondered how he got on after that...

Also the first few issues of PAD's CM read very much like a sequel to his Hulk, which I'm plenty good with.

Maybe after I finish the Micronauts...
the year where each had a (usually ill-conceived and unappealing) new hero featured.

The first half of the 90s were hard on us all ...


Jacket over super-suit - check, rolled up sleeves on jacket - check, pointless headwear - check, constipated grimace - check!
You forgot the male ponytail!
Philip Portelli said:
You forgot the male ponytail!

Oops. Missed that. Guess I just thought he had a furry psychic space vampire attached to his spinal column.

With that whole look .... It was never going to end well for Legacy.
Figserello said:
Wasn't Avengers Forever his first appearance?

The character-formerly-known-as-Legacy was re-tooled in Avengers Forever, yes, which lead directly into the PAD Captain Marvel series (including a Wizard "zero issue"). Prior to that, he appeared in many sundry and diverse comics (more than you might think), including a brief solo series.

Figserello said:
Maybe after I finish the Micronauts...

I wasn't going to say anything...
Figserello said:
You might want to go the whole hog and read the Nova Essential...

Okay, I did!

When I was very young I was eager to get in on the ground floor of any new title, but by the late ‘70s/early ‘80s I was more interested in completing runs of long-established titles. I was perfectly content to ignore, for example, She-Hulk (until she joined the Avengers and crossed over into Hulk #282) and Rom (until he crossed over into Hulk #296. So it was with Nova, but it was actually the appearance of the villain Blackout( in Avengers #236-237) which lead me backwards into Nova #19. I like what I read well enough to pick up the entire series as backissues. (That would have been 1983.) I read the entire series through once but I wasn’t impressed enough to read it more than once and traded it away shortly thereafter.

I just finished reading the entire series for the second time ever, though, and I must admit I am more impressed than I was the first time 27 years ago. Nova represents Marv Wolfman’s conscious attempt to imitate the old Marvel heroes of the ‘60s (and the addition of artist Carmine Infantino in issue #15 adds a bit of DC flavor as well). Marv Wolfman’s plots were more structured than Stan Lee’s early efforts, with subplots and characterization throughout. Here’s a brief run-down of the series’ main plots by issue:

1: Origin
2: Powerhouse and Condor
3: Diamond Head
4: Corruptor (guest-starring Thor)
5: Tyrannus (and Marvel bullpen)
6-7: Sphinx; Powerhouse, Condor and Diamond Head
8-9: Megaman
10-11: Sphinx; Powerhouse, Condor and Diamond Head
12: Crossover with Spider-Man
13: Sandman; Crimebuster
14: Sandman
15: Crimebuster; Nick Fury (CI)
16-18: Yellow Claw; Nick Fury
19: Blackout
20: Inner Circle
21: Corruptor
22: Comet; Diamondhead
23: Comet; Diamondhead; Dr. Sun; Sphinx
24: Comet; Diamondhead; Dr. Sun; Sphinx; Powerhouse; Crimebuster
25. All of the above go into space!

It’s obvious he had the entire arc (and beyond!) plotted out in advance from issue #1, but the problem is he took too long to develop it. (I had the same opinion in 1983, but I’ve grown to appreciate the structure more now than I did then.) Issue #20 begins the arc final story which barrels headlong to the series cancellation. Issue #25 really kicks the story into high gear, but by then it was too late. I think Wolfman wanted to establish Nova as a strictly Earth-bound hero before moving the series in a more cosmic direction, but I think the series might have succeed if he had moved the series to the next level around issue #12 or so.

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