Greetings from the Odinson,
Marvel Generations: This is Why We Read Comics
100% – comics like these are the reason why we read comic books in the first place. Comic books have always been a medium that could do truly spectacular things that other mediums cannot do as well. Movies and TV shows can only accomplish what their budget can afford. Cartoons come a little closer, and books leave it up to interpretation. The scope and lengths a comic book can go to are only limited by the creative team’s imagination, and the human imagination is limitless!
Where else can you possibly see a spectacle as awe-inspiring as the events that happen in epics like Crisis on Infinite Earths and The Infinity Gauntlet? There is a single panel in Infinity Gauntlet #5 where two Celestials, 1,000-foot-tall space gods, are flat out whipping dozens of planets at Thanos like weapons. Planets! Even as fantastically mind-blowing as the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War movie is sure to be, and it may come close, but the restraints of budget and the medium itself will prevent it from ever reaching such heights of imagination.
Now, of course, not every issue is a cosmic epic or drama on a universal scale. But, I will tell thee that the opposite end of the spectrum is completely unacceptable. In the last few years, and playing a part in the down turn of our beloved medium, is this trend to turn our action/adventures into primetime television soap operas. I’m not going to point the finger at any certain creators, but just in the last year, I have seen a Spider-Man issue where the entire issue was just characters having a conversation. The only action beat in the entire issue is one single panel of Spider-Man web-swinging. In an issue of Iron Man, there is a 2-page splash page where there are two people sitting on the floor, drawn real small in the bottom right corner of the 2-page splash page, and the entirety of the space for this 2-page splash page is filled in with dialogue balloons. It is absolutely the single worse use of the comic book medium the Odinson has ever seen.
I call these types of issues, issues that seem to be more frequent these days than before, Talking-Head issues. Do I want good story with snappy dialogue. Absolutely. But, why can’t I have both, a well written tale and some over the top super hero fun? Chris Claremont and John Byrne, Marv Wolfman and George Perez, Frank Miller, Walt Simonson, they were all able to tell dramatic operatic tales while still incorporating fantastic feats of action and page-turning heroism.
That’s what I want out my super hero comic books. I want jaw-dropping panels. I want great character interaction. I want snappy dialogue. I want drama. I want action. I want it all. But, most importantly, I want to be entertained. As a fan, if I’m going drop $3.99 for a single issue, and the title of this comic is The Invincible Iron Man, I’m going to be upset if I crack the issue open and it’s nothing but talking-heads from cover to cover.
This brings me to my topic of the week: Marvel’s Generations.
So far, there have only been two issues released and they are about as perfect as comic books can get.
Generations: The Hulks – Amadeus Cho, the Totally Awesome Hulk, suddenly finds himself transported back in time where he comes face-to-face with the Incredible Hulk. Banner Hulk just so happens to be in pitch battle with the U.S. Army. Right off the bat we are given an exciting premise (Hulk of the present meets Hulk of the past), a dramatic beat (how does Cho stop his rampaging friend from hurting the soldiers without hurting his friend?), and a heroic solution to a harrowing situation which I will not spoil here. All this and I haven’t even mentioned the Kaiju that rises out the ocean depths, nor the shocking revelation that by issue’s end will have a profound effect on the character of Amadeus Cho moving forward into the future.
Generations: The Phoenix and Jean Grey – Here, we see the time-displaced teenage Jean Grey from the present come face-to-face with herself in the past, an older Jean Grey empowered by the Phoenix Force. Set in continuity, this fantastic tale takes place during the time when Jean thought her teammates had perished in battle against Magneto (Uncanny X-Men #112-114 and the back-up tale from Classic X-Men #24). The younger Jean is trying to get a better understanding of what the power of the Phoenix is and the older Jean obliges. As entertaining as the first half of this issue is, the Odinson was worried that it was going to turn into just another Talking-Heads Issue, but then I turned the next page and my eyes nearly popped out of my skull – Galactus! All I have to say is the Phoenix vs. Galactus! That alone is worth the price of admission and I haven’t even mentioned the Watcher or young Jean Grey going Dragon Ball Z and using the Spirit Bomb.
Generations: The Phoenix and Jean Grey is, hands down, one of the best single standalone comic book issues the Odinson has read in a very long time. If these Generations 1–Shots are any indication of where Marvel Comics is going in the future then sign me up.
I want to finish this week by pointing out an oddity that I came across recently. It was so ridiculously simple and in my face all along that once I realized it, I could not help but laugh. Have you ever noticed that Kitty Pryde only dates men named Peter? Her first love was fellow X-Man, the mighty Colossus, a.k.a. Piotr “Peter” Rasputin. During her tenure with Excalibur, Kitty was romantically involved with the mystic investigator Peter “Pete” Wisdom. In the Ultimate Universe, Kitty Pryde fell in love with that reality’s Spider-Man, a.k.a. Peter Parker. And, recently, Kitty was romantically involved with and almost married the infamous Star-Lord, a.k.a. Peter Quill.
Now, either this is a happy/lucky accident or a wonderful running gag by the House of Ideas. Either way, the Odinson has just one thing to say about it – BRILLIANT!
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
NOTE: The Odinson’s book is now available for purchase! Five strong women who have all lived through vicious attacks by a demented madman team up to seek out the murderer that haunts a small east Texas town and attempt to end his reign of terror once and for all. To fall down the rabbit hole of this new Thriller/Horror tale, just follow this link – The Survivors: A Glen Haven Tale.