Chris (pokeypenguin) wrote,

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Marvel 1977

I just finished 1977, except for how I'm about to catch up on Star Wars. (I wasn't gonna bother, because, unrelated universe is unrelated, but then I keep seeing people talking about how Marvel would have folded that year except for Star Wars, and it makes me think they must be pretty good EVEN THOUGH the reality is almost certainly that the masses were non-discriminating instead and just excited to see more Star Wars in any form. I am especially weirded out by how the first issue or two pretty much had to have been released before the movie. That is so not today's George Lucas.)

The trick is, what to talk about? Oh, okay, so Jack Kirby! He is gone! I'm so happy, even though the Captain America I've read since then has been lame, it's only been lame in comparison to my memory. So I'm hoping it will get pretty good again, like mid-70's political crisis Cap was. Too soon to tell, but at least I get to be done resenting. (I will say, having looked over more of the "Kirby got screwed over by Marvel" documentation, that seems really very true. I cannot deny (and amn't inclined to try) his facility with creating cool characters, and a really good look for those characters. I just wish nobody had ever told him he could write dialogue. ...or possibly that he could plot.)

Also, he's nearly out of Black Panther, which is also pleasant for me, but I haven't actually seen that happen yet. Goodbye, Mr. Little and your underdressed adversary in the high-stakes world of Collectors! (ie, treasure hunters; the overall plot here has been pretty okay as I think I've said before, sort of an Indiana Jones vibe if Kirby was more into swashbuckling and less into sci-fi, it's just that the characters waver between horrible and insulting and the storyline that it was interrupted for was being told really well both verbally and artistically and it had real social merit.) Man, do I hope that they just pick up the previous storyline right where it left off. That would be amazing.

But what else has been going on? So, okay, Daredevil: Bullseye, despite the terrible costume, is one of the best new villains in I honestly can't remember how long. Skill, panache, bastardry, he has it all; way cool. (Daredevil himself is kind of a sad panda, between constantly not having time to save his girlfriend's father and having just gone bi-monthly. Maybe if people would stop attacking him every five minutes?)

Super-Villain Team-Up: mostly over. Oh well. Less Doom is sad, less Namor is... less sad, though this was the most I've ever liked him.

Marvel Two-in-One: aka Team-Up with the Thing. He's always fun, even if the comic is a little bit thin. And to be fair, the whole year's worth kind of tied together, mostly via an extended vacation to London in which Marvel tried and failed to get me interested in Spider-Woman.

Spider-Man: You know, not much has happened here lately? Which is flabbergasting when you take into account I'm reading three(!) monthly Spider-Man comics. Everyone around Pete is having relationship troubles and he's mostly reacting to those instead of actually developing his own life lately. It's cool and all, but when I'm more interested in what will happen in Harry Osborn's life than Peter Parker's, I think they've gotten a little off-track. PS did you know that there's a CB-themed trucker superhero from Texarkana? YOU DO NOW.

Hulk: In my last post, I talked about most of what I have to say about him. I hope they keep exploring the deep divide between the two thinking characters sharing the same physical space, one at a time. There's something cool in there, I hope.

Defenders: Man are they falling apart without Doctor Strange. I wish I wanted to read about the hoary hosts of Hoggoth, because he's so great in other peoples' stories, but anytime I see him by himself I die inside, and right now he's not in anyone else's stories. Meanwhile, most of the Defenders are off trying to save their sometimes communist teammate (the Red Guardian, one of the first artistically-hypersexualized Marvel women; the mid '70s have very clearly been when that trend took off, and I wonder about the psychology behind it. The Comics Code stamp still appears on every issue, so they must not mind; did their standards change, or had no artists wanted to start, er, emphasizing certain attributes until now?) while the Valkyrie, for no apparent reason, is trying to get enrolled at college and get introduced to '70s swinger culture. She is, as yet, too naive to know that's what's happening, which is probably nice for the men involved. But all the same, it's extremely bizarre, both because she has not had anything superhero to do for like half a year and especially because any "find yourself in college" empowerment is being so severely undercut.

Avengers: They're almost as infighty as they were in the first couple of years! Everyone hates Iron Man, Hank Pym is still a total chump, Thor gets more deus ex machina with every appearance, the Beast has been reduced to a catch-phrase, and the Vision / Scarlet Witch relationship is parked in neutral, which would be fine if they were happy, but it's got more of a detente feeling to it, at best. I think what they really need is to trim back on their numbers by about half and actually characterize whoever is left.

Champions: Very nearly doomed to the dustbin of obscurity. Too bad, as I always want to see more of Black Widow and I assume she'll vanish for a while now too. Plus also, the concept was pretty okay; I even didn't mind Hercules, contrary to my expectations. But their foes are v. lame and Ghost Rider never fit in at all, which frankly is not dissimilar from his relationship witht he rest of the Marvel superhero line, so what did I expect?

X-Men: Dude. They just saved all of reality. Beat that, Kree-Skrull War! But yeah, the only problem I have with the X-Men is how can it possibly still be bi-monthly, and oh yeah, I already read these back in like 2005 when this plan was just starting to turn into reality. Maybe as far as 1979? I read a *lot* of them, for sure.

Iron Man: another sad panda. Everyone hates him too, he lost his company for what is sure to be the first of many times, and he's still not even drinking yet. But man do a *lot* of people know his identity at this point. I thought he made a bold declaration, but it looks like he'll just be admitting to an open secret by the time I get there. At least Jasper Sitwell came back? (Too bad he's part of the everyone hates Iron Man club.)

Fantastic Four: Reed Richards has changed from intergalactic douchebag to useless whiner. Not much else going on with them lately, mainly because Roy Thomas is way too enamoured of the Impossible Man to remember what the comic is named. This is not to say I dislike it, because I don't, but it is to explain why nothing except for Reed's inability to stretch and his slow conversion into emo when emo wasn't coo-... I can't finish that thought with a straight face. Anyway, that's why nothing has happened with these guys in a year. Well, okay, they did fight some witches I guess, and Franklin Richards can speak now.

What If?: Hooray for alternate histories of the Marvel universe. Cool stuff here, though of course sometimes they talk about what if these people we've set in the '40s but only started writing about last year had something different happen? By which we mean, of course there's nowhere near enough backstory built up for that question to be valid yet, but we still want you to buy that comic set in the '40s we started writing last year, so we'll remind you it exists now. Cool? No, not very cool.

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