Secret (Funny Book) Wars

Some people are believe the Marvel Universe is in trouble because this Secret Wars stuff is going to hurt the brand. I'm not one of those people and I'll tell you why. First, I don't think it'll be much of a "reset". Mostly, the reason I've been enjoying Marvel more than DC as a shared universe over the past 3 years is that the MU hasn't stuck to a single house style. It's provided variety, and most importantly, comedy. The New 52 seemed ashamed of the "comic" in "comic book", but if the Marvel Studios movies have proven anything, it's the humor is an important part of the winning formula.

And I don't think that's going to change at Marvel. The Secret Wars even itself is full of humor. With the month's "fifth Wednesday", releases were down, but the Secret Wars bounty has comedy in spades. 1602 Witch Hunter Angela has a snarky sense of humor, in no small part thanks to the introduction of Elizabethan Guardians of the Galaxy. MODOK: Assassin continues its will they/no of course they won't romance between the big killer head and another version of Angela; it's rip-roaring fun. And Deadpool's Secret Wars, an amusing take-down of the original series, which is actually quite smart to catch new readers up. In this issue, Doom aborbs the Beyonder's power for the first time, the inspiration for this whole blamed event. Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies isn't a comedy per se, but it's got a high-concept ridiculousness you can enjoy on that level. Don't worry, it's not all laughs. Thors provides a deadly serious cop drama, and features a good funeral for a friend scene. And then there's (the Last Days of) Black Widow, ending that series with a poignant and telling flashback to her Red Room days. Like I said, it's the variety that's kept me reading.

There'll always be "serious" superhero comics, the grim and gritty ones, the horrific ones, but I think it's important to keep a balance. I, for one, don't see the term "Funny Books" as a pejorative, and I look forward to Howard the Duck, Ms. Marvel, and hopefully plenty of others (Howling Commandos can't be serious, can it?) in October.

Small week, so going to keep it down to my 3 Favorite Moments of the Week (spoilers ahead)...

3. Beta Ray Bill's funeral. Odin delivers a great eulogy (not shown).
2. The secret origin if the Venom symbiote. Brilliant!
1. From this page to the end - a series of moments, sorry for cheating - in which Natasha scorches the earth at the end of a Cuban mission, and how it relates to her "last days" as an Avenger.
I talked up the comedy, then chose mostly dramatic moments? Yes, that's how you make them stand out. When it's wall to wall dismemberment and angst, you don't see these as well. You need the light to bring the darkness into sharp relief.


Jonathan Linneman said...

I really agree on the "house style" thoughts. Geoff Johns' fingerprints were all over the New 52. I tried to pay attention in 2011 to see if the reboot was a reason for me to start following some new series. It wasn't. Pretty soon a friend started reading the Marvel Now! FF series and I realized that Marvel just gets it more right now. It's a shame cuz I've always been a DC guy, and their heroes are so iconic that they could handle some humor and experimentation without damaging the image. It seems like DC needs an excuse like Batman '66 to have fun with their heroes.


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