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Monday, November 26, 2007 

A soldier and not a superhero?

The Penn. Express-Times talks about Marvel's bringing Mar-Vell of the Kree back through time-warp effects. That in and of itself is probably okay, but what's implied that the writer of the 5-part miniseries, Brian Reed, wants to do, is ludicrous. First:
In the 1982 graphic novel "The Death of Captain Marvel," the alien Kree soldier Mar-Vel, Captain Marvel, discovers he is dying of cancer. His last days are spent in his home on Saturn's moon Titian surrounded by his friends and loved ones until he finally passes away.

For most comic book fans, that's the only thing they remember about Marvel Comics' first Captain Marvel.
Excuse me? What about the time when he first got stuck in the Negative Zone and with the help of Rick Jones, found that he could do a space-switch to teleport to earth whenever there was evil to vanquish? What about the Kree-Skrull War? What about the friendship developed with Carol Danvers that led to her gaining superpowers during one adventure, leading to her becoming a superheroine? What about when Mar-Vell and Rick finally found how to bring the former back to regular earth without having to cope with a space-switch anymore? And what about the time when Captain Marvel helped the Hulk to travel to K'ai to bury Jarella? Those aren't noteworthy moments in history for Capt. Marvel?
Writer Brian Reed and local artist Lee Weeks are hoping to change all that with the five-issue "Captain Marvel" mini-series that brings back Mar-Vel.

Both Reed and Weeks bring their best to reintroduce a character best known for his death.

During Marvel's Civil War, Tony Stark and Hank Pym built a prison to hold anyone resisting registration in the Negative Zone. The construction in the unstable dimension caused a wrinkle in time that brought Captain Marvel to the present.
Let me take a moment to say UGH! about what Tony and Hank were forced by the writers of that awful crossover to do, and it doesn't matter if any Skrulls took their place.
Soon after his arrival, he learned that he will die of his cancer.

Now stuck in the present and with his knowledge of how and when he is going to die, Captain Marvel is struggling with what to do with his second chance.

The new series quickly establishes Mar-Vel as remorseful with his new knowledge because as a soldier he is looking for a more meaningful death in battle.
Translation: his death by natural causes, or illness, wasn't good enough for these trendy inmates who're now running the asylum. The question now is, are they going to ruin a good graphic novel from 1982 for the sake of their PC-thinking that Mar-Vell must die in battle and not from natural causes? And even if he doesn't die while fighting, are they going to have him feel regretful about it?

There are times when it certainly pays for a protagonist to go down fighting. But this wouldn't be one of them. Most people who read Jim Starlin's older book would agree that it was one of the best character driven stories of the Bronze Age that even successfully managed to tell a superhero story without making action scenes the main focus.

To make matters worse, it sounds as though Reed is trying to steer away from depicting Mar-Vell as a superhero:
In his portrayal of Mar-Vel, Reed shows that Captain Marvel is first and foremost a soldier not a superhero. This portrayal helps to bring the cosmic character down to earth.
Somehow, I doubt it. It sounds more like another attempt to "think outside the box" where it doesn't fit the bill. But that's still nothing compared to the possibility that they may be about to spoil everything for Mar-Vell of the Kree by taking what was a decent ending and making it sound as though it wasn't good enough.

When Capt. Marvel originally passed away in 1982, it wasn't without accomplishing anything. He succeeded in thwarting plenty of villains' sinister plots, and thus, he died with plenty of good deeds recorded. The whole notion that he should consider death while fighting better than death by natural causes is absurd, certainly in this case.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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