Tag: Korvac

The Avengers #169

Avengers_Vol_1_169

A little side mission brings us to the next issue of The Avengers. Captain America, Iron Man, and Black Panther are killing time at Avenger’s Mansion when a crazy guy in a green metal suit arrives looking to get The Avengers to kill him. Because he explicitly says this, The Avengers incapacitate him and knock him unconscious. Turns out that the man is Jason Beere. We learn that like Tony Stark, he is an industrialist. He’s learned two things. One, his family is leaving him. Two, that he only has a few months to live. So he does what any sane person would do and sets up four neutron bombs around the world that are connected to his heartbeat. When his heart stops, the world stops with it. So the three Avengers decide to travel the world in hopes of finding the bombs.

Captain America heads to South America. He quickly discovers the location of the bomb but is attacked by locals. During the battle one of them attempts to shoot a poison dart at Captain America but he forces the dart to hit the local instead. Captain America decides to say the dumbest thing I’ve ever read in comics when he says to himself that he is aware of these bird worshiping locals and he knows that they have a cure for whatever poison they tried to shoot him with. Now I wouldn’t have had a problem with this if there were a little foreshadowing in the story. If they had shown the three going over the files of the locations they were going and Captain America reading about the tribe. But that scene doesn’t happen for one and two, Captain America seems completely surprised that these people arrived out of nowhere. Yes, I can understand that Captain America is a soldier and understands tactics so I could see him studying up before going somewhere. The way it’s presented is horrible. One moment he has no idea who these people are, the next he is an expert and knows the types of weapons they use.

Next up, Black Panther finds himself in the Arctic Circle. A man dressed in leather…finds himself in the coldest place on Earth. Maybe Iron Man was hitting the sauce too hard when he sent people out on their missions. Anyway, Black Panther finds the bomb easy but is attacked by a polar bear. Not only a polar bear, but a big ass polar bear looking to kill him some Black Panther. Black Panther as presented in the comics is a reasonable fighter against wild animals. That I can believe. What I can’t believe is a man dressed in leather in the middle of the Arctic falling through the ice into freezing cold waters with a gigantic wild animal would not die instantly. Not only does he live, he escapes without even getting the sniffles.

Iron Man is last up. He finds himself in Russia where the Soviets think he is there to attack him. They spring a trap on him which he escapes but from there uses diplomacy to tell them what is going on and get their support. Nothing wrong with that mind you but tell me, do you think another country would take the word of a famous super soldier of their enemy that he’s simply there to pick up a bomb that could destroy their civilization? And for the sake of argument, if the Russians were as agreeable as they are presented this issue in regards to allowing Iron Man to do his thing and take away the neutron bomb, why couldn’t he just radio ahead and tell them what was going on? You can’t paint people as your enemy one minute and as totally agreeable nice guys the next. What would have been more appropriate would be an appearance from Black Widow. At this time she was a defector from the Soviet Union but she would still have connections with the right people there and could have given the Soviets a heads up as to what was going on. Granted, there would be no reason to include that because there is no conflict with that scenario but the conflict presented in this story ends up being for no reason anyway so you end up not caring.

They bring anything back only to discover that what they found was a tape recorder telling them that the bomb was in Jason Beere all along. So they freeze him with cryogenics…and do nothing else. Maybe I’m a heartless dick but my next step would have been putting him in a manless rocket and shooting him into the sun. The Avengers essentially freeze the guy, leave him in the freezer, and just wash their hands of the whole affair.

Now having a little break in the Korvac affair was not a bad idea but man, when you get to the end of this issue you just feel stupid. It’s not a bad premise mind you, they just execute it so poorly that any story elements that are actually entertaining lose their value the further you read. Not that they had to have forty pages of back story to send us on the mission but something as simple as a throw away line about each character doing some research on the locations they are going would have been nice. Yes, they mention Jason Beere left some notes but that doesn’t give them info on the locals they are going. It’s especially bad when Captain America, who is supposed to be a noted soldier, just haphazardly goes into battle without appearing to know where he’s at until giving a throwaway line at the end.

Bottom Line:

I don’t mind having a little breather from the Korvac saga but this was the equivalent of sprinting one hundred yards while holding your breath than immediately jumping into a lake. Again, the premise is fine. It is a basic premise that works well in action adventure stories. Take the movie Speed. The story is so simplistic that it almost doesn’t even qualify as a story but a mere premise. A madman plants a bomb on a bus and it’s up to the good guys to defuse the bomb and catch the guy. But the way they execute it in the movie is ingenious. Each challenge the protagonists faces is presented in as logical a way as that world presents it. This story just goes to sabotage itself from the start with silly mistakes that could have easily been fixed. I shake my head at this issue because the premise was good but it was just bad.

The artwork is common for work of this era and that’s not a bad thing. While it’s not classic work by any means, it does well to show the action on the page and showcase the emotions of the characters involved. But it doesn’t matter if you had the Picasso of comic book artists drawing this piece, when you have a story that is as bad as this one, any good the art gives to the story is flushed away. What a waste. This is not a part of the Korvac saga and should just be avoided.

Thor Annual #6

Thor_Annual_Vol_1_6

Of all the major Marvel characters out there Thor would have to be my least favorite. Now I’ve loved what they’ve done with him in a supporting role in The Avengers movies, not his stand alone films. They’ve found a way to temper the thees and thous the comics seem to sprinkle on like a fat person slathers on salad dressing onto a salad when they’re trying to diet. But don’t get me wrong. Saying Thor is my least favorite Marvel character would be like saying McDonald’s makes my least favorite hamburger. It’s still a damn good burger when push comes to shove.

This issue is the start of the Korvac Saga. Korvac is a former human who, thanks to evil alien masters, is grafted into a computer making him a cyborg intent on universal domination. (When you type that out it does sound a little silly but trust me, it’s presented better.) Thor starts the issue off preventing some terrorists on Earth from igniting a nuclear reactor. He succeeds only to be sucked into a vortex that brings him to the 31st Century where he faces off against Korvac who shuttles him off into space presumably to die. There he is discovered by the ORIGINAL Guardians of the Galaxy. From there they discover Korvac’s location and proceed to stop his evil plan of sending our sun into a super nova in order to siphon off the energy.

Thor’s dialogue in this really comes off like someone attempting to sound like a bad Shakespearean actor. It was sometimes difficult to read without having to go over what was said more than once. I get why they chose to have him speak the way he did but it was quite distracting to say the least. However, I do like the fact that Thor has a bit of an innocent naive streak to him. He’s a hero who sees the world in black and white. You’re either good or bad. Sure he’ll give you a chance but once you screw that chance up, guess who gets swatted in the ass with mjonlir?

Korvac was all right as a villain but he suffers from something comic book creators are a little too guilty of. He’s from the 31st Century. He’s part computer and has the brain capacity of infinity. He has tools at his disposal that make our most extreme weapons look like pea shooters. Yet the heroes from modern times always find a way of foiling their evil plans. Not just partly stopping it mind you, completely putting an end to whatever evil machinations the bad guy had planned. I get that this was the late 70’s when this came out (damn I feel old) but even then comics were breaking away from stories that started and resolved in one single issue. You would think that every now and then you would have a time where a bad guy was able to even partially succeed. That would be more realistic and add a little bit more drama to the story and give them further reasons to fight. Sure, this particular story is part one of a twelve part story. But they have Korvac’s plan snuffed out at the last minute and have him escape before anything happens to him. Where is the tension? Where is the consequence of fighting someone you’ve built up as much as you have?

The artwork was good for its time but I did have one issue. Korvac looks like he’s melded with a Xerox machine. Predicting the future of technology is impossible of course. We recently had the anniversary of the day that Marty McFly traveled into the future for to see what happened to his kids. Back to the Future 2 was a brilliant film for so many reasons but tops on that list was that they made no effort to try and make a realistic future. They went all spacey with everything. While yeah, they got a few things right, and gave that little bitch Elijah Wood his first screen role, everything else about the future was a big eff you to what people may have guessed. Because you never know what the future would hold. Hell, ten years ago, who would have thought that tablet computers or smart phones would be around in the ways they are? That was technology strictly for Star Trek: The Next Generation. Dr. Crusher wrote her reports on an iPad. I was never meant to read comic books from one! The fact that the artist tried to draw the future in a way that used images we as the reader could relate to was a failure simply due to the fact that even five years after this issue debuted the art looked dated.

Take the Superman film. Richard Donner and crew made no effort to make Kryptonian technology look like anything we could relate to. Everything was based on crystals. While hippies may think that crystals contain the keys to the universe, they also took a lot more acid than humans should be allowed to take so their opinions don’t count. The Superman film had it right by going wild with what alien technology could be. The 31st Century technology as drawn in this issue was a big failure because while it was trying to emulate what the future could look like, it looked like cheap 70’s office furniture. Besides that, the art was fine. Yes, I spent two paragraphs bitching about one thing but that is one complaint. The rest was fine.

Bottom Line:

The Korvac Saga is the start of a twelve issue story. This is going to be much more reasonable to attempt to tackle than the 98 issue story that was the Secret Invasion. For that, I will be reviewing this story in the suggested reading order that the Marvel Unlimited app recommends. And this was a pretty good way to kick off the story. Think of it like the little action sequence that always starts off a Bond film. While it may not have much to do with the main story, it’s still an exciting piece that cannot be missed. While I wish the artist was a little more inventive when it came to drawing objects from the future as well as wishing the writer made Thor’s dialogue a little easier to read, it’s not bad and tackles the subject of freedom quite well. Freedom is great to have but if you have to sacrifice your freedom or the freedom of others to achieve your goal, are you or anyone else involved in your plan truly free?