The Thanos Imperative #3

Posted by on October 28th, 2010 at 12:01 AM


©2010 Marvel Characters, Inc..


Marvel. Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, drawn by Miguel Sepulveda, colored by Jay David Ramos, cover by Aleksi Briclot; $3.99

[ update, I edited bits of this to smooth out the writing. ]

A synonym for C-lister. The front-page plot filler-inner offers this: “two time-tossed warriors,” meaning Namorita and Major Victory. So I guess David Spade is a time-tossed warrior.

Super-giant. You can’t say this line unless you talk very fast and sound very serious: “But so far there seems to be nothing more than a stand-off with the super-giant abstracts of our universe and —” Shouldn’t that be “our universe,” italicized? There are bound to be super-giant abstracts in the other one; not having them would be too simple.

The next panel gives us a long shot of the battle in space. The super-giant abstracts, if they are what I think they are, turn out to be quite good. They’re like steam-punk Victorian war machines floating in space; that is, sort of like steam engines and rail cars from long ago, sort of like exhibition halls erected to display the wonders of Manchester industrial production for Her Majesty and Prince Albert. But each of them ends in the massive graven face of a different Marvel superhero. One has the Vision, another has a character I don’t recognize.

There’s also a humongous — a greater-than-humongous — woman made out of light and, I guess, brass. If not made out of these things, she might possibly look and be dressed like a hostess at a cocktail lounge of the 1950s; hard to tell, but that’s how her light mass tends. “Worldmind!” a character says to her, and the woman answers, “Yes, Richard.” Richard presses on: “Can you detect any part of this existential war that —” Explosion. And that’s it, we don’t come back to her. A giant made out of light, and apparently embodying all human consciousness, or something, but for story purposes she functions like the computer on the old Star Trek: just a female voice dispensing exposition (or not) and then getting the hell out of there. I think this illustrates a principle of superhero comics, one with exceptions but still a principle: It doesn’t matter how big the girl is, you can get rid of her without saying why or how.

“Shhh, Rocket!” A little space critter tags along with the flock of heroes. DC has Skeets, of course, but I think this fellow may be the first Marvel critter-mascot. They belong to an earlier tradition than Marvel’s.

Thanos reflects. The following is a cosmic-superhero equivalent of “Worthwhile Canadian Initiative,” a pile-up of dead words identified with a particular and dispiriting brand of discourse.

Thanos: “But even mortal life should have been more resilient. The natural order has been upset here, more profoundly than I ever managed to accomplish in my original reality.”

The cosmic-superhero phrases come down to three: “mortal life,” then “natural order has been upset,” then “original reality.” The second would have scored higher if it had been “natural balance” (best of all, “the balance of things”). But that is still a respectable-size heap of cliches. They’re joined together by heavy-footed words (“resilient,” “profoundly,” “accomplished”) paraded in the slave-march tempo that cosmic beings use (sorry, employ) when they’re explaining the very biggest things, such as what lies behind all the bright lights and explosions.

In other words, this speech is so typical — so big and so typical. Typical and small can be bad enough; big and typical, bombast, is a heavy load to carry.

Legacy of the Beyonder. The Vision: “It also released the Many-Angled Ones into our plane of existence.” Not a good name. It makes you laugh right off; there’s no way around it. “Many-Angled Ones.” Galactus isn’t a silly name unless you stop to think (and you don’t, because to think would be to miss the point).

Maybe the Beyonder was the turning point, when so many cosmic-size entities were being pulled in that the names turned silly.

Allied Council of War. The bunch of heroes, now including the Inhumans, is gathered on the face of something like the moon, and behind them you see Jupiter, possibly, and a brief swash of outer space. That bit there, the swash in the background, that’s OK, but the rest of the art is terrible. It’s like the artist thought he’d blot in where the heroes would be and then someone else would come along and turn the blots into figures. Nobody did and now there they are, stacked at the front of the page, destroying souls through their incompetence.

Anyway. Medusa: “The Kree Stellar Empire has persisted too long to fall to a toxic otherness that injects itself into our reality.” And then Gorgon says, “Well said, my queen” in little letters. His voice is one of those with specially contoured word balloons, and the combination of the quivery outline and the small letters makes it look like he’s sneaking in the comment. He’s talking sotto voce, either being a kiss-ass or else a wise guy doing a mincing little voice under his breath. Either way, good for him.

Ten more pages, with the Destroyer and Gamora popping up. Gamora is the Destroyer’s Spider-Girl, his female version, and on seeing her I’m reminded that I have always liked green-skinned women.

Daily proverb. When is too much not enough? Buy some and find out!

Stan says. Conan faces “The Lurker from The Catacombs” — in Savage Tales #3!

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3 Responses to “The Thanos Imperative #3”

  1. Chris Reilly says:

    Tom, I really love your reviews. You are like a (slightly) more polite me. This creative duo just drives me nuts; every time I hear about a “cosmic” comic book I might be interested I find their names branded on its ass. They commit the worst creator crime–not bad enough to be comical but good enough to be marginal. Yuck.

  2. Tom Crippen says:

    “Tom, I really love your reviews.”

    That makes me very happy, thanks.

    I don’t remember seeing these guys before. Personally, I did find them kind of funny, but yeah, the experience was still more dull than anything. That’s superheroes these days.

  3. […] how gay and how male the comic is, while applauding its successful bottling of bitchiness, and in a review of The Thanos Imperative #3, he discovers that David Spade is actually a time-tossed […]