Marvel Handbook 8/12/2004

Welcome to the Marvel Handbook at the Nexus.

New look and a fresh new start. Those new to us here are about to get the 411 on what this article is.

1. You email me your questions on anything Marvel. This means characters, storylines and more you would like some help remembering or just learning more about.

2. I answer them and Daron my partner in crime also help out where he’s needed. (Um”¦surprise! Daron’s busy getting ready for WizardWorld Chicago, so I’m filling in, but Jim doesn’t know that”¦shhh. –Ben Morse)

As many of you already know we also have fun around here. Including a Marvel Villain tournament that’s happening right now. So stay with us and I’ll show you why Marvel is one of the best comic companies around.


Mordwa emails

Am I still allowed to talk in this column? I don’t talk about Havok anywhere-
Heh.

Yep you’re allowed to talk all you want here. We will not be changing everything just because of the new format.

Hey, just for a change – the ‘Wa is actually going to ask a straight question!
( Well, okay, there’ll be a challenge at the end of it, but for the moment, a straight question… *chuckle*)

Totally curious to see that that Marvel is bringing back the whole “Marvel 2099” world-concept- thingy. Now, it was …erm, quite a few years ago now (I can’t say for sure, but I guess they introduced it in 1999?) – but here’s the thing:

– What WAS the whole 2099 shmeer all about, anyway?

I was a reader back then, and some of the titles weren’t half bad. Good mix of ‘future-ism’, sci-fi and traditional super-funnybook heroism. Spiderman 2099 was a damn fine read, X-Men 2099 had Ron Lim artwork, which I was always a sucker for, Doom 2099 was… interesting. Okay, then there was Ravage 2099, with it’s “let’s bash the reader over the head with the eco-friendly message”, but hey – they can’t *all* be winners. Kidding. (Fun fact: Ravage 2099 was the final original Marvel character created by Stan Lee! Yikes”¦I personally loved the first twenty-five issues of X-Men if only because it really had nothing to do with ripping off the original and just told an interesting story with good characters and lots going on.-Ben)

But as I recall, the central conceit of “2099” was that some sort of cataclysm had wiped out all the heroes, leaving barely a trace behind. My question:
Did they ever resolve exactly whatever had “caused” the 2099 world to become the way it did? Or was it just ignored in the apathy as title after title dropped off due to low sales? What was behind “2099 ver.1.0″?

Funny, I’ve been reading comics the whole time and it wasn’t until this new series was announced that it started to bug me.

And *BOY* has it been bugging me… *grin*

(Interlude)

What bugged me even more was that someone managed to be even *funnier* with my material last week than *I* was. See, I made a crack about Nick Fury and Cable and all these deep-cover-black-ops-super-dooper-spy types who run around in comics like a plague, and how they all missed Sept. 11.

Yes, ha-ha ho hum, and I fully expected someone to bitch about me using tragedy as a joke, or at least return fire”¦

(send all complaints to Eric S – he can YAM ’em, and get mileage for his column. Oh wait; he’s gone now. I guess send it to Chris Hyatte, he lives for Flame Wa- err, no, he’s gone too, isn’t he… Ummn… I’m guessing it’s a lot easier to get a locker there at the 411 executive spa these days, aye…)

But back to the point, DAMMIT – my very Ex girlfriend Emma read my oh-so-humorous-line and immediately spotted the flaw in my logic, pointing out –

“Oh, you expect they can find Bin Ladin, a six foot arab on a dialysis machine, when they still – STILL! can’t catch the Red Skull, and it’s been SIXTY freakin’ YEARS now…”

“Let alone the guy’s got a flame-red skull. Is it too hard to pick THAT up going through airport security?? Oh yeah – those super-spy types are GOOD-!”

Ahem.

Err, “Yes, dear”… (oh wait – I don’t have to say that stuff anymore 🙂

Goddamn I hate being out-funnied by her *sigh*

(End Interlude)

2099 was a way for writers back in the 90s to add more titles and also explore the possible future known as 2099. We never really got a reseolve to it though. The past can still become that future. There’s no real explanation on how it came to be and how to prevent it or why. We know Doom 2099 though may have been connected to Hyperstorm an old Fantastic Four foe. (As far as how it all ended, everything got merged into one book called 2099: World of Tomorrow, where the world got flooded and everybody had to retreat to the Savage Land and lots of characters died and that got cancelled pretty quick. There was a final one shot, which I own, called 2099: Manifest Destiny which is a bizarre tale involving the world getting put back together, the original Captain America coming back and getting the hammer of Thor and saving the world and then passing it on to Miguel O’Hara, the civilian identity of Spider-Man 2099, who became ruler of Earth or something and lived to a really old age”¦and it’s all narrated by Ghost Rider 2099 who takes over cyberspace or something. It was strange. –Ben)

Anyway, to this Week’s Challenge!

Tied into my question up top about Marvel 2099, and of course – OF COURSE! tying in to our ongoing debate over continuity…

(and bear with me; this is a little complex…)

Marvel 2099… less than a century away… ‘Days of Future Past’ – maybe fifty years away… Cable’s future – far in the future, where Apocalypse rules and is opposed by the Askani… (err… is this still canon? Or is ol’ Poxy-Lips still considered “dead”? ).

… It’s one of the staples of the genre – the TIME TRAVEL story. Every writer eventually gets into a time travel story, and if you think about them enough and the paradoxes (paradoxii?) inherent, you can give yourself a Grade-A headache… So most writers just ignore everyone ELSE’s “future” and write their own.

Now Marvel (wisely) give themselves an ‘out’ when it comes to time travel stuff (and you can consider this my “Continuity Hall of Fame” nomination for the week – see how it all ties together, people? *laffin*) – by pointing out that whenever you travel through time you run the risk of shunting off into a parallel dimension. A parallel universe, but perhaps so close to your own that you may not notice the difference. And while you may not change the timeline of the future of your OWN timeline, you can get hints and pointers of what your own future will be similar to if things continue as they are…
(still with me?)

Consider – to use a movie analogy – the Terminator movies. In one, computers ‘just become’ sentient. In the second, AI develops because of people trying to unravel the secrets of a computer chip from the future. In the third, it’s a network, a virus reaching complexity and –

Anyway, three different ways and means, all leading to similar futures. Or futures so similar that the same actors can be used *chuckle*

In one, Sarah Conner lives to be a hero of the Resistance. In another, she dies of leukemia… and the future barely registers the difference. The future IS different, but – what’s the old line – “There is NOTHING so powerful …as an idea whose time has come…”

Bringing it back to Marvel… the Xmen will FORVEVER be fighting the Sentinels to prevent ‘Days of Future Past’, as bigotry can’t be wiped out (sorry) and at some point artificial intelligence WILL be developed… The shape of the sentinels may change, the name may change but beware

“…an idea who’s time has come…”

ANYWHO… All of that was just the foreplay *laffin out loud*

The main point is that, for Marvel, ALL time travel stories are valid, and NONE of them are ‘legally binding’. Compare that to DC’s ‘Hypertime’ concept, which still hasn’t been explained to anyone’s satisfaction…

The REAL challenge is this – okay, assuming that all the “main” futures as put out by Marvel come to pass… anyone want to take a stab at putting together a rough timeline for the future of the Marvel U.?

Rules are-
1) Gotta stick with the “biggies”. I’ll leave it up to the readers to work out what that means (as in ‘no, I can’t think of any way to keep this fair and sensible, and not include every one-issue joke story, either…’)

2) Also – avoid stories that get ret conned out – and I’m specifically thinking of ‘Age of Apocalypse’, because at the end of that story everything is deliberately put back ‘to the way it was’. I think there was a recent Captain Marvel future that fits here too?

3) And – let’s not get into the past. This is hard enough as it is…
Here’s the bare bones. I *know* I’ve left out a lot of stuff, so… help me fill it in!

15 years in the future: The Dreaming Celestial:

From Avengers 290? through to the team disbanding in 299? And issues of Fantastic Four, several years later…

In the future, there exists a ten-year bubble that no time travel device can penetrate. Nebula, granddaughter of Thanos, thinks she knows what’s inside it.

She steals technology from Kang and mind-controls the Avengers to help her breach the bubble…

(yes, it’s not really a ‘future’ as such, but despite the Korvac Saga, despite the Masters of Evil invading the Mansion, THIS is the best Avengers story I ever goddamn read. A real classic, it’s set in the future, and it’s my timeline, so it gets included. So there.)

50 years in the future: Days of Future Past:
Already covered above, though with one curiousity… where are all the humans? Mutants might be in concentration camps, but… what about normal people?
Which brings me to…

Also? 50 years in the future: Hulk – Future Imperfect
Well, Rick Jones is still alive, so it can’t be *too* far into the future. And I can’t remember anything that contradicts that both futures could be happening at the same time. Did the Maestro (an evil alternate future version of the Hulk) unleash the sentinels on mutantkind?

Just asking

100(ish) years in the future: Marvel 2099

1000s of years ahead: the Askani Wars
Scott Summers and Jean Grey travel thousands of years into the future to raise Scott’s son Cable; who’s mother Madeline was a clone of Jean Grey created by Mr Sinister to try and tap into the Phoenix force. Meanwhile, the enemy in the future is Stryfe, a clone of Cable created to try and save him from the techno-organic virus (which derives from aliens. I’m not sure if it was from Warlocks people? or the Phalanx?). Ahem. Who then travelled into the past to unleash the Legacy virus, for ummn, no reason. Just ‘cause he was a dick. Oh, and let’s not forget, there was also the Askani mother in the future, who was Phoenix. No, the OTHER Phoenix, Rachel Summers, Jean and Scott’s alternate daughter. From the future. No, the OTHER future. Days of Future Past. Who then travelled into her past, (our present) for wacky time travel adventures with Excaliber before travelling into the future to this mess. Oh, and Apocalypse is in there somewhere. He’s immortal. When he’s not dead.

I have a headache.

Also 1000s of years ahead: Guardians of the Galaxy

No seriously, people still bitch about the Clone Saga from Spiderman? Did you READ the paragraph above?

Yeesh… I didn’t even mention Scott’s dad, Cable’s grandad – he’s a space pirate. And sleeps with a skunk. Honest.

Millions of years later: Here comes the rain again…

This also falls under the “it’s my idea so I’ll include it if I want to” exemption. Long in the future, after the Sun has turned into a red dwarf and all life has been extinguished from the burnt, barren, lifeless Earth… Thor returns.

Bit of a strange one this; it’s a backstory from a Thor annual, it’s only like 5-6 pages long, has just two characters – Thor and Uatu – and features no dialogue at all… but it’s well worth the effort to track down. In a funny sort of way, it’s the most uplifting story I’ve ever read in comics.

Even when everyone you’ve ever known is long dead, when everything you’ve ever fought for has disappeared…
…life goes on.

The End: thanks for coming, hope you all enjoyed the show. Not even going to try and describe this – read Avengers Forever to see how everything REALLY turns out…
(Hint: the butler did it. Or possibly Kang)
*ahem*

Anyway… that’s the start. I *KNOW* I’ve left off an awful lot of stuff off this. Like, say, Bishop’s XSE (the original, before he came back to the present)?
But – add what you can!

Some additions I would add but can’t pick a good date for.

Bishop/XSE: No longer exist but still counts. Onslaught being destroyed stopped it.

Bishop The Last X-Man: New future time line I believe then X.S.E. Fitroy went there.

Deathlok: There was an alternate time line with Deathlok back in the day but it no longer exist.

Deat’s Head/Deat’s Head II: Future time line we still don’t know fully about.

Earth X/Universe X/Paradise X: Future timeline with the current Marvel heroes.

Ages of Apocalypse: There’s a future there with the X-Men as intergalactic guardians. No longer exist I believe.

There, maybe others readers will add so I’ll stop there.


Steve emails

That Spidey continuity question reminded me of a question I’ve been wondering about

I know due to obvious reasons time is condensed in the comic world, as a years worth of a book’s story line might take up a week, or even a day if thats what the story line called for. However, in ASM #509, I was surprised that they actually listed “June 2004” as the date on the stamp that was on Gwen’s letter (tipping Pete off on that this might not be what it seems to be)

Has the Marvel U ever revealed the year a story line takes place in (not counting 2099 or future storylines)

Its especially funny with a book like Spidey though, which has always seemed to exist in “current culture” in what people wore, pop-culture references, ect and such got constantly updated depending on the year and era that the issue came out in. So despite it being a 12-year span, it feels like 40 years reading the comics!

They have done it before with dates I believe. But the factors are that when you read a book you’re supposed to be reading it as if it was today the issue takes place in. The same went with the past to. So it’s really hard to have a book that time doesn’t go slow.


Jason emails

Hello,

The issue of who isn’t/is a mutant brought back to my memory a storyline that I’m not sure was ever followed up on. In the X-Factor comic, back when it was Cyclops and company and they lived in the ship and Whilce Portacio drew them, Charlotte Jones was allowed entry onto the ship when many of her fellow police officers or not. I think it was implied that maybe she was a mutant, but do you know if this was ever followed up on?

I was amused by the “Cable jumping the shark” discussions, and I think it’s ridiculous, too, that he had a past with Wolverine. Surely they could have come up with some other excuse for the two of them to fight? What’s funnier is that this Cable, a mystery man, someone who seemingly came out of the blue when he stormed into the pages of the New Mutants, knew EVERYONE. In fact, this embarked the X-titles on an era of silliness when there was this core group of characters who all knew each other from the “past” and hated each other.

They were:
Cable
Wolverine
Gambit
GW Bridge
Weapon X/Kane
Sabretooth
Domino
Punisher
Omega Red

These guys ALL knew each other in “the past”, and if two of them met up, you could bet good money that the exchange of dialogue would go something like this:

“So. (Fill in name of character here). Been a while.”

“Yeah, (Fill in name of other character here). Not since that time in (Fill in place name here).”

Then out would come the guns/swords/claws/bo staff and the two characters in question would proceed to beat the snot out of each other. Guaranteed! It became really dumb after awhile…

Yep. You make a good point on this one. All the characters around that time seemed to already know each other even though the reader just met them. Easier somehow but not always for us readers because we’d want to know how they met.


Villain tournament

If you’ve been reading you know how it works. If your new you can email me with who you think will win the battle and why. Also you get to decide all the factors. The big villain tournament is coming folks. Watch out for Thanos and the others in that.

Here’s an update on round 2

East

1 Kingpin (3)
15 Puppet Master (2)

Winner: Kingpin

9 Jigsaw (2)
14 Mad Thinker (3)

Winner: Mad Thinker

10 Leader (3)
13 Mole Man (2)

Winner: Leader

11 Chameleon (2)
12 Baron Strucker (3)

Winner: Baron Strucker

West

1 Taskmaster (5)
11 Silver Samurai

Winner: Taskmaster

2 Deadpool (5)
10 Spiral

Winner: Deadpool

3 Mystique
9 Bullseye (5)

Winner: Bullseye

4 Sabretooth (5)
5 Batroc

Winner: Sabretooth

North

1 Green Goblin (Norman) (5)
9 Fatale

Winner: Green Goblin

2 Dr Octopus (Otto) (3)
7 Controller (2)

Winner: Dr Octopus (Otto)

3 Baron Zemo (3)
6 Sebastian Shaw (2)

Winner: Baron Zemo

4 Red Skull (5)
5 Mysterio

Winner: Red Skull

South

1 Count Nefaria (3)
15 Trapster (2

Winner: Count Nefaria

3 Wizard (3)
8 Abomination (2)

Winner: Wizard

4 Absorbing Man (5)
7 Crimson Dynamo

Winner: Absorbing Man

5 Grey Gargoyle (3)
6 Radioactive Man (2)

Winner: Grey Gargoyle


Now here’s where you vote. Round 3 starts with these match ups.

East

1 Kingpin
14 Mad Thinker

10 Leader
12 Baron Strucker

West

1 Taskmaster
9 Bullseye

2 Deadpool
4 Sabretooth

North

1 Green Goblin (Norman)
4 Red Skull

2 Dr Octopus (Otto)
3 Baron Zemo

South

1 Count Nefaria
5 Grey Gargoyle

3 Wizard
4 Absorbing Man

You decide the outcome. I’ll report the winners next week.


I think that’s it for today. I’ve got more in store next week people so stay tuned. I hope you keep those emails coming.

Daron would you like to say anything? (Hmm”¦I’ll do my best to channel Daron”¦blah blah blah Dark Overlord blah blah blah 144anima etc”¦also, be sure to check out Daron, Chris & John covering WizardWorld Chicago on the newsboard this weekend. –Ben)

I’ll see everyone next week for another edition of the Marvel Handbook. Reporting from the Marvel Universe I’m Jim Trabold. Have a great week.

Please send comments and questions to: Jim Trabold at jamie_trabold@yahoo.com