Friday, October 31, 2014

Essential Captain Marvel, Volume 2

 While nostalgia is becoming more and more of a thing with me as I grow ever older, I find myself dreading reading some of the books that I've got sitting in my endless stacks of unread comics. I have a very special dread that's reserved for Marvel's massive "Essential" books.....They're often key historical books that I feel I must read, but they're usually so wordy and boring that it takes me forever to slog through them...This one was a chore to get through.
 I mainly picked this up because of Jim Starlin's legendary Thanos stories, all of which I've read before, but I was curious to see what else Starlin did with Captain Marvel after he had defeated The Mad Titan.

 Turns out, Starlin departed almost immediately, only contributing one more issue before turning over the reins of the title to an ever-rotating cast of writers and artists.

 Pre-Starlin, there's a few boring issues by Gerry Conway and Marv Wolfman. Then we get into The Thanos Saga, starting with IRON MAN #55. As I said, this is historically important stuff, and Starlin is always readable, so if you buy this book, buy it for the Starlin issues collected here (13 of the 27 issues collected in ESSENTIAL CAPTAIN MARVEL, VOLUME 2 feature Starlin's work), and get ready to skim or skip the remainder of the book. (I suffered through EVERY PAGE....Don't say I never did anything for you, Crabby Readers!)

 After Starlin's Thanos Saga, which seemed a lot smaller-scale than I remember, Steve Englehart takes over, and I absolutely loathe Steve Englehart's writing. Page after page of block after block of text.....I really hate overly-talky books, and this one is a killer.

 Part of the problem that I had with this book, in fact a HUGE part, is that Captain Marvel, and Rick Jones, for that matter, are boring. Mar-Vell is just about the most white-bread superhero ever, right up there with Superman, and his inner monologues and outer dialogues are stultifyingly boring to me.

 There's some truly weird stuff here: Steve Englehart has Captain Marvel nearly killed by The Watcher (THE WATCHER!!!! So much for that vow to only watch, right...?), who reveals that he did it because he was jealous of Mar-Vell's role as the Protector of The Universe. But it's OK, because everyone just forgives him and lets him go right back to watching. Englehart also slipped one past the Comics Code Authority by having Rick Jones trip on "Vitamin C" capsules. (I was expecting some anti-drug message, but no, Englehart just wanted to sneak some drugs into a comic, I guess.) There's also weird dialogue from the '70's aplenty...was it really insulting to call someone a "Hawker" back then....?

 Anyway, this was a pretty bad book, and I'm going to do my best to wipe all the non-Starlin stuff from my mind.