Monday, March 29, 2010

Secret Origins - the second try

I wrote something really clever.


It was this scathing response to the fact that most secret origins are completely lame and absolutely lost in a history that doesn't reflect the modernity of comic readers at present.  I also did an admirable job of pointing out that the origins used by DC to create their biggest stars felt more like modern mythology than the origins used by Marvel, which for the most part were terrible.

And then I pressed the wrong button and lost it all.

Here are a couple excerpts from my review of secret origins that I recall clearly and that I think merit commentary.

Fantastic Four - What on earth were Susan and Johnny Storm doing on board the experimental flight?  I get that Grim was an air force pilot and Reed was the genius and his best friend.  Who takes their girlfriend and her kid brother on a test flight into outer space?  Even if they did all get wicked super-powers, shouldn't that have been the first sign that he was a criminal? Negligence that seems almost willful isn't heroic at all. On top of that.....since when do test pilots let the designer fly with them?  Maybe Grim's the problem......or maybe Doom's been right about Reed all along. Doctor Doom's public service announcement; Reed Richards sucks.

Thor - Thor actually is a character with an epic mythological background, and yet his actual origin is almost as lame as Spider-Man's.  While walking through the wooded hillside (on holiday) in Norway, Dr. Donald Blake stumbles on an alien scouting party preparing for an invasion of Earth.  *Raise your hand if you would have just let the Aliens have Norway.* Blake limps away into the hills to try and escape them and stumbles into a cave where he finds his path blocked.  In frustration he slams a stick he found into the ground and is transformed into Thor. DUMB.

Spider-Man - Seriously?  I've covered this already.

Green Lantern - Intergalactic police force that recruits without even an interview process.  Canada's police force isn't perfect, but at least there are tests you have to pass.  Not Oa's force though.  The light picks you and then they give you access to the most powerful weapon in the universe. Anyone else not at all surprised when you find out that the Oans have had problems with their police force from time to time?  At the very least shouldn't somebody run a background check on you?  So what if you have the ability to overcome great fear?  You could still be a complete jerk.

Wonder Woman - If Amazonians are immortal and don't age, why did she? Other than that, she has a very classic Greek mythology origin, and I like it.

Amadeus Cho - Might be Marvel's best origin ever.  If you don't know it you're missing out.  The character shows up in Incredible Hulk right before World War Hulk and we are introduced to him as the seventh smartest person on Earth. He has a hypermind (his mind is a functional super-computer - mutant?) and runs thousands of calculations every second.  Using this he ends up aligned with Herc to help Hulk.  Long story short?  Herc's sister Athena is preparing him to become the next HERO (in the classic Greek sense) of Earth, as Hercule's time is coming to an end.  Very cool all the way around.

Also, some origin's I would like to see:

1. The non-origin: I'd like to see the character that doesn't explain his origin.  EVER. Ten years into the story I want to find out that he's like Mar-Vel and he's come to earth to prepare us for invasion.  Then I want to look back on the decade worth of books and be like " did I not see it?"

2.  Secret Society.  Aztek, a largely ignored Grant Morison character from the nineties tried this, but because the book didn't last long enough I never got to see it fulfilled. I like the idea of a person brought into power as the direct result of a secret society with an agenda that may or may not line up with what other heroes believe is best for the planet.  This is also the format for Azrael, but I don't find the new Azrael captures it like Denis O'Neal's did.  In any event, I'd like to get drawn deeper into the world of secret societies in one of these books, maybe even finding a society hidden within a society.

3. Bitten by a radioactive animal that is cooler than a spider.

Alright, I'm out.

1 comment:

Nyarlathotep said...

Funny you mention the Fantastic Four's origin. If you've ever actually read it, it's hilarious how horrible it is. Sue is a cunt. She goads Ben into flying the rocket even though he thinks its too dangerous. But the best is when they all name themselves. Human Torch; makes sense. Invisible Woman; also pretty logical for a name. The Thing; Sue calls Ben that in a fit of revulsion and hes such a wuss he accepts it as his name, but even then it kind of makes sense. But the best is Reed. He just says "And I'll call myself Mr. Fantastic!" Not Dr. Stretch or Rubber-Man or Flexo or something that remotely would equate with his power. He calls himself Mr. Fantastic! Good god, what a prick. No wonder Doom hates him.