Less Thanos, More Heroes: Why is Our Culture Obsessed With Villains?


 

The Valdosta Daily Times wrote all about Jim Starlin’s Marvel Universe: The End from 2003, spotlighting the supervillain Thanos:

 

If you miss Thanos, and really who doesn’t, “Marvel Universe: The End” will have you delighting in the Mad Titan once again.

 

I think this is another example of likely villain worship, when most superheroes and their co-stars are the ones we should be missing. But mainly, good writing and art to accompany them, and demonstrate why it’s worth it to keep them in print. No matter the quality of the story, why must we be jumping for joy at the return of a potentially deadly villain, rather than heroes who could be returning from an unjust limbo? This is decidedly no better than celebrating the return of the Joker in Batman.

 

Granted, this storyline is from several years ago, a special mini-series now gathered between two book covers, so it’s not a return of Thanos to the screen where he disintegrated at the end of “The Avengers Endgame” in the movies.

But for regular comic book readers, Thanos returning from the dead, defeat, the abyss, disintegration, turned to stone, etc., is not out of the ordinary. And besides, on the screen, if all of the heroes and half the population of the universe can return five years after being snapped out of existence, why not Thanos?

 

The story is from nearly two decades ago, and curiously enough, far-left-leaning editor Tom Brevoort said nearly a decade ago the story isn’t considered canon in the true sense. Well of course not, because people like him methodically destroyed all coherency of continuity at the turn of the century. So how could Marvel: The End be regarded as serious canon when they made it exceedingly difficult so long as they continue on the train wreck path they’ve taken in 20 years? Interesting the columnist makes a case for Thanos to be revived, but not heroes and civilian co-stars who were unjustly buried 6 feet under in Marvel and DC’s universes. Fictional heroes and their co-stars should be considered much more valuable than villains, no matter their powers.

 

Pretty much everyone from the Marvel Universe is here, either as supporting character or as a cameo in one of several double-truck splash pages featuring a host of superheroes and bad guys. Even the majority of the world’s leaders from the first decade of the 2000s make appearances. This space pharaoh ain’t fooling around.

 

Back at that time, they may not have vilified all the conservative-leaning political figures seen in such stories, though they were definitely getting there, recalling Garth Ennis was scripting a Marvel Knights/MAX Punisher series at the time doing it. Since that time, any hostility against right-wing figures has entered the flagship MCU full force.

 

Jim Starlin, the man who created Thanos, handles the writing and art. As anyone who is a big Thanos fan knows, Thanos is at his best when Starlin is at the helm. And Thanos and Starlin are at the top of their game here.

“Marvel Universe: The End”? No, it’s not over, folks. But this is a good yarn to find and unravel.

 

That’s the problem. The abuse of the Marvel universe hasn’t ended by a long shot. Mainly because these mainstream press writers won’t protest the left-wing ideologues at work. As for Thanos, let’s be clear. While there are stories I’ve enjoyed where the Mad Titan was spotlighted, that doesn’t mean I view myself as a literal fan of a villain, because after all, their actions are supposed to be reprehensible. It’s the heroes I consider myself a fan of. Curious the columnist doesn’t think to ever stress the importance of that. And then you wonder why there could be so much lenience on evil in real life?

 

 

Oh, and I just remembered one other thing: Marvel: The End was published at a time when Bill Jemas/Joe Quesada were mandating lowercase lettering, which didn’t avail their output well, so how can Starlin, who’s since gone downhill with his own political leanings, be at the top of his game with that kind of watering down? I think it’s disputable, but hardly worth it at this point when the MCU’s been ruined horribly in the years since.

 

Originally published here.


Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1

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