Continuing with my The End series, we’re going to talk about the second of my Marvel Alternaverse stories reviews. And I think this one is the most depressing of the three!
In 1994, the World of Comics was introduced to Alex Ross on a grand scale with Marvels! Working with Kurt Busiek, they told the story of news photographer Phil Sheldon who witnessed the Marvel Universe from ground level and Showed us the Majesty of everything from ground level!
The following year, Warren Ellis chose to do a parody of Marvels with Ruins. Working with then husband and wife art team Terese and Cliff Nielsen and artist Christopher Moeller, they told a tale that…well…just read this opening statement.
For Every Kiss, A Bullet In The Face.
For Every Action, A Reaction.
For Every Event, There Exists In Potential,
A Mirror Event, An Exactly Opposite Possibility.
If The World You Know Is One Of Marvels,
Where Heroic Women Walk Invisibly Through Horror,
And Men Of Fire Ride The Upper Reaches Of The Air
…Then Only A Misstep Or A Stopped Heartbeat Away,
Is A World Of Ruins.
Yeah…basically in this world, everything that went right in the main marvel universe, when horribly wrong! And photographer Phil Sheldon is here to see it too. He sees things in this world like Thor being insane. Bruce Banner mutated after exposure to gamma radiation, but his body continued to sprout tumors until it burst from the inside out. Johnny Blaze didn’t make a deal with the devil, but his life was so bad that his final stunt involved lighting his own head on fire while biking off a ramp. All mutant powers come with terrible side effects, leading Mystique to uncontrollably twist into a Cronenbergian nightmare, Nightcrawler eats his own tail, and Quicksilver to need amputation to stop the shaking. Matt Murdock got killed by that toxic waste truck. It’s just the worst outcome of every superhero making moment in the Marvel universe.
This is quite probably the most depressing of the Alternaverse tales and possibly one of the most depressing books I’ve ever read.
Read it if you dare.