Wizard #215 -- Marvel's 70th Anniversary Issue -- contains its share of whoppers, and shows its continued brown-nosing of Marvel in general. Probably the biggest knee-slapper in its seventy "Marvelous Moments" is #53: "Heroes Reborn." I'm glad that at least this moment found its way pretty far down on the list, yet, honestly, let's be real -- it does deserve to be there. But check out the narrative:
"The art was, unsurprisingly, amazing"???? WTF are they smoking? Maybe Wiz's butt-kissers oughta take a gander at this post. Or, Mark Engblom's recent retrospective centering on "HR." Look, Jim Lee's art (as usual) was pretty good on Fantastic Four, and Whilce Portacio's had its moments on Iron Man, but Rob Liefeld's Cap was flat-out horrific, and Chap Yaep's in Avengers wasn't that far behind. As Engblom says about "HR," "Despite respectable sales numbers (which the hype all but guaranteed) ..." that is pretty much it in a nutshell. Hype. Exactly what Image Comics' founding was.
Next: Poor Walt Simonson. He just can't get any respect:
Yeah. Walt Simpson. Nice editing/proofreading on such a milestone issue, eh?
Regarding these next two items, see if you can ... well hell, just check 'em out:
Doesn't it just absolutely trash the very concept of key character "deaths" to laud the demise of a person like Bucky ... then at the same time to note that such a key historic moment was ignored by a current "hot" creator -- because he brought him back? And then this same "hot" creator gets similarly lauded for offing one of the companies longest-published heroes! C'mon -- "shook the comic biz to its core"? "Mainstream media as well"?? Please. Point me to ANYONE who didn't immediately know that Steve Rogers would be back as Captain America eventually. ANYONE. And it sure is easy to "shake the mainstream media" by sending out publicity blitzes to every network and newspaper extant.
Face it: character "deaths" ceased shocking people around the resurrection of Jean Grey. It's one thing to "bring back" minor characters like Wonder Man, but when you [legitimately] shock the industry by offing a popular hero and then resuscitate him/her shortly thereafter, please. I think the final straw for me was Marvel head honcho Joe Quesada's resurrection of Iron Man mentor Ho Yinsen (his brain inside Iron Man armor, at least) and original Iron Man villain Wong Chu. (Amazingly, too, Wizard ranks Quesada's ascension to Marvel editor-in-chief as #7 on their list.)
The big upside of Wiz #215 is an article on under-rated Marvel scribe Bill Mantlo. Known as "The Fill-In King," Mantlo's contribution to the Marvel mythos is by and large unknown. But for me, I know Bill as the writer of my favorite single-issue Iron Man story of all-time: "Long Time Gone." Apparently, many fans (and Marvel) think highly of this story, too, as it was reprinted in volume 3's "monster" issue, #46. If you ever have a chance to read this story, do it.
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