Kang one minute…Image: Marvel Comics
Kang the Conqueror has something of a moment straight away. Hot off the heels from helping bring about the multiverse concept that currently holds court in the Marvel Studios cinematic universe in Loki-anticipating what’s to come in the Next Ant-Man And The Wasp Movie—Nathaniel Richards is also the star of a new one-shot this week, Timeless, which ushers in 2021 with a tease of what’s to come. And one of those things might just be its shocking arrival to the world of Marvel Comics.
Timeless – written by Jed McKay, colored by Marte Gracia, literate by Ariana Maher, and with art by Kev Walker, Greg Land and Jay Leisten, and Mark Bagley and Andrew Hennessy – is primarily a character study of what really drives the Conqueror . Sort of a twisted riff on Doctor Who with more woolly mammoth wrestling, the issue sees Kang brag today’s superpower professor Anatoly Petrov for an adventure across time and space. It’s an adventure that Kang sees as an opportunity to see the pinnacle of humanity overcome impossible odds in the temporal reality, to demonstrate the audacity, confidence and strength he has to prove that he is one of the greatest superpowers is – if clearly not superheroes – creatures in all of existence. In reality, it’s as small as hell in a way that’s as Kang-ian as his love of thrilling challenges: It turns out Kang has discovered Petrov is writing a dissertation on 21st-century super-villains he’d dare call Victor Von Doom as the defining face of super-powered evil, and Kang designs his entire time-consuming endeavor as an excuse to prove to Petrov that anything Doom could do, Kang could do better.
However, that contest to swing temporary genitalia is interrupted when Kang and Petrov are warned of a major temporary crisis: a rogue, decaying “pirate timeline” that tries to prevent its entropic wilt by attaching itself back to the main Marvel timeline. As Kang fights to show Petrov just how superior he is to Doom — especially when he discovers that the potential instigator of the timeline crisis could be a version of Victor — we and Petrov are treated to flashes of future stories, which we know Marvel already has. teased about his plans for 2022: flashes of Ben Reilly, Spider-Man; of a new role for the Punisher; of the terrible things to come in the The fate of X. New Avengers, new faces in old cloaks, the rise and fall of legends, it’s all here. But none of these really matter to Timeless #1. Instead, it saves its most shocking and cryptic visions for the last page, when Kang believes all is well and done, his petty point proven, and brings Petrov back in his own time with some…serious comments about his book. The one vision burned into Petrov’s mind isn’t about stories we’ve teased in Marvel requests, but about an iconic superhero symbol that no one in the Marvel universe really understands: two angular M’s stacked on top of each other.
Image: Marvel Comics
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A symbol unknown to the denizens of the Marvel universe, but very much known in us as the superhero emblem of Miracleman, also known as Michael Moran, a reporter imbued with tremendous cosmic power to become Miracleman with a cry of ” Kimota!” The character began in the 1950s as writer Mick Anglo’s efforts to put a British spin on modern-day comic book icon Captain Marvel — not that one, but the then Fawcett, now DC Comics hero known as Shazam — after Fawcett got a lawsuit after legal troubles. ended its Captain Marvel comics after DC claimed the character was a copy of Superman. Miracleman (then known as, with all the subtlety of a brick, Marvelman) ran in the black-and-white pages of L. Miller & Son comics in the UK until 1963. The character was reborn in the early 1980s by then-lesser-known writer Alan Moore, in the days before Watchmen, and artists Garry Leach and Alan Davis, as one of the earliest mainstream deconstructions of the superhero genre, predating Watchman’s own critiques to deliver a dark subversion of Marvelman’s history. But Moore and Davis’ series came to an abrupt end in 1984 when legal pressure from Marvel Comics over the character’s name and issues between Moore and the series’ publisher, and Marvelman, now Miracleman, was sold to American publisher Eclipse. .
Eclipse began relaunching the series under its new name, eventually continuing new stories with Miracleman featuring upcoming fantasy writer Neil Gaiman and artist Mark Buckingham. Miracleman’s vaunted return was short-lived, however: Eclipse collapsed in the mid-’90s. The assets were bought by Image’s Todd McFarlane, and a protracted legal battle for ownership of the work between Gaiman and McFarlane left Miracleman forgotten for decades, unprintable and increasingly difficult to find. Years later, however, it turned out that Anglo originally still owned the rights to the character, despite decades of legal back and forth, and he sold them to Marvel in 2009. The publisher announced: plans to finally reprint both Moore and Gaiman take over the character, with Gaiman and Buckingham return to continue the story they wanted to create decades earlier. But it never happened – Marvel quietly scrapped plans to continue the series in 2017 and re-announced its arrival two years later, only to appear for nothing… until Timeless #1, that is.
Miracleman’s apparent potential return, and not only that, but as a character within the Marvel Comics continuity’s existence has fascinating potential — and, admittedly, potential that seems to draw parallels to a recent, alternate attempt. to an independent subversive superhero story in the canon of a mainstream publisher: The Doomsday Clock by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, which linked the groundbreaking Watchmen series by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons and John Higgins into the fabric of DC Comics’ then-nascent ‘Rebirth’ universe. What Marvel currently has planned for Michael Moran remains to be seen, but his arrival in the publisher’s comic book universe looks set to foreshadow some challenging times ahead for the fabric of Earth-616 and its many multiverse counterparts.
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