Hey, everyone! Welcome back to our summer series looking at the MC2 imprint! I know you enjoyed my sister’s article last week on the first issue of the Marvel Knights Inhumans. One day, we definitely will cover the Marvel Knights imprint with diligent focus, as it deserves it. The first wave was such a huge event in the comic book industry, and especially for Marvel.
But the imprint we are focusing on for this summer is MC2, which incidentally was hitting the stands at the same time as Marvel Knights. Marvel Knights survived and even thrived, while MC2, except for the Spider-Girl title, withered and died. That probably had to do with the audience at which these titles were aimed. Marvel Knights was aimed at your standard local comic shop direct market consumer. MC2 was supposed to be sent to outlets like K-Mart in order to attract a younger audience. That deal never quite came together, and so the MC2 line was put into local comics shops, where the audience was probably a little too old and sophisticated to want this type of book. Alas, those shelves are where the comics ended up.
I am not sure that the comic books would have fared better had they been placed into K-Mart. The idea put forth was that MC2 would be a good entry point for younger readers due to them not having to deal with continuity, (or at least that is what ol’ Dean Compton has been told. If you know better, leave a comment!), but as much as I like MC2, there’s still plenty of Marvel continuity here. I am unsure how this entry point would have been any less confusing for these readers. Case in point, if one is going to understand the MC2 title A-Next, one has to understand Thunderstrike. They do a good job explaining the connection between A-Next and Thunderstrike, but it still something thrust on the reader.
This is the last of the MC2 titles that I like, and to be honest, I just sort of barely like it. I like it in that way where one yearns for something disgusting, like Vienna sausages or Krystal. There’s just enough of a taste here to make me want it on occasion, but on no way could I eat this everyday. Actually, I could probably eat Vienna sausages everyday, but no way on that Krystal.
I like the covers, and I like the blurbs, but the actual writing itself here is starting to replicate itself, and not in the way that cool movie monsters replicate, but in the way 2:55 on the last day of school seems to replicate. I mean, here are some more new kids on the super hero block (insert your own NKTOB favorite here) alongside J2, who had his own title where he was having his own issues being a teenager who is brand-new to the superhero game. Don’t worry though; you get more of that here, as J2 will be worried that he isn’t good enough to be an Avenger.
I enjoy the Marvel trope of the teenager finding his way in both the real world (or what passes for the real world in their non-costumed lives), but MC2 is overkilling it here. I understand why, because these books were aimed at new readers, but you can’t tell me that new readers wouldn’t be interested in the adventures of some of the established Marvel heroes that continue their adventures in the MC2 Universe, such as Wolverine or The Defenders. Surely one of the four books that focused on the youngsters could have been given to an anthology showing us some of those adventures! But I digress. We’re here to talk A-Next!
The new team of Avengers starts out via some machinations from Loki, but first we have to get the group together. Even though there have been no Avengers for some time, several members still hold on to their ID cards, which as well we all know, work as communication devices for the Avengers. This was still cool in 1998, although by then, I had a couple pals with cell phones, so the jig on the ID cards was just about to be up. By 2005, you would have a device rivaling these. By 2012, you’d have one that would eclipse just about anything these ID cards could do. Other than work in deep space, I suppose.
Seriously, I feel so badly for Jolt. There certainly is nothing wrong with being a mother, and I admire her dedication to the cause of The Avengers despite her having to see her kids off to school. I feel badly for her because the first thing we see is her calling herself fat (when she is also not only not fat, but is indeed morbidly frail. (Why are people just morbidly obese? We never use that adverb anywhere else. At least no one but me.) She leaps into adventure in a way that no fat people other than Chris Farley, Jack Black, or John Belushi ever could.
Then I also feel badly for her because I am imagining her returning to her normal life after saving the world with The Avengers, thinking to herself how proud her kids will be of her, but when she comes through the door, all they want are their damn pizza rolls. What can poor mother Jolt do but sigh wistfully and commence to preheating the oven to 420 degrees?
At least she gets to team up with Speedball first, who amazingly, COMES OFF EVEN MORE UNCOOL THAN JOLT. For real. He is so lame here that folks will clamor and sell their unborn children just to see him in his Penance phase. Don’t believe me? Take a gander.
He’s shopping with his mother. Jesus Christ, the world is on the damn line and so far we have a lady with body image issues, a kid who just got powers and really has little clue how to use them, a guy who shops for clothes with his mother, and JUBILEE. Folks, if Jubilee is the best option between the MC2 Universe and annihilation, I suggest you start finding some precious memories of Spider-Girl and the Fantastic Five because it is all going to go to hell. Man, I despise Jubilee. It’s mostly due to the 90’s Fox X-Men cartoon; she’s atrocious in that.
But I am off course here. This isn’t about how awful Jubilee is; the world would end before I finished a rant on that. This is about how Tom Defalco for some reason has decided to treat most of these older heroes awfully. MC2 was not necessarily destined to fail; I mean, Spider-Girl had a good run, but treating main characters like this wasn’t doing these books any favors. I assume part of this treatment of the older characters is to make the younger guys seem cooler and more contemporary, but you’ve already got J2 rocking the flannel-tied-around-the-waist-look! There’s no need to do what seems like picking on these heroes. Another two heroes join our merry band of adventurers, and one basically disobeys her dad from the first moment we see her, which is the complete antithesis of Jolt getting fat-shamed.
Oh and to round out the heroes, here’s a robot.
And heroes they are, because just like when the Avengers originally started, Loki is up to no good, and it shall require a new band of heroes to stop him.
Smart people joke above! Look out!
That Loki! Always saying is the opposite of what he is in a cool way! He also is responsible for the creation of his greatest foes, not once, but twice. He also has this insane knack for giving people super powers via his magic bolts. He did so for the Wrecker and the Wrecking Crew, and now he does so for Kevin Masterson because, you know, superheroes.
The battle is fierce, and it looks as though Loki and his minions may just win the day, when Kevin realizes they are in Asgard. He then uses his power to summon everyone’s favorite Thunder God, The Mighty Thor!
The Avengers save the day, and as Thor not so subtly suggests, many in the group determine the time has come for a new batch of Avengers to challenge the most powerful and dastardly foes that threaten the Marvel Universe! Everyone who was along for this ride won’t stay in the group, though.
Once again, Jubilee is made out to be the coolest one here, which means you definitely know this ain’t canon, folks! I should go easier on her, especially when we see the decidedly not-too-fat-for-her-form-fitting-costume Jolt leaving alongside Speedball, who tells us he prefers being a solo act. I suppose that’s true, EXCEPT WHEN HE SHOPS WITH HIS MOM. I keep harping on these points, but I do not believe I can do enough to establish how poor it makes these characters seem.
All in all though, the comic book is fun for all 12 issues, and it even has a few cool tidbits. I’ll talk next week about when A-Next fought The Defenders, the next batch of Avengers, and even how we should have seen Secret Invasion coming! See you next week for more A-Next, folks!