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Review: Secret Wars: Infinity Gauntlet (In Name Only) #1




An Opinion-Editorially Oriented Review


First off, don’t believe the hype for this book being shoveled high and deep by Marvel shill websites like CBR and IGN.  This book is really just another showcase for Duggan’s un-originality and an opportunity for Marvel to answer all the media criticism about females and racial minorities being in short supply in their universe with yet another replacement of an established superhero with someone with politically correct demographics.

Duggan freely admits that he blatantly re-packaged teen Spiderman tropes for his excruciatingly bad NINO series which thankfully and mercifully ended this week.  For Infinity Gauntlet in Name Only (hereinafter referred to as IGINO), he simply begins with the tired old “Lone Ranger” cliché that has too often been applied to the Nova concepts, adds a Good Times-like family with all the desired PC demographics as the protagonists of the story, inferiorly re-packages the Annihilation Prologue storyline, and throws all this into a War of the Worlds type setting with a raggedy-looking Thanos skulking around in the background looking for Infinity Stone fragments as the only real tie to the namesake of this storyline – Marvel’s best pre-Annihilation cosmic story, Starlin’s original The Infinity Gauntlet.  Given all that, I’d have to conclude that Duggan has replaced Bendys as the King of Hackery.  He’s obviously poorly versed in Science-Fiction and it shows.  He simply re-packages concepts from popular SF-oriented comic books, TV, and movies – and produces something vastly inferior to the original.

Frankly, I’m tired of all the PC nonsense.  All this howling in the mainstream media is mainly directed toward the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is primarily coming from critics who don’t buy and read comic books.   If there really is a comic book market of buyers eager to buy books about female and racial minority heroes, it isn’t evident if sales history is used as a measure.  She-Hulk, Spider-Girl, Spiderwoman, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Falcon, etc. have all had multiple re-launched books and have never really been able to stay above cancellation threshold for very long.  Sure – some of them were kept on life-support for a while.  But none of them have had real staying power.  I give credit to Marvel for trying.  But if the buyers aren’t there, they aren’t there.

What annoys me is when Marvel cheats and takes the lazy (and racist and/or sexist in its own way) path out.  Instead of taking the risk and creating new characters with PC demographics from scratch and trying to make them compelling enough to catch on with the general population of comic buyers, they, in a form of reverse racism/sexism, replace beloved white male superheroes who already have a large following with female and/or racial minority characters knowing that the buyers will continue to buy the books they habitually buy for a while – all the while knowing in the back of their minds that the originals will return.  Does anyone really believe that Thor Odinson and Steve Rogers won’t return to their respective roles of Thor and Captain America once the PC characters now filling their shoes wear out their welcome?  Of course not.   Marvel doesn’t want to lose those habitual buyers.  The exception to this rule appears to be Richard Rider’s Nova.  For some reason, Marvel doesn’t care about alienating his fan base, and Marvel Writers and Editors go out of their way to insult and denigrate his fan base.

First we’ve had Loeb’s truly pathetically bad half-Xandarian-half-Hispanic teen idiot, Sam Alexander, as Rich’s permanent replacement.  Now comes Black Female teenage Xandarian, Anwen Bakian, and her family – including a salty old grandpa and a dog.  Could you get more PC than this?  I think not.  And the zombies and the small minority of PC-lovers are standing in line to drink this Guyana Kool-Aid.  Of course, I fully expect to be viciously attacked by the PC-Police with their Ferguson-Missouri-Police tactics merely for expressing these views.

Let’s talk about how clichéd and dumb this IGINO concept and storyline are in the first place.  How many times have you seen this kind of chase and narrow escape scenario?  In just about every monster movie you’ve ever seen, right?  How many times on how many TV shows have you seen a grandpa and son-in-law argument such as presented in this book?  On how many dumb child-oriented TV shows are the teenagers and children portrayed as wiser, smarter, and braver than the adults?  And how stupid is that anyway?  I’ve got no problem with there being dark-skinned Xandarians.  I do have a problem with there being a dog on Xandar.  Why is there a German Shepherd dog on Xandar?  I have no problem with a dark-skinned adult female Nova Corpsman.  I have a problem with the entire family getting Nova powers.  Once again, Marvel is going down the immoral child soldier pathway.  And I have a huge problem with Anwen being the next in line as Rich’s replacement.  I suppose the dog will also get powers – or more likely, since Duggan can’t resist a good cliché, the dog will die a tragic, heroic death since none of the principals except maybe dad or grandpa will get killed.  Why is Thanos skulking around in the background?  He’s not that kind of guy.  He’s a lot more powerful than the bugs and Anwen’s mom.  Why doesn’t he just stride in and take the stones he’s looking for?  Also, why do we need another NINO type book aimed at children?  Wasn’t the original NINO experiment a big enough failure? This book is hardly original or of high quality – unless you have the deficient mentality of a CBR/IGN reviewer or a CBR forum regular or one of the chronic complainers who show up on Facebook to take issue with me.  In that case, you probably think it’s wonderful as you wash it down with the rest of your Pablum.

Weaver’s art is decent for most of the book.  At times – such as the underground scene and some of the chase scenes – it’s muddled and confusing.  But for the most part, it’s well done.  It’s not enough to save this book – but it keeps the book from being a total waste of paper.

So, my advice, particularly if you’re a Rich Rider Nova fan, is to vote with your dollars and boycott this Politically Correct NINO-ette (hereinafter referred to as PC-NINO-ette).  Marvel needs to be slapped down for disrespecting the Rider Nova fans once again, for disrespecting the Annihilation and The Infinity Gauntlet source material, and for producing this PC-NINO-ette disgusting, hackneyed trash.  Making this book a sales failure is a good way to do it.