Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Ultimate Marvel

With the turn of the millennium, Marvel Comics has seen it fit to re-invent its entire universe in an alternate line of comics known as the Ultimates. This can be seen as something like what DC did in the 1950's, re-starting and re-inventing their line of superheroes, except that this universe of characters is not a parallel universe to the regular Marvels, it is completely separate with no apparent plans for communication between one universe and the other.

In this universe all the modern Marvel superheroes first appeared in the 1990's (there were still heroes in WWII, such as Captain America, and he fell into suspended animation like before, but was awoken in the 1990's). Captain Marvel appeared when this universe's version of Galactus showed up and threatened Earth in an adventure that gave a possible solution to the Fermi Paradox. The Fermi Paradox is the formula designed to figure out the likelihood of intelligent life in the universe contacting Earth. The paradox comes in when one plugs in numbers based on certain assumptions that make it look like there should have been contact by now, but most reasonable people accept that there is no evidence of contact so far.

The answer to the Fermi Paradox in this story is twofold. One, that the government is covering up all news of alien contact; Two, that Gah Lak Tus, a wave of sentient robots, devours all life on whatever planet it happens to come upon.

In this story, Captain Marvel is Pluskommander Geheneris Hala´son Mahr Vehl of the alien Kree intergalactic military. This was, of course, an adaptation of Captain Mar-Vell. The name Hala'son meant that he was supposed to be of the line of the Kree god Hala, but he denied the divinity of Hala, believing instead that he was simply a Kree who believed all life was sacred. Mahr Vehl had come to earth as a spy, took the identity of Dr. Philip Lawson, and helped design a space ship engine capable of interstellar travel (along with a Dr. David Binder, obviously a tribute to Otto Binder). He defected when it became apparent that the Kree wanted to watch Earth fall to Gah Lak Tus.

This version also had a Carol Danvers, again a security chief at an Aerospace Development station, and there was adversarial banter between Lawson/Mahr Vell and Danvers reminiscent of that between Walter Lawson/Mar-Vell and Carol Danvers in the '60's.

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