The Marville Horror Part 5: Comics – Pretty Much the Word of God

March 12th, 2009 by | Tags: , , , ,

Article by Fletcher “Syrg” Arnett.

It actually took me seeing the variant for this one to understand what the hell was going on with the regular cover. Apparently our pinup girl is holding one of Wolverine’s claws for some reason, completely independent of his arm.

Anyhow. The recap page is skippable, at this point they’re so bare-bones from trying to sum up things and keep the illusion of a coherent plot that it’s not worth it. All it gives us that we didn’t know is, “Yes you are really about to read a comic where Wolverine evolved from an otter.”

And, you know, I suppose the first page is just here to rub in, “No, you didn’t imagine a single word of that last sentence.” Wolverine then runs straight out of the time machine, and we are informed, upon seeing a group of females and a large buck, that as the “first teenager” (this is what the book calls him, no he is not the first of anything, there are already tribes and shit walking around), he must be either hungry or horny. Or both. But just to remind us that yes, this is Logan we’re talking about here, we get this scene. The “claws” on his swing are a nice touch:

Another thing only hitting me as I sit down to read this again: they never call him Logan. The entire time, everyone in the book calls him either Wolverine, or Wolvie. Apparently that’s just his name in the prehistoric days.

I will be honest: I was lying slightly with that “he is not the first of anything” line. Apparently he is the first modern human. You know, in 100,000 BC. And everyone else walking around is a Neanderthal. But it’s cool, because Logan can breed with them and he is, in fact, the father of the entire human race. I guess that makes this prehistoric Canada. Let’s set aside the multiple holes in that logic for a little, and get on with the story, where our modern-day clan is feeling attracted to the Neanderthal village we’re now ending up in. Jack handily tells us that our modern DNA feels a “natural bond” with our less-evolved ancestors, which is why Al, Lucy, and Mickey (man it’s been a while since I typed those names out in full) are wanting to get it on with the prehistoric pretties. Thank goodness Jack is here to remind us that this is all completely true, though. I mean, how can you argue with this logic?

Now, let’s harken back a few articles. Remember that bit about Jemas writing this like a drunk on a rampage at times? Well here comes another one of those: if you don’t like his completely unresearched theory and dismissal of an entire profession, then fuck you, he’s God. Jack is God, I mean. He’d never let a character be his mouthpiece, I’m sure.

Let’s just roll the tape on this scene, then.

Nevermind that “evolution” no longer means Darwin’s theory, or that Jemas himself is misunderstanding it so bad that we have creatures spontaneously being spawned from a lone [insert base organism here] with nothing but TIME! added to it. If you don’t like the word of God this comic is preaching, then get back in the goddamned time machine. Can you believe we’re only 10 pages into the book now? And there’s still further to fall!

Now, you’d assume that after all this, a wannabe superhero, a sassy taxi driver, and a tough cop wouldn’t take that shit. But it’s cool! Because one panel later he’s all apologetic and naw, it’s alright, Jack’s not gonna hit you again, baby, he just needs you to know that WW3 is coming and you gotta be down to stop it! We cool?

No, seriously. He goes from “get in the fucking car” to “You need to stop Judgement Day” in the space of a panel. And then the book turns into nothing but dialogue-filled blue panels for about half a page. And they are, in fact, cool with it. So they all go, sans Wolvie, 50,000 years ahead, get out of the time machine, and meet a random guy with a son who’s name changes in the space of a page. Admittedly, he has another son, but nobody gives a shit because that one’s a good kid.

Damn that [B/T]rock! Now how are they supposed to catch fish in that magical teleporting net? Seriously, it can’t just be me wondering how the hell it ran away from the good son so fast.

It turns out Turok is a dick because of testosterone, “God’s vector”, making the kid go fuck someone in the next village over to spite daddy Logan, and so genes spread. I’m just gonna err on the side of caution and pretend the implied sexism is unintentional. Pretty sure the bit where Al counters with, “Anthropologists say the chief had a lot of wives and that’s how this worked,” and Jack tells him, “Anthropologists are people who never got real jobs,” is certainly a dick move, though. We stick around all evening and suddenly Wolverine is there again, identical to his younger self, but it’s not because he’s immortal with that healing factor, no. He just showed up thanks to genes creating a completely identical version of himself with the exact same name 50,000 years down the line, and completely countering what Jack said a page ago was a lie that anthropology spread. Guess what? Logan’s the chief, with 8 wives!

I’m gonna skim this next part, it’s about how “war” apparently just meant a rugby game in this time period, because fighting the next tribe over results in a lot of punching, no weapons, cheerleaders, and Logan kicking a dude in the nuts.

That axe ends up being handed to Wolvie, who snaps it and goes “fuck off” to the guys trying to start shit. Then everyone goes home happy, they had their fun, and suddenly the kindly village elder from before has turned into a High Priest. Then he’s a King. And suddenly war means being dicks and takes on the modern definition. This is all within like five minutes in-book, mind you, unless I missed some passage of time. The book ends on three pages of complaining that religion and leaders make people kill, and how Jesus was the first Superman, a god among men who was meek and didn’t lord it over them. This all ends, after the cast come around to agreeing with Jack for no real reason, to a big white box that just has “FAITH” written in it, and Jack telling us God is in everything, like a moving ant or waving grass.

You’d think you might follow something like this up by issue 6 being all about stopping World War III, or perhaps explaining where our cast goes from here, or who Jack really is if not God proper. Nope. You get Greg Horn’s Spider-Titties.

There’s not much I can say about issue 6, to be frank. It’s another “dialogue over random art” issue, but whereas 3 was really kinda cool to look at and played around some, this is nothing but Al recapping the past 5 issues and talking to (I presume, he’s never named) Bill Jemas himself, trying to pitch the book. We never find out anything new, or what happened to everyone else in the story, or even if this is his attempt at stopping that war somehow. Instead, Jemas just writes off the story as unsellable, and comics fans as apparently being too close-minded for such a brilliant book he’d love to publish. There’s also a lot of back-patting from our unseen second person over bits like the “what does archaeology know” part.

It all winds down with a full-page letter explaining that since he was the president of Marvel, he could write this story, his story, about the origin of life without regard for sales. Even he wanted to forget that abortion of humor he started with, and how he lost badly in a bet he made such a fuss over, apparently, as none of it is mentioned in this letter at all. Because it’s written in such an inflammatory style, I’m just going to post that as the final glimpse of this tale, and let you decide what to make of it.

In short, Marville is easily one of the worst comics ever made, not only because it was spiteful, schizophrenic, and fueled by ego, but because it failed on every possible level. The art was subpar, the humor was as amusing as watching your grandmother die (and depending on how close to her you were, it might have been about as painful), and the story was a complete trainwreck. I’d like to both thank and curse Gavok for letting me write about this, thanks for putting these up, and curses for tricking me into reading this all over again. In what may be further evidence of my own insanity, I’m apparently going to be allowed to write about Trouble within the near future as well; the issues are here beside me now.

To wrap up, I want to share with you some of the amazing feedback the Marville Horror write-ups have received since they started:

“Ultimate Adventures was Joe Q’s entry into U-Decide. But since Joe was too busy with EiC duties, Zimmerman was put on board as the writer. If you look up interviews on U-Decide from around the time of the books came out, it’ll discuss that factoid.

“The ‘some reason’ for [UDON doing a Marville #1 variant cover] was because the group was just getting started back then and they did lots of covers and fill-in issues for Marvel at the time.” – Nick Marino (Thanks for correcting me, Nick!)

“I actually thought the Iron man Black panther bit was kind of cool. […] Firing thousands of people and outsourcing to Mexico was admirable but one bad word would doom someone socially.” – Kid Kyoto

“I feel absolutely ashamed to read comics every time somebody puzzles over the Marville scene with Ted Turner tomahawk chopping a meteor. Not only does that scene get a laugh every time with any baseball fan I know, but not knowing why Ted Turner would ‘karate chop’ a meteor really screams ‘I live in the basement.'” – Todd Allen

(Gavok note: You heard it first, kids! If you don’t get baseball references, you probably have a neckbeard. Also, there’s actually somebody out there who goes around showing people Marville issues and saying “Hey, check out how hilarious this is!” And it isn’t Jemas himself!

Thanks to Syrg for his entertaining set of posts and giving me a chance to rest my sanity for once. If anyone else is interested in doing a guest article at any point, feel free to email hermanos or myself.

Oh, and speaking of horrible comics, remember that Ultimatum #3 comes out next week. Hint, hint.)

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8 comments to “The Marville Horror Part 5: Comics – Pretty Much the Word of God”

  1. Thock the caveman tells his son, “I’ll break your @$$ right off of you!”

    How exactly does one break off someone’s ass? That sounds complicated and a waste of energy. Like maybe if you froze it and then shattered it, but how’s a caveman going to… eh, never mind.

  2. >Oh, and speaking of horrible comics, remember that Ultimatum #3 comes out next week. Hint, hint.


    …I mean…


  3. Understanding baseball is far geekier than comics. How did you crazy Americans come up with a sport both more complicated and less interesting than CRICKET?

  4. I’m pretty sure it is Jemas, but under an alias.

    He’s cunning that way.

  5. What is Jemas up to these days anyway?

  6. Jemas is working on a painstaking new translation of the Book of Genesis from Hebrew.

    If you think I’m joking, I’m not.


  7. Holy shit. That’s some dedication, at least.

  8. I love how Jemas thinks his story wouldn’t get published because of a fixation on superhero comics and not because it’s, y’know, fucking awful.

    I seriously had no idea it was this horrible. This may very well be worse than Ultimates v3 AND Countdown. That letter definitely makes me lean that way.