Sep 17, 2008

[Comics] Avengers: The Korvac Saga

Avengers: The Korvac SagaWhenever you collect several super heroes into a single group, naturally the need for larger and more challenging villains comes along. The logic seems to follow the notion that if one hero can handle a single villain in his or her individual comic book title, then a group of heroes either needs to face a group with similar strength or individual super villains of such overwhelming strength that they cannot manage it individually.

In the Marvel Universe their front line super hero group has always been the Avengers, whose roster has grown to a ridiculous number over the years. They've always been somewhat a military / government organization provided they even have reservist members versus active ones.

Over the years, various writers have explored having villains of varying types that could truly challenge the Avengers and the results have been mixed over the years.

Avengers: The Korvac Saga is one such major story arc that dealt with a supremely powerful adversary in the form of Korvac. The story develops with a slow enough pace given the Avengers are preoccupied by other villains like Ultron while the Guardians of the Galaxy, presently in their time as they came from the future, look out for Korvac and work to protect their future timeline. Michael Korvac (his full given name) appears to have developed cosmic abilities for some reason and has chosen to hide himself as an "ordinary" human living in Queens with his love interest Carina.

The Avengers face Korvac on the cover of The A...Image via Wikipedia For most of the issues, Korvac continues to operate behind the scenes in order to manipulate events and keep his presence secret from greater cosmic entities given his nearly overwhelming powers. He was even initially discovered by Starhawk and this forces Korvac to obliterate him then recreate him with the limitation that Starhawk could no longer perceive Korvac with any of his senses. Ultimately the Avengers track him down and the true battle ensues as almost every Avenger along with the Guardians of the Galaxy and even Ms. Marvel do their best to try and defeat him.

In terms of pacing, the story is sadly slow. I know the attempt here was to be subtle and somewhat smart about the plot development but there is also such a thing as being too slow. Then again, the heroes were facing other significant villains at the time plus continued interference from the US government who were monitoring their compliance with security standards, so I suppose it was understandable to a limited degree. The pacing only becomes an issue when you pick up the compilation and expect it to be all about Korvac and how the Avengers face them and end up with so many other stories and Korvac being in the background.

Also it remains largely unclear what exactly Korvac is supposed to be for the most part. In many of the issues, he's just some guy who wears short shorts and lives in Queens with a female character who wasn't written very well. She comes off as very stereotypical and somewhat flat and her only real worth happens in the very last battle.

The government angle and the internal struggle with Iron Man as chairman of the Avengers was an interesting sub-plot for the entire story arc given it made the Avengers more human and clearly presented the limitations they faced as a super hero organization. I can't remember the Justice League ever needing to commandeer a bus in order to get to a battle scene because the government has denied them the use of US airspace in their Quinjets.

The story as a whole, though, could have been a lot better written and the characterization of Korvac could have been better handled. Marvel had an initial tendency in previous years to try and keep their stories very human at the core and sometimes this gets mishandled and ends up coming off as cheesy and overly simplistic. I mean seriously, Korvac spends most of his time trying to avoid detection by the cosmic powers in the universe and doesn't really have an agenda to forward and so the exact reason why the Avengers need to put him down is a bit weird.

It was fun letting him kill pretty much all of them given his cosmic abilities but given it was a Marvel story, that status didn't last very long, hehe.


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