Apr 2, 2013

[Comics] Realm of Kings (Marvel)

The events in War of Kings left the Marvel Universe with a new state of affairs - at least for the more cosmic-scale / space-related characters. This next crossover event, Realm of Kings tried to add onto those developments, tie up a few more loose ends and of course set the stage for the next epic tale.

But this also felt a tad forced, in some ways, with other aspects of the overall narrative in need of a bit more development. It probably wasn't too big a coincidence that the end of this storyline was marked by the Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova comic books being put on hiatus indefinitely. While this story arc did help set the stage for The Thanos Imperative, I can't shake the feeling that this was more about doing the best with what was available as opposed to this being a story that the creators really wanted to tell.

To be fair, it's not exactly a bad story. But it could have been a heck of a lot better.

Synopsis: Realm of Kings is a 2010 Marvel comic book crossover event written by Dan Abnett  and Andy Lanning. It is a direct follow-up to War of Kings.

The events in War of Kings certainly left us with a very new status quo. The Inhumans had completed their takeover of the Kree Empire, but the price they paid was the death of Blackbolt after the detonation of his T-bomb during the fight with Shi'ar Emperor Vulcan. Beyond that, the detonation has created a massive tear in reality known as The Fault - a rip that threatens all creation.

So while the Inhuman Royal Family continue to address the aftereffects of the war, Crystal is getting used to her husband, Ronan the Accuser. Quasar is sent into the Fault itself to investigate the cosmic event and determine what else can be done. And Nova has his own troubles as a sort of offshoot of the creation of the Fault. As for the Shi'ar, Gladiator now finds himself in charge of the Empire and he dispatches his own mission into the Fault.

Ultimately we all learn that the Fault is more than just a hole - its a gateway to another universe that is similar to theirs and yet different. The term best used to describe it is that it's a "cancerverse" where Life has won and Death has lost. Thus everyone is now immortal and thus the universe it teeming with life like a cancer-riddled host and death is an impossibility. And with the two universes joined, the cancerverse residents are eager to expand into new territory.

I felt too much of the story was spent depicting a lot of hollow action that didn't really seem to do much. The Inhumans had their little side quest as they cemented their new rule over the Kree. Guardian had to be all emo and introspective about being turned into a leader instead of the warrior that he always sees himself as. And we get all these idiots just jumping into the Fault to see what happens.

Naturally it's the Guardians who seem to have their heads in the right place as they try to determine a way to contain the Fault and perhaps eventually repair the damage. But they're but a small group of voices in a much larger universe.

I think I got tired of a lot of the whining and drama that was going on here and there. And as much as it could have been cool to involve blatantly Cthulhu-derived Many-Angled Ones from this cancerverse, they were just these big gross monsters and not much else. I feel that Marvel experienced the same problem that IDW faced with its own Infestation storyline. Cthulhu horrors need to be more than just big, slimey and with lots of tentacles. There was the inevitable magical angle to things, the need for worship, the sacrifice and summoning. All of these things were not predominantly present.

They only wanted to bring in all those evil twin versions of the various Marvel heroes and have them fight the diverse crew brought together by Nova, the Guardians and whoever else got dragged into the mess.

Realm of Kings was a lot messier and felt like it just wanted to get things done and over with. And I don't even fully get why the Son of Hulk mini-series had to be bundled into this story as well - or maybe I just don't like his character very much. Still, these things had to happen and The Thanos Imperative was admittedly more interesting.

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