Eve of Infinity:
A Minor Manifesto on the Marvel Writings
of Jonathan Hickman
(Editor's Note: Fanboy Planet is adapting an earlier article of Darren's in celebration of the upcoming Marvel Infinity -- not to be confused with Disney Infinity)
The writing of JONATHAN HICKMAN is expansive, imaginative, and universe building. His first three MARVEL titles (Fantastic Four, Secret Warriors, SHIELD) were concerned with grand recurring themes that will reverberate through the Marvel Universe and into the future of mainstream comics.
Hickman is concerned with how we view reality. If we envision a future. Are we, as a species, in retreat? Have we given up?
As Reed Richards puts it:
"The Future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet, but one trillion human beings spanning an entire galaxy. The future of man is not here...it is out there. Because it's our next horizon...Because it's what's next."
So, the FANTASTIC FOUR / FFis concerned with the future..
SECRET WARRIORS is concerned with the past, using a relic of the cold war (Nick Fury) to destroy the old paradigm (Hydra vs. Shield) and form a new one out of the wreckage.
If Captain America is what we wish America to be, Nick Fury deals with what America is, with what it has become and what needs to happen to change that.
SHIELD lays out a grand mythology for the foundation of an organization that actually stretches back to ancient Egypt. The major protagonists include Leonardo Da Vinci, Tesla, Michelangelo, etc.
It straddles the line between the PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE and makes an argument for the irrelevance of linear time.
“I believe...I believed in an idea. Of a place where knowledge was boundless and the only thing greater was the imagination that fueled it. A place beyond ingrained ideas. Beyond limits. Beyond the things that made us normal. A place where a man could become something more than the sum of what he had been taught. I thought it would be this place...I was wrong.”
Deep stuff, right?
It's a true epic in the Marvel tradition, one that seeks to respect what came before and expand on it. There are overlapping characters, linked conspiracies, alternate realities.
Constant rewards for a starved comic populace, his stuff is exciting to read and makes actions in his corner of the Marvel Universe feel consequential. Hickman has entered the rarified air of a Grant Morrison or Ed Brubaker in his ability to tell involving stories that embrace and transcend the medium.
Epilogue on the Eve of INFINITY
The scope and influence of Jonathan Hickman has only grown since I originally posted this Minor Manifesto over a year ago. He is now the writer of EAST of WEST, MANHATTAN PROJECTS, AVENGERS, NEW AVENGERS and, coming this week, the cosmic crossover event to rival all others that have come before: INFINITY.
It will be on our shelves August 14th and promises to carry with it the cosmic consequences and the sweeping themes we have come to expect from this one man idea factory.
Darren Thomas is General Manager of both Earth-2 Comics, 15017 Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks, and 8967 Reseda Blvd. in Northridge, California. A poet and a preacher, Darren is extremely well-read and a connoisseur of the finest alternative music. Looking for recommendations? Digging the shop music? He's the man to talk to--especially if the topic is crime fiction.
As always, look to your local comics shop for the books discussed here on Fanboy Planet -- Earth-2 in Sherman Oaks and Northridge, The Comic Bug in Manhattan Beach, Illusive Comics & Games in Santa Clara would all be great places.
But if you live in an area where you are not served by a comics shop (GASP!), we do provide a helpful Amazon link.