Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"Better than rock-paper-scissors, but not as decisive."


There are few constants in life. But these should be. Captain America's shield: indestructible. Thor's hammer Mjolnir: indestructible. The Silver Surfer's board: indestructible.

...for all practical purposes. (Some writers seem to prefer the Surfer's board as less a physical object, more like energy manifested by the Surfer. Which would also be unbreakable.)

Maybe once in ten, fifteen years; a story will come along as acceptable for the unbreakable to get broke: Cap's shield shattered in Secret Wars? Dramatic! Cap's shield broken in Waid's run? A mystery...resolved with asspull, but still interesting. Cap crying over his broken shield in Fear Itself? Did that even happen, or it was symbolic?

Likewise, for Thor, there was an old DeFalco/Frenz story, where Thor breaks a good chunk off his hammer trying to stop the Celestials from destroying a planet. (Or something, I'd have to find Thor #388-389.) And I think a chunk was broken off again in Thor #600, wherein Thor is manipulated into fighting his grandpa...look, all I really remember of that ish is the Mini-Marvels strip. And Mjolnir's Wikipedia page mentions a few more breaks as well.

Off the top of my head, we saw Firelord smash the Surfer's board in Silver Surfer #146, for one. The board blinks out in Silver Surfer #40 when the Surfer is cut off from his cosmic power; and we saw the Hulk give breaking it a try in Incredible Hulk #250.

Thanos shatters Cap's shield in Infinity Gauntlet, and I almost thought he broke Mjolnir and the Surfer's board there too, but maybe not. The trifecta, all three were destroyed by the Molecule Man in Avengers #215! Then reconstituted the next month in #216.

With the exception of Fear Itself, what do most of these occurences of unbreakable breakage have in common? They weren't hyped events. A lot of them aren't even on the cover! And now Marvel's trotting them out as if they were the most monumentally dramatic moments ever, even though it has been only a couple of years since the last time it happened. In point of fact, Mjolnir breaking or Cap's shield being smashed, are about as exciting as the big reveal being Dr. Doom was a robot the whole time!

Topless Robot pointed out the broken Mjolnir teaser, but only as an afterthought to a discussion of DC's new 52 and George Perez quitting Superman. Rob takes the tack that DC's ongoing disaster is at least more novel than Mjolnir breaking again; well, maybe.



4 comments:

Dale Bagwell said...

Well I do have Infinity Gauntlet trade, so no, no Hammer smashing or Surfboard breaking there.

I don't honestly know why an ad for Fear Itself had Cap crying over a broken shield, as that scene never happened, but I guess it was a symbolism for Bucky-Cap dying. Of course he's back as Winter Solider, as he should be, but does Cap know Bucky's back. That really makes out new Cap and Buck-Cap figures totally obsolete, but then we already knew that was bound to happen at some point and time.

As for Thor's hammer breaking, hasn't that kind of been done to death already? I know you cited some examples, but it just seems like to me, that should be reserved for once every decade, so that'll have more impact and meaning.

Didn't Jack Kirby do that first? Maybe not.

Nice article, and nice caption too. I think you have a future in this business one day:)

Dale Bagwell said...

Well I do have Infinity Gauntlet trade, so no, no Hammer smashing or Surfboard breaking there.

I don't honestly know why an ad for Fear Itself had Cap crying over a broken shield, as that scene never happened, but I guess it was a symbolism for Bucky-Cap dying. Of course he's back as Winter Solider, as he should be, but does Cap know Bucky's back. That really makes out new Cap and Buck-Cap figures totally obsolete, but then we already knew that was bound to happen at some point and time.

As for Thor's hammer breaking, hasn't that kind of been done to death already? I know you cited some examples, but it just seems like to me, that should be reserved for once every decade, so that'll have more impact and meaning.

Didn't Jack Kirby do that first? Maybe not.

Nice article, and nice caption too. I think you have a future in this business one day:)

SallyP said...

mmmm...bearclaws. Thor has the right idea.

Sleestak said...

When Surfer's board was bent and shattered way back when by a badoon (?) android Buscema showed the surfer really distressed by it. It was a pretty shocking scene at the time.