Wednesday, July 08, 2009

"No Man Employs the Manhunters."

I would've liked to get at least one more Manhunter for this one, to better give the impression that there were an army of long-necked, frowny-faced robots. I paid $1.20 a piece for these two, marked down from $6.99; which makes me wonder if the new articulation model for DC Infinite Heroes is even going to make it to the shelves. I guess they could always release it online, which seems to be the way the winds are blowing lately.

A questionable history lesson, with the Manhunters, the Transformers, and Galactus; after the break!

For those of you who aren't DC historians: The Manhunters were the first attempt from the Guardians of the Universe (the little blue guys in red smocks, that I still don't have figures of, but could probably sub in Papa Smurf) at a universe-wide peace keeping force. They were androids equipped with stun guns they charged with proto-Green Lanterns, and kept the peace for (at least) thousands of years. Then they went bad, power-mad, and tried to take over. Failing miserably, the androids were abandoned; and the Guardians replaced them with the Green Lantern Corps.

I used to know the ballpark timeline on this: if the universe is like five billion years old, and the Guardians became Guardians four billion years ago...and I could be way off on this, but I swear I thought Steve Englehart marked a lot of their history in billion year increments, with the Manhunters at three and the GLC coming in at two. Two billion years of Green Lanterns? The number staggers the mind a bit to casually throw around, not to mention that would mean the Corps survived all that time yet has been just about demolished two or three times since letting earth men in...

If I was better organized, I could probably figure out the Transformers timeline as well. In the old comics (and again, I'm going off memory here) the war between the Autobots and Decepticons had been going for umpteen billion years, before Optimus Prime and Megatron's crews crashed on earth back in the Paleozoic era or thereabouts. OK, but then when they were finally revived around 1984, not only is the war on Cybertron still going, with people they knew from before they were lost, but Optimus and Megatron are still somehow in charge, aren't they? Shouldn't they have been replaced after going missing, and shouldn't that have been done after maybe a month or so? (Similarly, in the first movie, Megatron was frozen in ice for something like eighty years or so; but when Starscream catches up to him, he still obsequiously defers to his leader as if Megs had just been out for a coffee break. Wouldn't Starscream have taken over during that time?) I think later work has glossed this over a bit, that Prime and Megs were leaders of their respective factions or cells, but the larger Autobot and Decepticon nations continued without them. War aside, you can debate for yourselves why the Transformers as a species aren't much changed in millions of years...

Then there's Galactus, and his heralds. How long was the Silver Surfer's stint as herald? Conservatively, I think it was decades; but it's hard to say. The Zenn-Lavians like Norrin Radd and Shalla Bal appear to be pretty long-lived, but in the classic Stan Lee/John Buscema series, Shalla still looks on the younger side. And she's still pining away for her lost love like he's been gone for a good chunk of time; but maybe not centuries.

On the sliding timescale of Marvel, Galactus arrived on earth and was stopped by the Fantastic Four maybe eight or nine years ago. Since the betrayal of the Surfer, Galactus has had several other heralds: Air-Walker, Firelord, and the Destroyer; all of whom would've had short tenures before Frankie Raye became Nova. If you figure the first visit of Galactus was before Franklin Richards was born, and he was maybe four when Frankie, Galactus was just giving away the power cosmic there for a while.

Of course, none of those happened in the same fictional continuum, outside of my toy pile anyway. I was going to finish up with a couple of Manhunter pages--none from Millenium, the Manhunters' revenge, though: I bought that series as it came out, but have long since lost it. And most of the crossovers. Still, maybe a Manhunter page or two on Friday.

Oh, and the Optimus and Megatron in this strip may look a little different than you're used to: I believe they were both from the Robots in Disguise cartoon. Not the best one; and it was a little more kiddy than a lot of fans were hoping for, but if I remember right it was the first non-Beast Wars Transformers cartoon and toys back on American shelves in years. They've maintained their presence since.

I'm not an expert on that show, though: I remember Skybyte, the flying shark; and one of the "Autobot Brothers" with a somewhat inappropriate love of earth cars. Look it up sometime, if you're curious. Probably still made more sense than the movie, anyway...

1 comment:

SallyP said...

Excellent history lesson! Now all that...unpleasantness in Sector 666 makes sense!