23 July 2013

Spaceknights Going to Infinity!

This are afoot in the Avengers by Jonathan Hickman. It was first teased in #15 when Captain Universe and Manifold travel to an unspecified destination ("somewhere in space") that has "knights" as its guardians. This is the place "where the end begins," according to Captain Universe, and we see a large spaceship approaching.

Avengers #15
In #16, we find out the place is Galador and we get a single panel of Spaceknights flying to meet the ship. (I grabbed the "Galador" caption from a previous panel and inserted it here.) Perhaps you recognize Pulsar, Ikon, Firefall, Terminator, and Starshine?

Avengers #16
Or perhaps you don't because while, with the exception of Ikon, they all invoke the memory of those first generation Spaceknights, the designs don't quite match. And Pulsar is no longer orange, but a yellow-green color. (I presume this was done so that he doesn't blend in with Firefall.)

So what's going on here? We, the readers, don't know. Nor are we supposed to, exactly. All I know is that it's been confirmed that the Spaceknights will have some part to play in Marvel's upcoming event, Infinity. And that's all the facts we have, so now begins the grousing. Marvel needs to pick a direction for the Spaceknights and stick to it!

Let's review. After many years of efforts by various creators to bring back Rom in some fashion, Chris Batista finally succeeded in doing something with the Spaceknights limited series in 2000. He had a new generation, including Rom's two sons, take up the mantles of their predecessors. (He also killed Rom, but given the legal problems surrounding him, we'll let it slide for the moment.) Unfortunately, sales of the series were abysmal so the new Spaceknights were stuck in comic book limbo until 2006, when Keith Giffen briefly used them in Annihlation, only to leave their fate up in the air. The following year, Abnett and Lanning used a previously unknown Spaceknight to kick off the events of Annihilation: Conquest, but do nothing else with them.

A few years later, in 2011, Annihilators introduced Ikon, essentially a a female version of Rom. However, where Rom was noble and kind, she is arrogant. We also check in with Brandy Clark, still the leader of Galador and still fretting over the loss of Rom back in 2000. But oddly, no mention of or appearance by her two sons (or the others from the LS). In the end, we're left with Galador in a unique position, its sun merged with the dark sun of Wraithworld, with both worlds orbiting the merged star. Certainly there's story potential there, but it hasn't been taken advantage of yet.

I admit, I wasn't thrilled at first with the new Spaceknights introduced in 2000, but I came to realize they had real potential. We had a new Javelin, son of the original. We had a new Firefall, who apparently somehow shared his existence with the original. And, of course, we had Liberator and Terminator, Rom's sons, and their mother Brandy Clark, our old friend. But since these Spaceknights weren't successful, there's no one at Marvel overseeing the concept. We're left with a bunch of writers who are fans of Rom all wanting to do their take on the Spaceknights and no editor in charge to keep their story coherent.

I really hope Hickman will be respectful of all that's come before, not just the original Rom series. The more fractured the Spaceknights' history becomes, the less likely they'll ever return to greatness. I'm hoping the Spaceknights don't just go to Infinity, but beyond! I'm hoping, but I'm definitely not counting on it.

1 comment:

  1. i think in a nut shell you had a variety of different writers and artists over the span of nearly 13 years try to continue the Galador/Spaceknight legacy and obviously they all had different visions. to say nothing about how much time (real time) there was in between each incarnation. but i think they were all flawed for one reason or another. and as far as the spaceknights from the Annihilators goes you called it from the very beginning about why they sucked. but i think this time we've got something that's gonna work and that marvel will stick to. can't wait till Avengers Infinity #17 i hope it doesn't disappoint.