I'm interested to see Don Campbell's take on the Martians too, though...
You know, I remember reading these posts back when they were recent, no more than a day or two old, and thinking to myself that I really should post a reply of my own. Well, here it is...and it only took me ten months to get around to doing it.
Regarding the WISDOM mini-series as a whole, I was quite pleased with it. The threats that the MI-13 team faced were new and interesting, and how the team handled them made for good stories. The new characters (Tink the fairy, John the Skrull, Captain Midlands and Maureen Raven) were also interesting but I disappointed myself by not realizing who Maureen was before the fifth (or was it the sixth?) issue. Pete Wisdom came off as a complete jackass and I totally agreed with Shang-Chi that he was "a man who has engineered his own karmic downfall." His inability to trust others led to the Martian invasion and the resulting deaths, and forced him to deal with Maureen himself. Bad karma indeed.
While there were a few story elements that seemed questionable, the only thing that I found to be absolutely wrong was that Alistaire Stuart was depicted as an old man. The last time that I saw him prior to this LS, he was still the young (late 20's/early 30's) man with black hair that he'd always been. It wasn't until the latest issue of CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI: 13 that it was explained that he's been "somewhat mutable in form" ever "since that unfortunate dinner party with Morgan Le Fey." I wonder if this was something that writer Paul Cornell planned from the beginning or if it was just his way of fixing an earlier mistake. By the way, does anyone recall reading about that dinner party in any previous story or it it new?
Finally, as to the Martians, I thought that they were handled quite well. There were a couple of things about them which could have been established more firmly but, on the other hand, maybe it was that very ambiguity that prevented any outright mistakes from being made. For one thing, the only Martian ever actually "seen" on panel looked significantly different from how the aliens from the Killraven stories were depicted. Of course, that in itself was no big surprise. It seems that every art team who ever draws these "Martians" has to create their own image for them, one that is different from how they have previously been portrayed. By now, this single alien race has already been depicted in been four or five different forms, so what's one more?
The other thing that bothered me is the fact that, even though AVENGERS FOREVER firmly established that the "Martians" from AMAZING ADVENTURES were actually aliens who merely used Mars as a staging base for their invasion of Earth, EVERYBODY CONTINUES TO CALL THEM MARTIANS. Even the alien's human translator slave refers to his master as a "Martian scientist." I really, Really, REALLY want someone to give this alien species their own race-name.
By the way, considering the fact that (in X-FORCE #102 - thanks, Jeph!) Pete Wisdom told Alistaire Stuart that "Martians" were cut up in British Intel's primary dissection lab beginning in 1899, were the "Martians" who invaded in WISDOM meant to be from the same species? If they were, then that could reopen the debate as to whether or not Earth-616 experienced the same (or a similar) failed alien invasion in 1901 as Earth-691 did. Of course, since these "Martians" were specifically described as coming from a parallel Earth (presumably Earth-691) which they rule, their appearance in WISDOM doesn't prove anything about Earth-616's history one way or the other.
jephyork wrote:You realize that the main Marvel Universe's sliding timescale, coupled with the fact that Vance Astro's 616 self, Justice, will never significantly age, will eventually mean that Major Astro couldn't have been BORN in the 20th century, let alone become a qualified astronaut?
I mean, Justice is, what, around 24-25 now, in "2008" ... meaning both he and Major Astro (who were THE SAME PERSON prior to M/TIO #69) would have been around 17-18 in "2001". We're already pushing it. In a few more years, the poor guy will be lucky to have readers think he hit puberty by the turn of the 21st century.
I don't think it's tenable to say that the Guardians' timeline DOESN'T have a sliding timescale, given that it branched definitively off of the Marvel Universe, which DOES have a sliding timescale.
Here are my thoughts on the sliding timescale. I view the Marvel Multiverse as a massive railway system, one which begins (at the Big Bang) with a single track which branches out into a infinite number of tracks. Each track represents a different timeline, and each switch is a point of divergence wherein one timeline splits into two or more timelines. Starting at the "past" end there is one train (representing every object in the universe) and its group of passengers (representing all life in the universe) sitting on a single track (representing the original timeline). As the train moves towards the "future" end of the track, it passes through a series of switches (events). Just as the track on which it's travelling splits, so too does the train with its passengers also split into two or more similar-but-different trains with similar-but-different groups of passengers. In this scenario, time travellers are parachutists who drop out of the sky (Limbo) and whose very presence causes switchs to appear beneath the trains in which they land.
The phenomenon known as "Marvel Time" complicates matters somewhat. When Guardians of the Galaxy's Alternate Future Earth first interacted with the mainstream Marvel Earth, they were meant to be the same Earth at different points in its history. For a while, the divergence point between Major Astro's timeline and the main Marvel timeline was thought to be the events in Marvel Two-in-One #69. However, as the "present-day" of the main MU got closer and closer to the fixed date of the Martian invasion (2001 AD), this idea became increasingly unworkable, and the divergence point between the Killraven/Guardians timeline (now called Earth-691) and the main (Earth-616) timeline was pushed further into the past.
Here's my solution to this problem. It doesn't exactly make sense, but hey, neither does "Marvel Time" itself, right?
In the whole Multiversal railway I described above, there is one particular train which has unique properties. Unlike all the other trains which diverge from it, Train-616 is surrounded by a chronal aura of Marvel Time. This aura keeps things within the train young/recent, no matter how much time has (objectively) passed. When alternate trains separate from Train-616, they quickly lose this aura. As a result, events that remain "recent" on Train-616 soon fade into history on other trains. For example, while Vance Astrovik was born "24-25 years ago" on Train-616, it is now accepted that his counterpart on Train-691 was actually born in 1962 or so (as was first established in GIANT-SIZE DEFENDERS #5).
So, that's my answer. While "Marvel Time" keeps people "young" and events "recent" in the mainstream Marvel Universe, it quickly fades from those timelines which diverge from the main MU. As a result, timelines which were once believed to have diverged during a particular adventure (like M/TIO #69) are later determined to have actually diverged much earlier. This in turn means that the participants in those adventures and their other-dimensional counterparts are retroactively determined to have actually been born years or even decades apart, instead of at the same time. In other words, although their genetics and family histories remain the same, Vance-616 and Vance-691 were no longer born on the same date or lived through the same "world events" as they grow/grew up. In short, they were NEVER the same person.
Yes, it is REALLY messy but I can't see any other solution. Trying to integrate a "sliding timescale" timeline with a "fixed dates" timeline just doesn't work for me.