We live in a political world,
Where peace is not welcome at all.
It’s humbly turned away from the door to wander some more.
Or put up against the wall.
—“Political World” by Bob Dylan.
Broken lines, broken strings,
Broken threads, broken springs,
Broken idols, broken heads.
People sleeping in broken beds.
Ain’t no use jiving.
Ain’t no use joking.
Everything is broken.
—“Everything is Broken” by Bob Dylan
I’m a big fan of Dan Abnett’s run on Guardians 3000. It’s all superheroes and pulp sci-fi. It’s got those Gerardo Sandoval interior pages and those stunning Alex Ross covers. It’s cool fun. Retro future fabulous.
And I’m a big fan of “The Korvac Saga,” from the pages of The Avengers way back in ‘77 and ‘78. Jim Shooter and David Michelinie and George Perez and Sal Buscema and a whole host of others brought it to life. I was ten years old and it was crazy. It had all the Avengers plus the Guardians of the Galaxy, plus Ultron and the Collector and Korvac, too. Reading it now I have to wonder if there was ever a plan or an outline or if the whole thing just unfolded from month to month in the thoughts and dreams of the Marvel Bullpen. Comic storytelling as improvisational jazz.
So I just knew that I was going to love Abnett’s “Secret Wars” book, Korvac Saga. Abnett and the Guardians plus the Avengers and Korvac. I just knew that I was going to love it.
And so far I do. I really do.
But I confess that it has caught me a little by surprise.
It certainly has all the right characters. The original Guardians of the Galaxy, of course. And these Avengers are my Avengers: Mar-Vell, Moondragon, Yellow Jacket and the Vision. I’ve got no problem with that. No problem at all.
So I’m loving it because it all feels so damn familiar. Just what I wanted.
But I’m still surprised.
Because as I’m reading these first two issues I keep hearing Bob Dylan’s Oh Mercy album playing in my head. Like a soundtrack. You remember Oh Mercy, don’t you? 1989. Everything you wanted in a Bob Dylan album. Familiar. But surprising, just the same.
At first it’s “What Was It You Wanted” that I’m hearing, only it’s Willie Nelson’s cover of the song that’s playing in my mind. His performance at the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert. But then that becomes Dylan’s “Political World” and then Dylan’s “Everything is Broken.” And those are the songs. Those are the songs.
“We live in a political world. Where peace is not welcome at all.”
“No use jiving. No use joking. Everything is broken.”
Those songs sound like what I’m reading and what I’m seeing in the pages of Abnett’s and Otto Schmidt’s Korvac Saga. On the surface it’s all superheroes battling monsters and then battling each other. It’s the Guardians of the Galaxy (original team) against the Avengers (Mar-Vell, Moondragon, Yellow Jacket, and the Vision, no less.) But under the surface there is something more.
There’s a political story. Calculating politicians. Masses more impressed by glamour than by substance. Personal ambition. Jealousy.
It’s a political story that Abnett and Schmidt make me believe right from the start, probably because it seems so damn familiar. Feels like 1989 all over again. Reagan out. Bush I in. Wars for oil. Walls starting to crumble. Feels like 2015. Obama leaving. Trump rising. Peace treaties and war mongers.
But there is another story here as well. There’s superheroes fighting monsters. Superheroes fighting each other. Guardians versus Avengers. (You know you want to see it.) A political world.
Plus. Something cosmic. Visions of stars. A journey to the heart of reality. A journey that reveals the truth. The truth that Dylan has always known.
“Broken lines, broken strings, broken threads, broken springs, broken idols, broken heads.”
Truth served with a shudder, a little bit of cosmic fear. Holy dread.
And damn, if that ain’t pretty familiar, too. Damn if it ain’t.
I’m a big fan of Dan Abnett’s Korvac Saga. At least I sure hope to be. There’s quite a bit to go yet. But it’s two issues in and I’m having fun. It’s just what I expected.
With a few surprises.
And with a soundtrack that keeps playing in my head.