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Todd C Matthy Comic Book News

by Todd Matthy

With the final issue of “Planetary” dropping tomorrow, I’ve decided to spotlight another series destined to join the ranks of ‘delayed for far too long’ lore,”The Twelve”. Does anybody remember “The Twelve”? You know that 12 issue maxi series Marvel produced written by J. Michael Straczynski about Twelve forgotten heroes from the Golden Age that were placed in suspended animation by Nazis and revived in the 21st century? I thought you did, but if you didn’t it’s understandable considering the last issue came out in October of LAST YEAR!

Despite it’s ‘man out of time’ theme and similarity to Alex Ross’ golden age revival, “Project Superpowers”, “The Twelve” was an interesting, character driven piece, that re-introduced long forgotten characters and concepts to the modern Marvel Universe…with a mystery thrown in for good measure. What sets this series apart from other revivals is the attention to character and details that Straczynski puts in each character. For example, when the Phantom Reporter first awakens in the modern world he immediately knows is not his. How he knew? By observing the nurse’s dress. It was so obvious and yet nobody has ever used it (to my knowledge) before. There’s Dynamic Man, the ‘other’ man of tomorrow, who thinks our world has gone mad thanks to (gasp!) interracial couples. The original Black Widow, who is sexy as ever but is deadly to every man she touches due to a curse that continues to haunt her. Mastermind Excello, whose isolates himself in a lead lined mansion due to the noise of modern technology interfering with his psychic powers. Rockman, who desperately wants to return to his underground kingdom but may be a kook instead. And the Laughing Mask, who is arrested for executing a mobster sixty years ago.

These are only a few of the character driven stories found in “The Twelve” and Stracyznski has barely spotlighted the murder of the Blue Blade. So, how is it all going to end? Which heroes will live? Who will die? Who will retire? How will they fit in the larger tapestry of the Marvel Universe? What will Norman Osborn do with them? These are questions we all have, that won’t be answered anytime soon. Why? Because Marvel put the series on hiatus last year after issue 8. Why?

Marvel says Straczynski and artist Chris Weston have Hollywood commitments to fulfill. However, JMS has been able to finish up his “Thor” run, revive the “Red Circle” heroes, and write “The Brave and the Bold” for DC. If he’s able to do all that why can’t he finish “The Twelve”? What’s the excuse? Why didn’t Marvel have him finish the scripts before he started his DC work? If Weston is too busy in Hollywood, perhaps a replacement with his style could finish up? Marvel’s done it before, why not now?

I don’t know but I’d like to find out. More importantly, I want to see “The Twelve” come to its conclusion before it becomes irrelevant like “Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do”.

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