Nextwave is the perfect way to kick back and enjoy anything when life turns sour. From the time of its creation to the ever divisive fandoms, this series is practically the perfect medicine. Who needs comics’ penchant for reboots, retcons, status quo changers, and events when you can just have fun? Squirrel Girl? Okay fair, but Warren Ellis got one over Ryan North when Marvel was tearing itself apart over Civil War, especially since this series comes with a dedicated theme song.
Nextwave: Nobodies Have Feelings Too
Nextwave revolves around the adventures of the titular team composed of Marvel D-Listers. Most of these characters on their own are pretty forgettable despite their fascinating power sets and backgrounds. Monica was Captain Marvel at one point, and Elsa’s a monster hunter. But there’s a chemistry about the cast reminiscent of dysfunctional families in sitcoms. The Captain’s the drunk dad; Tabby’s the rebel, Monica’s the authority, etc. But there’s a lot more to them with how they all interact with each other and the just as absurd world. Like when the team calls out their moves as if they’re in a video game.
Not only that, but there’s the general nonsense that comes from comics you can jump right into. Who needs vast overarching narratives when you can amuse yourself with the surrealism you can only find in comics? Men in pterodactyl suits, soldiers made out of broccoli, yet people accept that this is pretty normal. What’s not as normal is how underutilized concepts like Forbush Man appear, but none of the Marvel Universe A-Listers. Because who needs a cheap way to advertise Nextwave?
Nextwave On Defying Expectations
Comics have a very divisive reputation for several reasons: long histories, continuity, and an ever-changing status quo. Nextwave does practically none of that but still comes out on top. Despite the number of explosions that put Michael Bay to shame, Nextwave never takes itself seriously. That’s the problem with many high octane action sequences; with world-ending threats being so common, it’s better to treat them like a joke. If D-listers aren’t going to be remembered for characters, show-up the A-Listers.
Take the team’s numerous jokes at Captain America’s expense, or at least Mark Millar’s interpretation of him. Millar has Steve Rogers be the square-jawed old fashioned type, so much that his Ultimate Universe counterpart is practically a parody of the main one. Yet in Civil War, Millar has the main interpretation act more like the Ultimate version. So Ellis has Nextwave display their interpretations of the Sentinel of Liberty. In short, a stiff sexist ultranationalist; whereas the Captain America of all other times would be unlike this in every way. Hence why the actual Rogers never shows up. It’s all a joke at Millar’s expense.
Mark Millar Licks Goats
Considering nowadays Millar isn’t too fond of his more pessimistic work, he probably welcomes the mockery. Because who can blame him or Ellis for the jokes? During Civil War, Marvel was at its most divisive, for there was no clear message behind the Superhero Act. Yet people took it so seriously. So instead of being a part of the problem, Nextwave takes the opportunity to mock Millar and Marvel behind the scenes.
Marvel Doesn’t Notice Squat
Nextwave has a lot of content that both parodies and foretells events. For example, H.A.T.E. the SHIELD stand-in, has a Fury parody while blind to the fact that H.A.T.E. gets its funding from their enemies. This is way before Hickman’s SHIELD series. But more so than that, the Marvel writers like this series so much they go behind people’s backs to keep Nextwave’s spirit alive. All through the main cast who retain their quirky personalities as they go to guest star in other series. Even the Captain gets his moment in Sean Ryan’s Nova, if you call casually getting drunk during an invasion a moment. At least he’s not a casualty.
Nextwave: Style Over Substance
The art group certainly likes to play up some of the more absurd aspects of this series. Stuart Immonen’s designs range from action-packed to quirky dynamics. For example, the appearance of Fin Fang Foom, who cinematically rises out of the earth in kaiju fashion. All while Chris Eliopoulos’ stand-out captions display some of the more ridiculous aspects of the monster. From how he wants to find a mate but has no genitals. Which calls back to why Foom wears purple boxers for no reason.
Other times Immonen’s designs regarding Dirk Anger’s appliances like a giant telephone and handgun steal the moment. Especially with how Wade von Grawbadger outlines them or how Dave McCaig provides the details through coloring. That’s not to say other more subtle designs come up every now and then to describe character. Tabby’s red clothes, for example, show how much she keeps her superhero life close to her civilian life. Because after having so many codenames that didn’t stick, she likes to have something only she identifies with unlike the rest of Nextwave, who don’t have much outside of superheroics.
Lettering With Attitude
As soon as Eliopoulos steps out, Joe Caramagna shows he’s got just as much moxy. Whether it’s giving specialized fonts to robotic or monstrous characters or the snarky captions in the logo, Caramagna brings the casually sassy attitude that completes Nextwave. Because who else can make the iconic message of “Do You Think This Letter On My Chest Means America?” in such irony?
Do you have some random event? Confusing continuity? Some toxic comic fans? Maybe you’re just getting tired of A-listers that aren’t at the top of their game. Find some comic retailer and get Nextwave! Parodies, over-the-top action and gimmicks, and a crew who are funny without really trying. It’s everything fans should love about comics.
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