MARVEL BOY: Frequently Asked (and other) Questions V1.0:
Written by Mario Di Giacomo (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the assistance of the Barbelith Underground (http://www.barbelith.com) and Eduardo Blake (email@example.com).
Lots and lots of SPOILERS
I) What's MARVEL BOY?
MARVEL BOY is a six-issue miniseries written by Grant Morrison (JLA, INVISIBLES), and penciled by JG Jones, with inking assistance by Sean Parsons, and one page by Ryan Kelly. The story was published by Marvel Comics, under the Marvel Knights imprint. A trade paperback is being solicited this summer, and two more six-issue minis are expected.
II) Marvel Boy? Isn't he an Avenger?
No, this is a new character, although there have been several Marvel Boys in the past:
Marvel Boy 1: Real Name, Martin Burns. First Appearance: Daring Mystery Comics #6. He's the reincarnation of Hercules. A variation of his origin (involving an accident in a museum) appeared in USA Comics #7.
Marvel Boy 2: Real Name, Robert Grayson. First appearance: Marvel Boy #1. He and his father left Earth to find a better life, ending up on Uranus. Bob grew up, got some funky wristbands and a bad costume, and came back to Earth. He eventually turned evil, and his wristbands became the property of Wendell Vaughn, now the cosmic hero known as Quasar.
Marvel Boy 3: Real Name: Vance Astrovik. First appearance: Giant-Size Defenders #5, but technically Marvel Super Heroes #18. The temporal duplicate of a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Vance is a powerful telekinetic, who changed his name to Justice as a member of the New Warriors. He, along with his fiancée Firestar, were Avengers for a while. [BTW, he's no relation to Jean Grey (Marvel Girl)]
Marvel Boy 4: Real name: Inapplicable. First Appearance: Quasar #26. An evil clone of Marvel Boy #2.
Marvel Boy 5: Real Name: David Bank. First appearance: Justice: Four Balance #4. Apparently, he can do anything, if he thinks he can. Vance gave him the Marvel Boy costume and name in the course of the mini.
III) So this is Marvel Boy #6?
Not really, since nobody ever calls him that in the story.
IV) So who is he?
Noh-Varr Marvel, an ensign of the dimension-schooner Marvel (possibly the source of his last name), assigned to the 18th Kree Diplomatic gestalt.
V) Kree? Does he know Captain Marvel?
No, Noh-Varr is from a parallel dimension, he's not connected to any of the previous Captains Marvel, or to Ms. Marvel.
Captain Marvel 1: Real name, Mar-Vell. First appearance: Marvel Super-Heroes #12. A Kree astronaut stranded on Earth, Mar-Vell eventually became Quasar's predecessor as Protector of the Universe, who died in Marvel Graphic Novel #1: The Death of Captain Marvel.
Captain Marvel 2: Real Name: Monica Rambeau, now known as Photon. First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16. An Avenger with control over electromagnetic radiation. Oddly enough, she works closely with quasar, but is otherwise unrelated to the others.
Captain Marvel 3: Real name: Genis-Vell, formerly called Legacy. First Appearance: Silver Surfer Annual #6. The test-tube son of Captain Mar-Vell and the Titanian Eternal Elysius. Like his father, he's been merged with Rick Jones. The rest is rather complicated. :)
Ms. Marvel, a.k.a. Binary, now called Warbird. Real Name: Carol Danvers. First Appearance: Marvel Super-Heroes #13. Carol was chief of security when Mar-Vell landed on earth. She was accidentally irradiated with a Kree weapon, and gained super powers as a result. She lost _those_ powers to Rogue. Then she gained cosmic powers from the alien Brood. She's lost most of those powers too. Now she's an avenger again.
VI) OK, I get it...so what can he do?
Quite a bit. His DNA has been merged with that of a cockroach (much like the Kree Pursuer, from the Inhumans v1.11.). this gives him superhuman agility, the ability to climb walls, and a top running speed of 86 miles an hour. No "cockroach sense"..I think.
Furthermore, he has several nanotech implants, giving him mind control spit, exploding thumbnails, and the ability to turn the sensation of pain into music. He also has access to all sorts of toys (see MBI's, below).
VII) What about the Plex? That's the Supreme Intelligence, right?
In his own words. "Welcome to the We-Plex Supreme Intelligence system. The Plex is a programmable piezoplasm housing the accumulated wisdombase of the entire Kree race -- accessed via a multiple personality interface."
In other words, yes, but not the one you know about.
VIII) Who else was on the ship?
Captain Glory, who wore Mar-Vell's second costume, but used the original's color scheme. Rogue Fantastic, a cross between Mr. Fantastic and possibly Rogue or Colonel Yon-Rogg of the Kree. Merree, Noh-Varr's girlfriend. Star Splendor, and two un-named crewwomen. All were killed by Doctor Midas.
IX) Midas? The old Iron Man villain?
No, that's Mordecai Midas, last seen on the bottom of the Atlantic. This Midas is a very wealthy psychotic obsessed with increasing his personal power and influence, and also with gaining the powers of the Fantastic Four. Among other things, he acquired the brain of Doctor Yinsen, the man who helped build the original Iron man armor, and forced it to design a suit for him. (as seen in Iron Man Annual 2000).
X) And Oubliette?
Midas's daughter, raised as a killing machine (an exterminatrix, even). She wore a mask, believing she was horribly scarred, but the only scar she had, her father gave her. Comparisons with Doctor Doom are appropriate.
XI) This is all in a parallel universe, right?
Probably not. Joe Quesada, the editor, says no, but JG Jones, the artist, says yes. In fact, Grant himself, in the solicitation for the first issue, said the following:
"Marvel Boy is not one of the Kree we´re familiar with from books like Avengers and Captain Marvel. He´s a super diplomat who´s spent a few years adventuring across numerous alternate realities and bizarre dimensions.
"Now, IN THE MARVEL UNIVERSE, he must use all of his skills and powers just to stay alive and continue his one-man guerrilla war against our planet."
Furthermore, in Wizard 109, Joe Quesada said that Grant wants to bring back the Skrull Kill Krew in the second mini. This would also imply that the series occurs in the Marvel Universe.
The evidence against it is as follows.
A] Nobody else notices the carnage and destruction.
However, this is not uncommon in Marvel.
B] Dum-dum Dugan is called Director of SHIELD.
Actually, according to some resources, his official title _is_ Director. Specifically, Special director, assisting Nick Fury (or, I suppose, Sharon Carter, now) in the duties of public director.
C] SHIELD has an orbital space station and a psi division.
Neither of these are exactly new. In fact, both existed in SHIELD history before, so the idea they rebuilt is not exactly beyond belief.
D] Midas has too much influence, but we've never heard of him before.
Well, that's the point. if he was publicly known, all sorts of tights-types would have shut him down. :)
E] Reed Richards discovered the Positive Zone, not the Negative Zone.
Why couldn't he have discovered both? He probably discovers six new dimensions before breakfast.
F] Didn't they say Captain America was dead?
No, only that some time has passed since he "carried a nation's hopes into battle". This is true, since he hasn't been a soldier in 55 years.
XII) What's this about a magic spell?
In an interview with Warren Ellis, Grant said the following:
"Fellow magicians, for instance, may immediately recognise in the six issues of MARVEL BOY a fairly blatant supersigil invocation/download of the incoming current of Horus, the newly arriving Lord of the Aeon."
Now, the Aeon of Horus is a concept from Thelema, but according to Aleister Crowley, it started in 1904. So your guess is as good as mine. There is some indication that Noh-Varr's emblem is a sigil of Horus, but I have no proof.
Omnilad, of the Barbelith Underground, had this to add:
In a nutshell, as I see it, the predominant self-image or god or mask or whatever of western culture is transitioning from the guilt and voluntary immersion in hell of the crucified father (Christ, Osiris, Adonis, Sir Miles, Midas) to the destructive creativity and joy of life of the rising son (Horus, Jack Frost, Noh Varr, the Baltimore Ravens).
I still don't know whether Morrison is merely recording the transition to this new aeon, encouraging it, or not-so-secretly masterminding the whole show.
Television Nasty added the following.
"The 1904 thing refers to when Mr. Crowley received the Book of the Law from a preter-human intelligence proclaiming the coming of the Aeon of Horus. Considering that the previous Aeon of Osiris lasted for 2000+ years, we are still technically in the first half hour of the new Aeon.
"A lot of Thelemite's of my acquaintance tend to think more in terms of 'currents' than 'aeons', meaning the Aeon of Horus is more like an over riding cultural meme than a specific time period measurable on a calendar. The thinking is that these things don't happen over night, there wasn't a particular day when we left the Aeon of Osiris and entered the Aeon of Horus. There are still aspects of Orisian thinking at work in our current society, but this is being gradually replaced by the new current.
"Marvel Boy is clearly an avatar of Horus, right down to the fact that he wears the Eye of Horus symbol on his costume. Horus is a war god, "the lord of force and fire", hence Noh Varr's full on revolutionary attitude and penchant for destruction. So there you go.
"If you speak to some of the Typhonian lot they might mention the Horus/Maat double current. This is a school of thought that says the Aeon of Horus is now in the process of being replaced by the Aeon of Maat, who is an Egyptian vulture goddess. And that the 2 Aeons are currently running in tandem. I'm not entirely convinced by this, mainly because an Aeon that only lasted 100 years would be a tiny Aeon indeed, but whatever floats yer boat I suppose."
Part II: Mad and Beautiful Ideas.
Just a list of things from the series.
Epiphany Engines, powered by faith.
The ship having a cortex, not a bridge, not to mention "sensorskin". It can also telephase and tap into power grids.
The Unfinished Universe, with Kirby Machines. Doctor Midas's collection, including, a Skrull, a Badoon, and unless I am mistaken Toomazooma, the Living Totem.
A limbo lounge, probably a place where time slows down.
A flame-thrower that grows out of a wristband.
The Bannermen. Hulk meets Wolverine meets Captain America.
Omniwave. Short range hive-mind control.
A pocket battlefield, from the Pink Pantheon. Choose your own laws of physics.
No sign of Inspector Clouseau.
The Matter Fax.
Multi-screen, multidimensional TV.
Hexus, the Living Corporation.
Idealus the Fictional Man
Brainstorm data transfers.
Replicating rifle grenades
Cosmic ray bullets.
White Running, total Zen.
Helicoptera with razor sharp rotor-wings.
Astro-gods from the First Firmament.
Sink-suits powered by epic genocide and gravity refraction.
The Mindless Ones (first appearance: Strange Tales #127)
Zen Fascism (which, nearly as I can see translates to "Our way works. Don't think about it").
The fall of Disney.
And of course, the capital city of the new Kree Empire.
Part III: Cameos.
The Fantastic Four: Issue #1
Dum Dum Dugan: #2, #6
Lord Fanny and Jack Frost of the Invisibles: #2
The Avengers (alternate version): #5
The evil twins of Noh-Varr's crew: #5
A version of the Authority: #5
The Impossible Man and family: #5