Beta Ray Bill is a constant favorite of mine. He is one of the things that is so cool about comics. He makes just about no sense. Try explaining him to an outsider. However, within the complex Marvel Universe, he makes so much sense that he is almost essential to validate the complexity of the universe. If there is really THAT MUCH strangeness going on, of course there are going to be bizarre hybrids. Their world has gods and aliens and robots and monsters, it only makes sense for them to all come together. The “fact” of his existence makes the Marvel Universe one big thing rather than isolated story pockets. What could drive this point even further home? If Bill married Rogue from the X-Men. No really, actually think about that for a second. It would be SO awesome. It would be another firm tie between story worlds, and it would just be awesome. Picture the bachelor party!
Anyway, Bill played a great part in Secret Invasion: Thor. There were cool oathes sworn and bad-ass declarations. A follow up wasn’t demanded b any unresolved plotlines in that story. But, it did shine an big light on Bill on he huge stage of Secret Invasion and may have left a whole bunch of potential new fans clamoring for more. If this book is a test run, to see if there is enough interest to support a Bill book….count me in. THIS would finally be the cosmic Marvel book that I would actually buy.
What worked: The story was straight-forward, exciting, and plotted specifically around Bill. This stor could only be about a kinda-god in a universe of god-like beings. Sometimes these one-shots feel like they may have been pitched for a different character, and altered to fit which ever character had an opening in an editor’s agenda. This is NOT just a warmed-over Black Bolt story.
The main conflict arises directly from who the character is, and he resolves in a similarly suitable fashion.
This story spun out of Secret Invasion, but stands on its own strength.
What did not work: A common problem with the even expanding scale of super-heroic comics is the lack of plausible villains. The real character conflict of this story would have been just as relevant if Beta Ray Bill did not have an Nth-class bad ass to throw down with….But, as fans, we demand some throw down! We need to see Bill brawl! So, it is really our fault that the physical threat posed to him seems a bit tacked on. It wasn’t exactly a flaw in the story, it just didn’t really flow naturally from the more emotional central conflict.
Though, perhaps this is simply a genre conceit. Like in a kung-fu story, each world-view and perspective is embodied by a different kung-fu master…maybe in a Cosmic/Norse story, each point-of-view will be expressed by some slightly-random cosmic bad-ass.