Sunday, September 4, 2016

Interlude - John Byrne

Between each actual episode of Unearthly Vision's where I talk about specific story arcs or story elements concerning the Etheric Avenger, while I do research for the next episode (in other words, rereading old back issues), I thought I'd start using these interludes to spotlight a creator mentioned in the previous episode. Since I devoted quite a bit of respect to Bob Harras and Steve Epting in Episode 4, I thought I'd take this time to talk a little about John Byrne.

Now, I've mentioned at least twice in previous episodes that I am not a fan of Byrne's run on West Coast Avengers, and I'll very likely bring it up again as I begin my discussion of the Vision's family dynamic beginning in Episode 5. The four issue "Vision Quest" story, which comprised the figurative and literal deconstruction of the character, was a set up for a larger arc, one of a series of catalysts that culminated with the nervous breakdown of the Scarlet Witch and her turning evil for a brief time. While there some elements of characterization in Byrne's run that I find somewhat questionable, I can't say the stories themselves are flawed beyond my personal preferences. Still, they just never sat quite right with me.

That being said, I should clarify that, for the most part, I have no problem with John Byrne as a creator. In fact, I have a tremendous respect for his work. This is the artist who, along with the immortal Chris Claremont, made the X-Men great in the 70s (plus there's the whole Storm in a Savage Land bikini thing, so...yay!). This is the writer who transformed Susan Richards from an almost apologetic girl who often had to be rescued as a plot device into a confident woman and the most powerful member of the Fantastic Four. This was the creator who evolved Superman from a character with deus ex machina powers into one with more believable limitations, and Luthor from a mad scientist in a purple and green jumpsuit to a commentary on late 80s capitalism.  Also, his art in WCA is just phenomenal (take a look on his ghostly interpretation of the Vision on my visual companion feed unearthlyvisions.tumblr.com).

Does all of this change my mind about his run on WCA?

Nope.

Do I agree with ninety percent of his personal philosophies and politics?

Certainly not.

Do I think, regardless, that he is still one of the all time great comic book creators of all time?

You betcha.

Unearthly Visions will be back in a few days (I have a lot of free time) with Episode 5, "Of Ants and Androids". In the meantime, I would love to have your comments. What are your thoughts on the Vision?  Do you think it's weird that I'm the token Marvel guy interacting mostly with a community of DC bloggers? Want my unfiltered thoughts on the "Vision Quest" story? Drop me a line!  You can leave a comment here on the Blogspot page, you can find me on Twitter @grantrichter9, or you can send me an email at stormchaser2162@gmail.com. You can also find my posts on Facebook by searching for unearthlyvisions.

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