November 26, 2012

Alternation

I cannot believe I neglected to catch the Fox series "Fringe" when it first came out. Thankfully, the Science Channel ran a two-day marathon Friday through Saturday of the series' entire first season ... and is beginning season two regularly on Tuesday evenings. The show is very much like the "X-Files, but concentrates its emphasis on alternate realities -- specifically a particular parallel reality that is causing our own some havoc.

I've always been a huge fan of the "multiverse theory." One of my favorite Marvel Comics titles was What If? which had several volumes beginning in the 1970s which explored, well, what if something happened at a pivotal moment in Marvel history? The inaugural issue detailed what would have happened had Spider-man joined the Fantastic Four (because in Amazing Spider-Man #1 he tried to do just that; see below).

Once an alternate reality has been established by Marvel, it is given a numerical designation. The "main" or "prime" Marvel reality is that of Earth 616 (see here as to why it's this number), whereas that created by Spider-Man joining the Fantastic Four is Earth-772. Some realities have obviously become incredibly popular, such as the Age of Apocalypse reality (Earth-295) via the X-Men, and the Days of Future Past reality (Earth-811) via same, but some of my faves are a bit more ... obscure. Let's take a look, shall we?

EARTH-712. This is the home reality of one of my favorite superhero teams, the Squadron Supreme. I first became enamored with this group because they fought the Avengers during the time I first began to take an interest in [Marvel] comics. The SS is basically Marvel's knock-off version of the Justice League, and they've had a very difficult time of it. I detailed why at my old comics blog over three years ago.

EARTH-1610. Better known as the "Ultimate Universe," this is the reality where classic Marvel characters were "updated" to contemporary times. The Avengers are The Ultimates on this Earth, and much of The Avengers film is based on this team's first volume of issues.

EARTH-9997. The frequently misunderstood "Earth X" universe designed by comics painter supreme Alex Ross, if you want to experience a funnybook cerebral explosion beyond measure, seek out all the "X" trade paperbacks and allot yourself about a week. Then, if you can figure it all out, report back to me.

EARTH-689. This is the reality from the classic Avengers Annual #2 from 1968. In this reality, the Avengers as we know them ended up being diverted here, where they encountered the earliest incarnation of the team. Unbeknownst to our team, the evil Scarlet Centurion had convinced this Earth's Avengers to trounce every other superhero on the globe so as to make the planet ripe for conquest. Check it: The Centurion is yet another manifestation of the classic Avengers villain Kang, and was the main protagonist of Earth-712's super-team, the aforementioned Squadron Supreme.

EARTH-??? The reality that recent commenter (and supposed comics fan) "Questionman" comes from since he obviously has some major difficulties in the realm of reading comprehension and making assumptions.

Posted by Hube at November 26, 2012 08:11 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Great stuff, Hube. Fringe is indeed a great show, although admittedly I haven't watched the fourth or fifth seasons. The current season is the last, I think.

And LOL at the "Questionman" reality!

Posted by: Carl at November 26, 2012 08:23 PM

I am totally sucked into "Fringe" now, Carl! Don't know if I can wait for just Tuesdays on Science Channel -- I may join Hulu Premium to watch online as my leisure. (Netflix doesn't stream it, unbelievably.)

Posted by: Hube at November 26, 2012 08:26 PM

I have the first two seasons on DVD. I'd go far to say that it's actually better than X-Files... it's not that hard to figure out what's going on, like the alien invasion arc of the latter show.

Posted by: Carl at November 26, 2012 10:28 PM

I mean to say... "Unlike the latter show."

Posted by: Carl at November 26, 2012 10:28 PM