When I found some loose Paradise X issues in a dollar bin recently, it was the culmination of an entirely too long 15 year journey, similar to what I experienced with Venom 2099 in the pages of Spider-Man 2099. When the very first preview of Earth X was packed in with an issue of Wizard all those years ago, I was instantly intrigued by the haggard Captain America and other wacky character designs (wacky character re-designs are half of why I love Marvel’s What If series). The series came and went, and though I thought the designs were awesome, this series came at a time where I was getting out of comics as a teenager (to get into…professional wrestling…more on that at a later date), and so I didn’t pick up any of the issues. Flash forward 9 0r 10 years, I’ve graduated college and have returned home to the geekery of comic books. I pick up the Earth X graphic novel and I’m…underwhelmed. Perhaps I built it up in my mind too much over the years, as the last thing that I was interested in before I “left” comics for a while, but it didn’t do it for me, to the point I even sold the book back on Amazon. A few more years later, I pick up both volumes of the Universe X series, and for whatever reason, I liked it much more than Earth X. I think what stood out the most to me was its efforts to try and tie all of Marvel’s versions of “the devil” into a coherent train of thought, as well as trying to explain why Marvel’s earth is so wacky, and why there are multitudes of “all powerful” devices, each more “all powerful” than the last. If you’ve ever looked at comic book mega-events and thought for a second “why is everything so crazy for this universe all the time?”, Universe X might be worth checking out.
As for Paradise X, while I’m intrigued by Universe X, I’m hesitant to drop $50 or more to try and track down both volumes of the graphic novels. So when I found issue 12, I thought to myself “Hey, this is probably near the end of the series, I’ll just read the end and see what’s been happening.” Lo and behold, we get some of what I liked about Universe X: an allusion to the fact that Galactus is eating Celestial embryos inside of planets when he “eats worlds”, and a plot thread about Excalibur, the sword of legend, and how it fits in the schema of “all powerful” weapons in the Marvel Universe. The overarching plot is about Captain Mar-Vell creating a “paradise”, a purgatory free from death, that is expanding and slowly consuming the universe as its numbers grow. While these plot threads do entice me, I’ll probably hold off for now and concentrate my money on hockey tickets. Tis the season!