In the ever-evolving landscape of fandom, there are simply some things that should not have happened. In Retcon This!, we examine some of the more questionable aspects of our beloved geek properties.
Way back when, our very first retcon here at PoP! featured the gradual character assassination of Charles Xavier. Toward that end, we addressed the good Professor’s eventual transformation into the über-powerful psychic entity of evil, Onslaught. Xavier and Onslaught were separated as part of the character’s inaugural and eponymous story arc, and ultimately, the villain was destroyed. Except that ten years later, prior to his return to grace, Jeph Loeb revisited the “character” in Onslaught Reborn. The book was awful and pretty nearly COMPLETELY irrelevant. By the story’s end, however, Onslaught had found his way into the Negative Zone (home to “42,” the prison from Civil War) and theoretically from there, the 616.
As stated above, the book had little to no impact on anything, save for the introduction of Rikki Barnes (aka Bucky aka Nomad) into the 616 and the promise (threat?) that the story’s ending would lead to something down the road. Well… we’re down the road.
This retcon is uncharacteristically reactionary of us, I know. Almost nothing is known about this impending project. Humberto Ramos has provided the cover, Sean McKeever will be writing, and interior art chores fall to Filipe Andrade. And it’s hitting in February. Also, if the preview art is to be trusted, it will focus heavily on/be a crossover between the Secret Avengers and the Young Allies. Oh, and… one other thing we know – it stars Onslaught. And therein lies the rub.
McKeever’s a talented writer and though I’m fairly unfamiliar with Andrade’s art, it looks pretty good to me. The problem is the very core concept of this book. Onslaught was one of those villains who became too powerful, too quickly. You’re suddenly presented with someone who can control minds and warp reality, and you’re forced to wonder… how could he ever be stopped? Moreover, his motivation was never particularly clear aside from being “evil.” At first, he sought to uplift mutants at the expense of humans. Eventually, he decided everyone was beneath him, and turned on them all. Mind you, by that point, the creature was nigh-unstoppable and nothing short of nearly every non-mutant Marvel hero sacrificing themselves could stop him. So that’s what they did, and we got stuck with Heroes Reborn. And Onslaught Reborn. And now, five years later, we’re poised to tackle Onslaught Unleashed.
So here’s my proposed retcon, which I suppose is in fact a pre-retcon:
No. More. Onslaught.
Loeb’s story not only returned Onslaught to the land of the living, it put him within reach of the 616. That’s a pretty big elephant in the room to try and tip toe around. What McKeever needs to do here is take this opportunity to affect his own retcon and eradicate the character and all traces of him from existence. Is it possible that’s where this is headed? Maybe. But it also seems a tad unlikely, so I’m making my stand here. Who’s with me?