Marvel Snapshots: Review

Marvel Snapshots: Review

Marvel Snapshots

The most common mistake that can be made when thinking about superheroes is that wearing a mask deprives them of their humanity. On the other hand, beings capable of dominating lightning, firing rays of energy from the eyes or experiencing incredible adventures within hyper-technological armor, how much can they still be considered human? A legitimate doubt, considering that their exploits are almost always narrated from their point of view, in which the clash with the villain on duty is a direct emanation of their spirit. To change this perspective, to give us a new way of seeing the world of superheroes, there are volumes such as Marvel Snapshots, an anthology of comic stories that broadens the perception of the role of the superhero in the society in which he operates.

Marvel: Snapshots is the spiritual heir of Marvels, a miniseries signed by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross, in which the rise of the heroes of the House of Ideas was told from the point of view of a photographer, who followed their first steps and their dedication to modern deities. In Marvels, the focus was on the impact the heroes had on ordinary citizens, how their presence had led to a radical change in the perception of being human, both positively, as for figures such as Captain America and Iron Man. or negatively, with the appearance of racist upsurge with the rise of mutants.

Marvel Snapshots, photographing the true soul of superheroes

This more human vision of the superhero figure is the daughter of the renewal of the superhero canon initiated with the Silver Age. If at the time of the birth of these superhuman heroes their conception was animated by the desire to offer readers an amusement with incredible and invincible characters, the second post-war period transformed them into more complete and human characters, especially in the Marvel house. Behind the masks and inside the armor there were no longer unreachable heroes, but men who still had to face the consequences of their actions. To put it like Stan Lee, it was time to present 'superheroes with super problems'.

A narrative principle that over the years has given birth to great stories, such as The Demon in the Bottle, and that has made these characters always more human, helping readers to empathize with them. Marvel Snapshots lives up to this principle, presenting itself as an anthology in which this essential element of the narrative context of the Marvel Universe finds a new form, going to delve into the most remote past of the publishing house, when Marvel was still known as Timely Comics. .

Reunion takes readers back to the origins of the Marvel world, choosing as the protagonist one of the most complex heroes of the House of Ideas: Namor. It is to the Atlantean that Alan Brennert and Jerry Ordway turned, who decide to offer us a particular vision of this character, taking us back to the early days after the Second World War, where Namor had fought against the Axis alongside Captain America and the first formation in Marvel history, the All Winner Squad. The value of this story is in the way the authors manage to portray the humanity of Namor, showing the wounds that the horrors of war have imposed even a hero, on someone we consider as a force of nature, immune to our fears.

The desperation that transpires in the words and gestures of the Sub-Mariner, his human fragility that emerges disruptive are emotions that we would hardly associate with superheroes, yet Brennert manages to create poignant similarities between the hero and the common men, a common experience which, although exasperated by the superhuman powers of Namor, has a unique root, born from wounds of the soul from which even a superhero cannot easily heal.

The beauty of Marvel's tales Snapshots is precisely to find this emotional key, to grasp the human aspect of these heroes. Seeing Namor collapse under the weight of his emotions or witnessing the private life behind the public side of Johnny Storm from the Fantastic Four does not deprive these heroes of their superhuman aura, but rather enhances their value, precisely because an unexpected humanity emerges, made of fallibility and liability. The actions of these darlings are not only adventurous, but often leave wounds in ordinary men, who have to live with their actions, just like them.

A situation that underlies Abandonati, the story in which Captain America and Falcon are confronted with the consequences of their exploits, which, however noble, often have implications that they ignore, but which weigh heavily on ordinary citizens. It is through confrontation with the faces of the invisible that these legendary figures are able to keep their moral compass steady, not to lose contact with the humanity they aim to protect. The foundation of the Marvel heroes, on the other hand, is contained in their being originally ordinary men, who have faced complex and everyday situations, from which they discard their heroic nature.

The authentic soul of heroes

And the rest will come by itself, the final story of this anthology, perfectly encapsulates this conception of the House of Ideas, placing one of the most tormented metahumans in the Marvel Universe at the center of the story: Scott 'Cyclops' Summers, the leader of the X-Men. His origins, his traumatic past are the emotional fulcrum of Jay Edidin and Tom Reilly's story, an overwhelming narrative dynamic designed to make us understand his human genesis in an exciting way even before his heroic role. Here then emerges that nature afflicted by the sense of responsibility that made him one of the best leaders in the Marvel universe, animated by a moral law that Scott himself reveals to an astonished Reed Richards:

“A long time ago , I heard someone say that there comes a time in this job when you have to rely on your instincts. Do what is right and trust that the rest will come by itself "

Marvel Snapshots manages to capture these nuances of the characters, reconnects them to their humanity, stripping them of uniforms and powers, introducing readers to Steve, Johnny and Scott, even before Captain America, the Human Torch or Cyclops. The very concept of snapshots, i.e. snapshot, embodies the meaning of this anthology, showing real snapshots of the life of these heroes that enhance not so much their role as protectors of humanity as that of authentic and participating members of the human assembly, with whom they can sometimes lose touch, so absorbed in their heroic life, but to which they return with their feelings and their soul, when they seek the source of their heroism.

Reading Marvel Snapshots is like going to the root emotional of these characters, seeing them with the eyes of ordinary people, not limited to their heroic aspect, but also managing to discover their defects, their aspirations and their torments. Four stories of extraordinary men who choose not to give up their humanity, whether it is made up of small joys or great pains.

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