Wednesday, August 24, 2016

If This Planet You Would Save...!

We humans have often been raked over the coals by super-beings who either see little of worth in our species, or have no doubt that we're slowly but surely extinguishing ourselves. Often it's hard to argue with their conclusions; after all, while we're given the impression that we're hearing an objective point of view, it's actually a human who's giving them their words, and that's about as first-hand as you can get when it comes to pointing out our failings and the prospects for our survival. But the notion of someone or something not of our world providing us with a frank assessment of us and where we're likely headed has always been a fascinating one, regardless. And if there is alien life out there capable of interstellar space travel, perhaps the fact that they've chosen to give our world a wide berth after looking us over speaks volumes.

Yet given our focus at the PPC, it might be interesting to dip into the fictional world of comics and get a sampling of how Marvel's other-worldly characters see our prospects for continued survival. Most of these beings don't have our best interests at heart, of course, so their opinions on the subject can be rather pessimistic--yet you may find yourself feeling that the points they make are difficult to refute.

Jeez, Surfer, don't sugar-coat it--tell us how you really feel!

Despite his outlook on our species and his overall treatment by the human race, the Silver Surfer nevertheless remained confident in our ability to surpass our failings and achieve greatness. Given the state of the world in this, the 21st century, the jury still seems to be out on that; in fact, it wouldn't be surprising if the jurors had all thrown up their hands and gone A.W.O.L. indefinitely, rather than return and deliver the verdict that would likely be written on that folded piece of paper.

On the bright side, there's one entity who couldn't be more delighted about the human race's wretched status quo.

And then there's the Stranger, who often has it in for us and thinks the best solution is simply to wipe the slate clean, just in case the human race survives long enough to carry its madness to the stars--which is where the Stranger draws the line.

Even abstract entities weigh in on our fate--such as Eternity, who succumbed to the power of Nightmare and dreamed that the human race wasn't going to amount to anything. Though as Dr. Strange discovered, the dreams of a being like Eternity can be as deadly as conscious thought.

Yet it's the Surfer who often gets an earful of how the human race is a lost cause--certainly from Galactus, who often doesn't care about us one way or the other, so long as we don't interfere while he sates himself on our world. (In all fairness, Galactus has the same opinion of every planet's indigenous species--though that's more chilling than comforting.) Galactus's disdain for us is not only shared by his other heralds, but also by his own creations--such as Ardina, who was fashioned to convince the Surfer to abandon his advocacy of the human race and rejoin his master. And while Ardina raises some fair points in her argument, you come away with the impression that she's only scratched the surface of our species.

Of course you know you've really hit rock bottom when you find yourself agreeing with Thanos, whose scheme warrants the involvement of the Surfer. And while Thanos's grim points are meant to apply to all races, the Earth serves as the best lead-in one could hope for.

The stark statement that Thanos counter's the Surfer's rebuttal with--"Do you really believe that?"--seems to have him making the point that no one is really "working," as the Surfer puts it, to right this ship, when the consensus might instead be that no one is able to make headway against the overwhelming failings within humanity that have the species racing headlong toward its own destruction. Though we'll have to forgive Thanos for focusing on a population-based point of discussion, since his preoccupation with death--that is to say, Death--drives him toward his own agenda.

With all due deference to Thanos's... er, solution, let's keep trying to prove him wrong, eh?


Anonymous said...

Are humans really supposed to be worse than the Skrulls, the Kree, the Badoon etc ? Why didn't The Stranger turn up to prevent THEM from becoming a menace to the universe ? And Thanos' claim that half of all the humans ever born are still alive is a myth I've heard before - in fact, an estimated 60 billion humans have existed since the evolution of Homo Sapiens but only about 7 billion are alive now.

Comicsfan said...

Colin, the only thing I can offer in explanation for the Stranger singling us out from the others you mention is that for the Kree, the Skrulls, et al., the ship had already sailed as far as those races making their way to the stars--some even having established empires, with many worlds conquered and annexed. Perhaps the human race was the final straw that spurred the Stranger into action, to nip such races in the bud before making a bad situation even worse.