Friday, January 19, 2018

Now That's Cosmic Awareness

If you're Rick Jones, and your manager has you booked at bars and other hangouts that feature live entertainment, you've probably seen your share of drug use, both behind the curtain and among your patrons. So there is absolutely no way you're going to have an encounter like this:

...and not realize that your performance partner, Rachel Dandridge, has just slipped you a narcotic of some sort--in this case, probably a little LSD. And you'd also know perfectly well that the reference to "Vitamin C" was a wink-wink/elbow nudge moment meant to acknowledge that you're both part of the same club, so to speak.

But Rick isn't a member of that club, at least as far as we know--yet he's hardly naive, either.  So what explains his curious reaction to what he's been slipped? Is he really wondering what reason "Dandy" would have for palming him a Vitamin C capsule? He's not giving any thought to what else it could be? It's 1975, when people were sharing and experimenting with mind-altering substances--come on, Mr. With-It.

Cut to: the Negative Zone, where Rick is cooling his heels while Captain Marvel soars toward Earth's moon and a confrontation with the Lunatic Legion. Rick has ten hours to kill in the Zone, with the exception of the few seconds he'll have in normal space each time he and Mar-vell must switch atoms with each other due to the three-hour limit that Mar-vell can exist in our universe. What can he do to pass the time? Well, surely what you or I would do in his place--pop that Vitamin C capsule.

No, I have no idea why Rick would think that swallowing a vitamin capsule would help in the slightest with passing the time or relieving boredom. Does time fly for you when you gulp down a pill and it starts to dissolve in your system? Do we really even still think about the darned thing once it's been swallowed?

Unfortunately, Mar-vell, like Rick, will have a few things to think about--because being linked with Rick means being linked with the effects of his vitamin kick.

And the timing is lousy--because even before Mar-vell reaches the Legion, he must face a strangely hostile Watcher, who, in Mar-vell's current state, easily captures him.

In time, Mar-vell recovers sufficiently to strike back at the Legion--and quite well, too, since the story by Steve Englehart almost goes out of its way to make clear how the shared experience of Mar-vell and Rick with "whatever it was that pummeled [their] mind[s]" has made them stronger, faster, even more aware, and more closely linked than ever before. Why, what a subtle approach.

Got it, Marv--"vitamin" use is good.  (At least I think that's the message that's being relayed--it's so very hard to read between the lines here.)

Perhaps to make Rick and the CCA happy, we could just say it was a multi-vitamin at work.  But seriously, Rick, get out a little more and mix with your generation.


Anonymous said...

Vitamin C does help with gout. I can attest to that. Cleared it right up.
I did not, however, achieve Cosmic Awareness.
Or maybe I did.
How does one know?


George Chambers said...

Yeah, Rick's an idiot. Considering that in his very first appearance in HULK #1, he drove into an active gamma-bomb test site on a dare, I think that's perfectly in character.

Comicsfan said...

In all fairness, George, looking over the scene in the Hulk story makes it clear that, while Rick knew he'd entered a military installation, he was likely unaware that he had driven onto a bomb test site, much less that one was actively counting down to an explosion. Rick only seemed to be acting on a dare from his friends to see if he had the nerve to sneak past the base guards--which adds up, since the gamma bomb test appears to have been arranged without informing any news media and no one outside of the installation had any knowledge of it (with the exception of a few people in Washington, no doubt, and, of course, spies like Igor).

Jon H said...


Jared said...

Never read this, but this is a good reminder that for all the grief 90s and beyond comics get, the glory days had some nonsensical moments as well. Not every comic before 1990 is comic gold.

When I think of the writers who had the biggest impact on Rick as a character (Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Peter David), I have always thought he exists for the creator to vicariously live out his own fantasies.

Comicsfan said...

Jon, I believe Mar-vell's comment stems from the story's context of Zarek, Sro-Himm and the other renegade "blue" Kree banding together in fanatical resistance to the Supreme Intelligence's progressive policies of racial integration. Being one of the "pink-skinned" Kree that the renegades abhor would naturally see Mar-vell having a low opinion of his opposition's motivations as well as their overall rationale.