The McElroy Brothers are giant podcast stars. Their two biggest shows My Brother, My Brother, and Me, and The Adventure Zone show their range of comedy and storytelling. The latter in fact is being adapted into a New York Time Best Selling graphic novel series. That makes it almost fitting, and incredibly odd to have them tapped to do a spin-off mini series for Marvel’s latest event War of the Realm (maybe it’s For the Realm).
Despite owning War of the Realm I haven’t read it. I am aware that the book is about the Asgardians attacking earth in some big battle that’s been building since Jason Aaron got onto Thor. I am so detached from that series I am not sure if people even like that one (or the last Infinity story for that matter). Still, the McElroys hopping on this story’s spin off is all the stranger because it doesn’t seem that big. In fact that is too fitting in retrospect.
The series Journey Into Mystery (heh, reference) follows Balder, Thor’s brother, as he must protect his new sister Laussa from Malekth. To do this he teams up with alternate versions of well known characters like Miles Morales Spider-Man, Kate Bishop Hawkeye, Locket the Deathlock 2.0, a failed Sorcer Supreme candidate, Wonderman’s twin brother, and Thori the talking God Dog. Together they must keep Laussa safe from former Avenger turned foe, Ares. All the while the babysitter’s club endures road trip hijinks along the way.
In order to talk about what this series does it’s good to look back at what the McElroys are known for the best, Balance, their first Adventure Zone campaign. Spanning 69 (nice) episodes it follows Tres Horny Boys, three bumbling adventurers trying to acquire 7 different items and meeting eclectic characters along the way. Though the general plot is different they share two main features, this and Adventure Zone, heart and using comedy to develop characters. This book does the same.
Each hero, and villain has their own sense of humor and quips they would make. It could be read as too jokey and have characters be out of character. I usually land on if the character works in the series, and isn’t totally ruined (like murdering people or be a total buffoon) I let it pass.
However, the real heart of what the McElroys do on the book is show the untapped potential of overlooked characters, and how everyone is human, even the aliens and gods. The biggest examples are the Skrull RV park, Henchmen Convention, and reveal of why Ares is after the team. Each reveal and execution highlight what is missed when you only deal with the major threats, and how those smaller groups are just trying to survive in the world as world ending threats come and go.
This similar sentiment goes for the Babysitters. The book shows how with any goal, and teamwork a God, dog God, the twin of a famous hero, a failed sorcerer, and three legacy mantle heroes can form a team to stand up to anyone. Misfits can stand up to anyone.
Now, as positive as this all is not every marvel book should be like this. Nor should the McElroys take over as the heads of the Marvel Universe. Their brand of storytelling, though popular with their own characters, may not be what mainstream conics fans want with their favorite heroes, even if they like the McElroys. They are the alternative to big events and self serious stories. They should have at least one monthly title (though as busy as they are that might be harder to do than anyone could think) to show off that alternative. If not, then maybe they got more people to enjoy their narrative tapestry Mx
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