Mark’s Remarks – Avengers #296 (October 1988)

Since the dawn of our species, humanity has undertaken an unending quest for knowledge in an attempt to come to grips with himself and the world around him. (Yow! What a pretentious opening for the subject matter to follow. Too late now…) Ahem. The same quest goes on in that tiny subset of humanity known as the Comic Reader. Every month the Comic Reader buys his/her quota of books to learn more about the (fictional) world presented in their pages. And while there are always minor questions answered every given month (e.g., how is Daredevil going to get out of that trap he was left in last issue? or who’s Thor going to fight this month?), early Marvel Comics pioneered Big Questions; mysteries that went on for years, inviting endless reader speculation.

Among the many great all-time Marvel Mysteries…Are Rama-Tut and Doctor Doom temporal counterparts of the same person? What is Captain America’s shield made out of? Why do the Kree hate the Skrulls and vice versa? How did Professor X get crippled? Did Don Blake have real existence before he “became” Thor? Who built the Blue Area of the Moon? What caused Atlantis to sink? Besides being deliberate mysteries as opposed to accidental ones (“Oops. We forgot to explain something. I know – let’s call it a mystery!”), what all these Marvel Mysteries have in common is that they’re not mysteries anymore. Each has been answered in some story somewhere. Why? That’s no mystery. Just as readers have a thirst to know things, writers have a need to tell the untold tale, to leave an indelible mark (no relation) on the fictional universe. Thus, in this, the 27th year of the Marvel Age, none of the above is a mystery any longer.

My question to you, my rapacious readers, is: Are there any great Marvel Mysteries anymore? If so, what are they? (I’m not talking about annoying trivia like “What is Wolverine’s first name anyway?” – I’m talking significant big deals.) Write to me c/o Mark’s Remarks and let me know – do you love a mystery?

–Mark Gruenwald­­