Marvel 1985

August 27, 2009

Marvel 1985By the ache in my molar, I was not planning to like this book. Just how many comics do you already know that has some boy with divorced parents turning to comics before things go weird around him – monsters, supervillians, and superheroes leaping out everywhere, from the bushes, the school desk, the bathroom, etc. – you know this one. It’s The Never-Ending Story, Part 1 to Part 1,000,000. (The book suggests the link to 1985 as Marvel’s Secret Wars event, but you can’t fool me.) And didn’t Wildstorm just do something similar with DC superheroes turning up to fight Wildstorm hardballs, all because of some whiny geek-boy in denial of reality? That’s the other thing that got to me: look, comic lovers are not traumatised individuals who had a bad childhood, can’t deal with the real world, alienate people, and are probably bipolar. Leave the self-hating cliches already!

So to say that this synopsis doesn’t sound terribly original or exciting to me is an understatement. But that’s the beauty of most titles by Mark Millar: you really can’t summarise them because they often come out dumb that way. Try describing The Ultimates or Superman: Red Son or Wanted in 50 words. You can’t – and there’s that small voice in the head that should lead you to the cashier, book in hand, and make you fork out on the back of the promise in a name. And you won’t be disappointed again! Millar’s kid is likeable enough, and so is his comic-suckled dad: that makes 2 good things going in a story that is more character-driven than dumb-plot-driven. And the slow unfolding of events is masterful as, because you know what is going to happen, Millar decides to play naughty and gives you 1 glimpse of Red Skull and 1 glimpse of the Vulture before the whole Marvel Universe breaks out all over like zits on an innocent teenager.

Yes, there is even the fearful planet-eating Galactus (wooah!), and why he needs to build his Elemental Converter before he can start destroying “The Real World” is anyone’s guess. Maybe he is insecure. Now there’s an original storyline, not that Marvel will be calling me anytime soon to write it. And Tommy Lee Edwards’s art does grow on you in this one: it looks humdrum at first, but that’s before he starts to capture the most subtle expressions that make you sit up and gawk. He might as well have done the whole thing while juggling with his other hand as the rough fraying lines do send you thinking whether the man owns pencils at all.  (But you get to the back, and those extras showing you his work-table, his Photoshop and Wacom Cintiq 21″ tablet, etc. destroy the illusion. Remember the days when comics were just comics, and they didn’t tell you the how-I-did-thats? Ain’t here.)

So where was I? Oh yes, 8 stars, just go get it.

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One Response to “Marvel 1985”

  1. mediaudio Says:

    Awesome review!


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