Marvel Age #1000
IT’S A CELEBRATION OF THE MARVEL AGE OF COMICS—AND YOU ARE INVITED! This massive commemorative issue includes contributions from some of the most storied creators in Marvel history, as well as a few surprises, as the classic days of Marvel are explored in depth! J. Michael Straczynski and Kaare Andrews create the Marvel Universe in a backyard! Dan Slott and Michael Allred depict a crucial turning point for Captain Marvel! Rainbow Rowell and Jamie McKelvie explore the blossoming relationship between Cyclops and Jean Grey! The original Human Torch finds his purpose thanks to Mark Waid and Alessandro Cappuccio! The Silver Surfer confronts Mephisto under the guidance of Steve McNiven! And more, more, more! Plus: The ultimate Marvel Value Stamp, #1000! Who or what will it feature?
Marvel has been releasing extra sized anthology books over the last decade, and Marvel Age #1000 is this summer’s extravaganza. Hosting some of Marvel’s, and comics’, biggest, and brightest names in the industry to give us these little vignettes to tell some great stories with some of the most recognizable, and some not-so-recognizable characters in their stable. For those of you who aren’t in the know, aka born before the internet was created, Marvel Age was an anthology title, but it was also a news source Marvel Zombies could go to, to see upcoming projects, interviews, etc. It just happened to have anything a fan could need. So let’s get to some of my favorite stories delivered here.
I hate to say it, but the first story in the anthology was my favorite this year. Veteran superstar Mark Waid is joined with rising star artist Alessandro Cappuccio, where they give us this fun little tale about the Golden Age Human Torch Jim Hammond, from way back in the day. There’s a history with the Golden Age Human Torch and the title Marvel Comics. Marvel Comics #1 is Jim Hammond’s first appearance, and it was this title that inspired the owners of Atlas Comics to change their name to Marvel decades later. Waid’s story gives us a little glimpse of the man behind the robot, and humanizes him, but also gives us a glimpse of how he is so much different than the regular Marvel populace.
It’s a story steeped in bringing life to something that’s basically a puppet (Dr. Horton keeps calling Jim his Pinocchio) who becomes a real boy, complete with his own moral code. Giving us the man inside of the machine isn’t something that’s unique, or even something that we haven’t seen about Jim. It’s unfortunately something that’s a cornerstone for creators to fall back on, but what Waid gives us here leaves the fans with a warm feeling by our tummies. A twinkle in the character’s eyes, matched with some absolutely gorgeous art.
I’ve become a fan of Alessandro’s since he began his run on Moon Knight, and his confidence and technique has just grown leaps and bounds. He has this style that just exudes a haze, as if you’re looking at these scenes and characters through a foggy window, giving us an effervescent quality that just takes you to another realm. It really stood out to me, especially when the Torch was on fire. Something just drew my eyes to look at it. No backgrounds whatsoever, just a man on fire flying through the air, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. I see big things coming for our Mr. Alessandro Cappuccio.
The second story by writer/artist Ryan Stegman with Spider-Man, the Lizard and MJ, and it’s a fun little ditty, but nothing that stuck out to me. While I haven’t read a lot of things that Stegman’s written, his role as an artist is second to none. Especially with regards to anyone in the Spider-Man corner of the Marvel Universe. Unfortunately it didn’t really stand out to me here, and felt like filler. Feeling like filler in an anthology is never a good thing.
The third story by Rainbow Rowell and Marguerite Sauvage takes us back to the Silver Age X-Men, and the beginning of the most celebrated relationship in the X-Men, that of Cyclops and Jean Grey. Rainbow Rowell’s story here is cute, and unabashedly adorable and funny, and just something that I loved from the very first panel to the last. I have a confession to make to my lovely readers: I’m not the biggest Cyclops fan. I honestly don’t like the character at all, but Rainbow’s take here is just magic. He’s so full of charisma and charm, it’s like he’s a completely different character. I was blown away at this take. I take my hat off to Rainbow, because she made the impossible happen today.
Marguerite Sauvage is the artist, and when she’s attached to a book she’s usually doing the heavy lifting. Not because she’s attached to a writer who isn’t amazing, it’s just that her work is just so phenomenal, I can’t do anything but drool over every panel. Her stuff is just pure sugar, a confectionery treat that sends my senses into overdrive. I can’t help it. It’s driving me nuts that she’s not on an ongoing series at this point. The Big Two are wasting her immense talent.
Dan Slott teams up with his Silver Surfer partners in crime Mike and Laura Allred, are back to give the fans this kitschy tale featuring the original Captain Mar-Vell, or better known as Captain Marvel, and the team have accomplished to make this story feel like it could have stepped out of any of the pre-Starlin Captain Marvel issues from the late ‘60s. It was fun to read, and the Allreds do what they always do best. They show up, and they show out. We get some panels where we see Marv and Carol Danvers, building off of the mutual attraction that would never really follow up on until it was too late. It’s a shame the creators didn’t have more time to flesh out this look. But look at that group shot page. The team have outdone themselves with this one.
Writer-artist superstar Steve McNiven takes the fans on an intergalactic tale featuring everyone’s favorite Satan stand in, Mephisto, as we follow the rabbit hole, where Phisty tries to sow doubt into the Surfer, forcing him to take a longer look into himself. It’s a classic trope we often see with the Surfer, and depending on the correct team could range from unadulterated trash to utter genius. This story falls somewhere in the middle. McNiven’s another one of those artists who wants to dip their toes in writing, but haven’t polished their voice yet. That’s what it feels like here, and I’m hoping to see McNiven get the chance to figure out who it is he wants to be.
Marvel Age #1000 is just the sort of thing you’d expect from Marvel. Stacked with some amazing talent, a veritable who’s who, but what we got was some decent to amazing, with the majority being just good. Which is all a fan could have asked for really.
Marvel Age #1000: Number One With a Bullet
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 8.5/108.5/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 7/107/10
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