Wednesday, March 11, 2020



[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

WRITER: Mark Waid
PENCILS: Javier Rodríguez
INKS: Álvaro López
COLORS: Javier Rodríguez
LETTERS: VC's Joe Caramagna
EDITOR: Tom Brevoort
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Akira Yoshida a.k.a. C.B. Cebulski
MISC. ART: Phil Noto
COVER: Steve McNiven and Mark Farmer with Sunny Gho
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Nick Bradshaw with John Rauch; John Buscema with Jason Keith; David Marquez with Matthew Wilson; Javier Rodríguez and Álvaro López
44pp, Color, $4.99 U.S. (September 2019)

Rated T

History of the Marvel Universe is a comic book miniseries that chronicles completely, for the first time, everything that was, is, or will be in the Marvel Universe.  History of the Marvel Universe is written by Mark Waid; drawn by Javier Rodríguez (pencils/colors) and Álvaro López (inks); and lettered by Joe Caramagna.

History of the Marvel Universe #1 opens at “the End of Time.”  There, Franklin Richards and the planet-devouring Galactus await the final death of the universe.  Although both will move to the universe born of the death of this one, Richards is concerned about memories.  Before it all ends, he wants the history of this universe to have meant something.  Richards asks Galactus to help him remember everything.  Thus, Galactus recounts the history of this universe, beginning with a first chapter.  It starts at the so-called “Big Bang” and ends both in the Wild West of The Rawhide Kid and The Two-Gun Kid and in the wild north of Canada where a boy named James Howlett emerges.

There is no doubt about it.  Marvel Comics' History of the Marvel Universe #1 has more than a passing resemblance to DC Comics' 1986, two-issue miniseries, History of the DC Universe.  It is true that Mark Waid and Javier Rodríguez could find no better template than the one writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez laid down in History of the DC Universe.

Some people consider Mark Waid an unofficial Marvel Comics historian; I imagine some people at Marvel probably think that.  Waid does a good job gathering the varied “histories” about the beginnings, the ancient times, the recent centuries, etc. that have been depicted in five decades of Marvel Comics titles.  Waid also mixes in threads from Marvel's predecessor Timely Comics and the two decades of material the predates the publication of The Fantastic Four #1.  Of course, Waid has to take into consideration decades of “retcons,” in which Marvel Comics scribes went back and changed things after the fact – the Avengers of one million years ago, introduced in Avengers #1 (2018).  I won't say that this first issue is a great read, but there are some interesting bits in this first issue.

I can say that I love the art team of Javier Rodríguez (pencils/colors) and Álvaro López.  Here, they don't have to engage in graphical storytelling, so much as they have to draw pictures that illustrate Mark Waid's text.  [Waid's script is presented in caption boxes, not word balloons, all well-crafted by Joe Caramagna.]  Their art reminds me of art of Alan Davis.

Speaking of which, Davis' longtime inker, Mark Farmer, inks Steve McNiven's cover pencil art – with excellent results.  So, in conclusion, History of the Marvel Universe #1 is an occasionally interesting curiosity, but honestly, you, dear readers, don't need to read it to enjoy Marvel Comics titles.  History of the Marvel Universe #1 is not the monumental work that Marvel Comics' monumental history deserves.  [I think the history of the Marvel Universe would be best told in a long-running, ongoing comic book series, which won't happen.]

6 out of 10

[This comic book includes four pages of annotations, which list the Marvel Comics publications which acted as reference for the story in History of the Marvel Universe #1.]

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2019 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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