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HISTORY OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #1: The first issue of this series is exactly what was promised: a guide to the MU which is neither Handbook nor Marvel Saga. Having said that, the series it most resembles is Marvel Saga, but Marvel Saga done right. For those of you who may not know or remember, Marvel Saga was a comprehensive (mostly) chronological retelling of… well, of the “Marvel saga”… from the beginning using a mishmash of artwork from throughout the history of the company, supplemented by captions printed in text (rather than hand-lettered). The result was a curious patchwork, but not a very interesting read.

The new History of the Marvel Universe takes much the same concept (within the framing device of Galactus relating the story to an adult Franklin Richards billions of years in the future), but illustrated with new original work and written by Mark Waid. The package is really two comics in one. In addition to the story itself, each issue is supplemented by annotations, very similar to the original Marvel Saga, i.e. spot illustrations from throughout Marvel’s history and magazine text. History of the Marvel Universe has one huge advantage over Marvel Saga, though, and that is that it list sources by title, issue number and year, making it an excellent source for doing research. I know most of the “old” sources, but many are recent enough that I am unfamiliar with them.

Here are a few things I learned that I didn’t know before:

Tuk the Caveboy (from Golden Age Captain America Comics) is now considered to be an Inhuman.

Tyrranus’s minions are descended from a former Deviant slave race.

And, from the annotations…

Most of what we know of the ‘Abstracts’ is gleaned from the first few pages of Quasar #20.

One thing I was hoping for that I didn’t get was a differentiation between the Titanian and Uranian branches of the Eternals, but that’s a minor quibble at best, considering the wealth of information that is included. Issue #2 will take us into the 20th century. I’m hoping for definitive timelines for Sub-Mariner and Captain America between WWII and the modern heroic age, and I’m curious to see is John Byrne’s “Lost Generation” of heroes will be included.

Yeah, I sprang for that, too. I also wonder if the "Lost Generation" will be included or not.  I wonder where my copy of the "History of the DC Universe" is, I'd like to take it out and compare it.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

HISTORY OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #1: The first issue of this series is exactly what was promised: a guide to the MU which is neither Handbook nor Marvel Saga. Having said that, the series it most resembles is Marvel Saga, but Marvel Saga done right. For those of you who may not know or remember, Marvel Saga was a comprehensive (mostly) chronological retelling of… well, of the “Marvel saga”… from the beginning using a mishmash of artwork from throughout the history of the company, supplemented by captions printed in text (rather than hand-lettered). The result was a curious patchwork, but not a very interesting read.

The new History of the Marvel Universe takes much the same concept (within the framing device of Galactus relating the story to an adult Franklin Richards billions of years in the future), but illustrated with new original work and written by Mark Waid. The package is really two comics in one. In addition to the story itself, each issue is supplemented by annotations, very similar to the original Marvel Saga, i.e. spot illustrations from throughout Marvel’s history and magazine text. History of the Marvel Universe has one huge advantage over Marvel Saga, though, and that is that it list sources by title, issue number and year, making it an excellent source for doing research. I know most of the “old” sources, but many are recent enough that I am unfamiliar with them.

Here are a few things I learned that I didn’t know before:

Tuk the Caveboy (from Golden Age Captain America Comics) is now considered to be an Inhuman.

Tyrranus’s minions are descended from a former Deviant slave race.

And, from the annotations…

Most of what we know of the ‘Abstracts’ is gleaned from the first few pages of Quasar #20.

One thing I was hoping for that I didn’t get was a differentiation between the Titanian and Uranian branches of the Eternals, but that’s a minor quibble at best, considering the wealth of information that is included. Issue #2 will take us into the 20th century. I’m hoping for definitive timelines for Sub-Mariner and Captain America between WWII and the modern heroic age, and I’m curious to see is John Byrne’s “Lost Generation” of heroes will be included.

PLANET OF THE NERDS #3: My favorite of the Ahoy! Comics titles.

Marvels Epilogue

This was an unexpected treat from start to finish.  Anyone who liked the original Marvels series will most likely love this.

House of X #1

Hickman is off to a nice start.  Plenty of his trademark big ideas and world building.  I haven't been this enthusiastic about the X-Men in at least a decade.

Freedom Fighters #7

This continues to be a lot of fun.  Nothing to deep, but probably the best take on these characters ever. (Although that's not saying much)

I am also loving Freedom Fighters. I did notice, although I haven't yet read my copy, that #7 has a different art team. I hope it's only a one-month fill-in, because I thought Barrows's art really set the tone for the series.

Detective 445 said:

Freedom Fighters #7

This continues to be a lot of fun.  Nothing to deep, but probably the best take on these characters ever. (Although that's not saying much)

MARVELS EPILOGUE: It’s been 25 years, but Busiek and Ross slipped back into the swing without missing a beat. The story is set circa X-Men #98, and the issue is rounded out with a Busiek/Ross interview.

MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #6: This is a 2nd printing of the sold out issue of the first appearance of Wolverine’s daughter. I preferred the Deadpool story, a parody of the 1990s comic book field boom and bust. The issue is rounded out with a Danny Ketch Ghost Rider story.

HOUSE OF X #1: ‘Tec, I’m pleased to hear that you are enthusiastic about this relaunch. I am hoping you consider hosting a dedicated discussion as you did with Secret Empire a few years ago. I haven’t been this enthusiastic about the X-Men myself since Grant Morrison (not including a couple of false starts). My favorite part of this issue was the X-Men/FF “confrontation.”

FLASH #75: The “Year One” finale gives up yet another version of Wally West. (Was that really called for?)



Jeff of Earth-J said:

HOUSE OF X #1: ‘Tec, I’m pleased to hear that you are enthusiastic about this relaunch. I am hoping you consider hosting a dedicated discussion as you did with Secret Empire a few years ago.

I think I could manage that.  I'll try to work up some notes this afternoon.

Yay!

FANTASTIC FOUR #12: [SPOILERS] It’s been a while since I read FF regularly, so I thought I’d check out how the current team handles their version of a Hulk/Thing battle. Not bad, as it turns out, but I do have a few complaints (primarily from the first two pages). The first thing I noticed was visual: Reed Richards is now sporting a dark brown beard. I know everyone ages differently, but whereas I have a little grey around the temples, my beard started going grey a decade ago and is now completely grey. It just looks weird for Reed to have dark brown hair on the top of his head, a white swath all the way around, then a dark brown beard.

The second thing I noticed (after I started reading), was that the story takes place during the Thing’s “annual transmutation” into Ben Grimm. Huh? I’ve read hundreds of issues of FF and this is the first I’m hearing of this. That’s the first page.

On the second page, Ben and Alicia are off to their honeymoon, and Ben makes a joke about Johnny’s dead wife, to which Reed, Sue, Franklin and Valeria all snicker. Granted, “I Married a Skrull” may be something of a joke among fan circles, but that Johnny’s entire family would be so insensitive is just bad characterization for the sake of a cheap laugh.

Before I get to the main story, the letters page is entirely given over to readers to explain a recent gaff in continuity. John Byrne introduced Ben’s often-mentioned-but-never-before-seen Aunt Petunia, a surprisingly young woman, during his classic run. A recent story depicted the death of Aunt Petunia, a woman in her 80s. Four or five readers taxed their creativity to explain how this could be, but to me it smacks of a writer and editor being unaware of past continuity.

In the main story, the Puppet Master takes control of the Hulk to fight the Thing, oddly putting his own step-daughter in danger in the process. Their relationship is never mentioned which, given the “Aunt Petunia” situation, makes me questions whether or not the current creative team is even aware of it. The story is a classic scenario and might have been “done in one” were it not for a 10-page back-up story serving as lead-in to a spin-off series.

The story is okay if you don’t mind spending five bucks for a partial story. Just be sure to skip the first two pages.

I'm a little behind in reading the recent FF issues. When the Puppet Master and Alicia first appeared in Vol 1 FF #8, he showed basically no love for Alicia. I'm not aware of how this has been characterized over the many reboots.

I read Hit-Girl #5-6 earlier. It's a story arc by Jeff Lemire and Eduardo Risso. Mindy travels to Canada (in fact, the story is called "Canada") to locate drug dealer. This character isn't one I find particularly interesting, but the creative team makes it sing.

In the Fantastic Four Wedding Special, it was heavily implied that Alicia used the radioactive clay to control the Puppet Master when Ben visited him in prison to get his blessing.

Richard Willis said:

I'm a little behind in reading the recent FF issues. When the Puppet Master and Alicia first appeared in Vol 1 FF #8, he showed basically no love for Alicia. I'm not aware of how this has been characterized over the many reboots.

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