Folks, let me tell you something frankly, right here at the start. If you’re looking for a comic book that is full of action and excitement, thrills and chills, and an epic saga written in the Mighty Marvel Manner… you’re better off buying just about anything else on the shelf this week.
I’m not joking. Valkyrie Jane Foster #1? House of X #1? Fearless #1? Any one of them is more likely to fill your heart with joy and wonder than History of The Marvel Universe #1.
Because this book, dear reader, is exactly what the title suggests. It is a history book. It is a beautifully illustrated and well-written history book, to be sure, but it is still a history book. And your enjoyment of this work, as a comic, will likely come down to how much excitement you draw from reading a history book and imaging the grand adventures that occurred in ages long passed.
There’s barely any story to speak of in History of The Marvel Universe #1. It opens at the end of the universe, but rather than seeing the fabulous restaurant Milliways, we see Galactus, Devourer of Worlds and Franklin Richards. Apparently the eldest child of Mister Fantastic and Invisible Woman is destined to be the only survivor of the Marvel Universe after Galactus’ death triggers the creation of the next universe. Before Galactus dies, however, Franklin begs him to recall the entire history of the universe so that it won’t be forgotten in the world to come and Galactus begins to do so. At length. In great detail.
To Mark Waid’s credit he does try to spice this up as best he can and if you were to pick a writer to sort through thousands of back-issues to write a definitive history for the whole Marvel Universe, Mark Waid would probably be your #1 First Round Draft Pick. Waid is rightly regarded as the greatest fount of comic book trivia knowledge outside of ComicVine.com and his passion for the subject is apparent as you read through this issue.
It must also be said that the artwork by Javier Rodriguez and Alvaro Lopez does a fantastic job depicting everything, channeling the spirit of Jack Kirby in presenting images of the hundreds of cosmic beings he designed. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the fact that this comic is one big lengthy list of things that happened, with very little of the action of these things happening being depicted.
That being said, while History of the Marvel Universe #1 is a bit dry as a comic book, it could also be invaluable as a reference tool. Nearly half the book is made up of annotations, written in an encyclopedia entry format, which list the issues that were drawn upon to write this history. So if you have a need to see the story where Thanos was born, this little book will tell you what issue to check. And if you’re wondering who The Eternals are after the announcement that they’re getting their own Phase 4 Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, this book provides a far simpler explanation of their origins and history than anything you’ll find on-line.
In the end, History of the Marvel Universe is definitely worth picking up. It’s not a good comic as such, but it is a great learning tool and can help guide you toward some of the greatest stories in Marvel Comics’ history. Be warned, history buffs, that this is only volume 1 of 6 and this issue ends with the birth of Wolverine as depicted in the miniseries Origin. There’s still a lot more to come, so make room in your longboxes.
History Of The Marvel Universe #1 releases on July 24, 2019!
Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.