It’s been 80 years since the inception of Marvel Comics, but the company’s heroes may be more popular now than ever before. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has made the release of movies based on the characters huge cultural events, and Avengers: Endgame is now the highest grossing movie of all time. However, the comics are still going strong themselves, and Marvel Comics #1000 is here to commemorate the 80 year milestone.
It tells a tale that branches all throughout the Marvel Universe starting from the beginning in Marvel Comics #1 from 1939 all the way up to 2019, and even teases the future of Marvel in 2020. This 96-page behemoth of a book wasn’t just made under a few different people, as 80 creative teams worked on the book, meaning well over 100 people helped bring this milestone to life.
While major comic writers like Jason Aaron, Al Ewing, Gail Simone, Kelly Thompson, and so many more were expected, there were some surprising inclusions like Brad Meltzer, the author behind DC’s Identity Crisis event, and famous basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabar. The artists also involve the current Marvel artists like Humberto Ramos, Declan Shalvey, Jorge Fornes, and Julian Totino Tedesco. There are still some surprises like classic artist George Perez and manga artist Kia Asamiya.
This is clearly one of the biggest projects Marvel has ever produced in comic form, but does it pay off?
It would be nearly impossible to tell a coherent story with all of these creators, so Marvel decided to have Al Ewing write the story about the Mask of Eternity’s travels throughout the Marvel Universe, while other writers wrote about different characters based on big things that happened that year, such as Charles Soule writing a Darth Vader short that commemorated A New Hope’s release in 1977.
The Mask of Eternity story is interesting enough, even without it being the main focus, and will clearly influence the future of Marvel comics, but the single page stories are where this book really shines. Brad Meltzer’s Spider-Man story is a great short emotional ride, while Patrick Gleason’s Captain America story is inspirational and hits the heart of the character. Marvel assembled some of the finest writing talent for this book, and it definitely shows.
A comic is only as good as its art, and Marvel Comics #1000 has some of the best art in the comics market. Seeing tons of different artists with their different styles helps differentiate the stories, as well as the different artists being able to play to the core of the character better. David Baldeon manages to easily reflect the comedic nature of Deadpool, while Jeff Lemire shows the tragedy and pain that Cable has to deal with.
While this issue decides to undertake a tall task, the big question is if it actually works. Well, this balancing act works insanely well. The one common plot thread that goes throughout the years keeps the book from feeling like a bunch of loose threads, but it doesn’t overbear on the individual page stories or detract from them. This blend helps pay respect to all the different aspects of Marvel’s history, and that’s what this book is all about. It even pays homage to the hugely successful Marvel movies by having a post-credits scene of its own.
Marvel Comics #1000 is a beautiful homage to all 80 years of Marvel’s history showing off characters that are hugely popular as well as characters that are niche even within the comic community. This issue was clearly a love letter to all things Marvel, and it really shows that everybody put their all into it. While comics have their ups and downs with stories and popularity, Marvel Comics #1000 gives a great reminder of everything that has come because of Marvel.