To celebrate the behemoth that is Marvel, they released a bumper special edition, drafting in names the calibre of Brian Michael Bendis, Len Wein and Bruce Timm to give a loving history across time.
Everything starts with a Ben Urich article which gives shout outs to some of the different main characters throughout the universe. The title of the section was Anniversary and gave a wonderful retrospective on the characters, providing the reader with a great introduction to the introspective celebration to come.
Following the fluff and enjoyment the Lee/Cap story provides, we get a Jessica Jones private detective story, the conceit being that an elderly lady has been searching for the fireman that saved her in the fire that ensued from the first sighting of the Human Torch. Daredevil legend and pulp fiction aficionado Brian Michael Bendis takes the reins on the story and provides a neat and informed arc, with an interesting insight into Jessica Jones’ mentality on the question of whether to take the job through inner monologue.
The conclusion of the arc brings forth an entertaining one-page memorial on some forgotten Golden Age heroes – bringing a spotlight on The Thunderer, The Angel, Blue Diamond, Red Raven and Rockman. Whilst there will be older fans clamouring for the inclusion of their favourite, it serves as a neat extra for some of the newer Marvel converts.
We then arrive at a Spiderman story from Tom Defalco and Stan Goldberg. Again classic in nature, highlighting Peter Parker’s incessant lateness and handled with a lightness and humour which we’ve come to expect from Spidey. The section has a very golden age feel and fits in well with the celebration of all things Marvel.
We gain a Wolverine story set in the outback written by the legendary Wolverine originator, Len Wein. The story brings back many classical X-Men characters and shows a wonderfully rendered fight sequence with a mythical creature – a ‘Dirawong’. In keeping with the tone of the entire comic, it is very classical in its telling and arc.
A quick note on a very well judged page with Cap standing over a gravestone labelled ‘In Memorium’ with the names of many of the Marvel workers past and present who are sadly no longer with us.
Finally we have one last celebration page of Marvel in the real world – how comics originally told the stories relevant to their times – from World War II through the Space race and the 1970s, before settling on 9/11 and Obama.
The entire special edition has a very celebratory feel to it and clearly comes from one side on all facts presented. However the narrative arcs within are very fun and here’s hoping to another 75 years of Marvel – just as long as the Stan Lee cameos keep popping up!