Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Javier Rodríguez, Álvaro López, VC’s Joe Caramagna, Steve McNiven, Mark Farmer, and Sunny Gho
Release Date: August 21, 2019
From the dawn of the 20th century to the first meeting of Mr. Fantastic and Doctor Doom, learn the secrets of Marvel’s history in this week’s all-new HISTORY OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #2 by Mark Waid. Who was John Steele? Which Western gunslinger helped inspire the first Heroic Age? Let’s dive into the issue for another History Lesson from Mr. Waid and find out!
WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
Now, this reviewer understands the argument he has heard from issue one, which still holds weight into this week’s story. Isn’t this just like a Marvel Encyclopedia? Couldn’t readers just go online and use Wikipedia to find out this information? Well, the answer is yes… and no. Sure, the information would be within an encyclopedia or on a Wiki however, Mark Waid takes over 80 years of stories and weaves each narrative together more eloquently than an Amish Quilt. Waid is not only retelling and re-organizing all the “fabric” within the Marvel Universe, but he’s also cutting out various shapes, patterns, and patches while sewing them together to put these classics on display for a variety of fans. Furthermore, these fans could range from weekly readers to movie fans interested in exploring this wide-open universe. Readers, that’s something Wikipedia or and encyclopedia just can’t do.
Waid strategical makes Steve Rogers the hidden focus of the HISTORY OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #2. Like a dusting of snow on each page, readers can see glimpses of the most prolific hero in Marvel surface into history from birth to his frozen demise. Other shocking surprises to this reviewer were how long ago Mystique and Destiny have been around, Nick Fury’s Infinity Formula, the origin of the Scarlet Witches powers, the first line of defense against the Skrulls, and the players involved in the original Avengers Initiative. This reviewer has read comics a long time, whether it be DC or Marvel. However, my jumping on point was always around the early 90’s, which is what makes this series so incredibly interesting to me. Therefore, seeing Waid drop these little informative nuggets throughout the issue really captivated this reviewers attention from start to finish.
Furthermore, Waid carefully takes the time to knit together each key player before ending the issue. Gold and Silver Age readers may look at this series so far and become frustrated after witnessing a retelling in chronological order of what they already know. However, any reader below 40 years of age, is probably distance from this knowledge and can use the issue/series as a true guide to the history of the media they’ve grown to love. Additionally, 80 plus years of content is exceedingly overwhelming for anyone to catch up on or have the time to invest in reading. That said, Waid is genuinely doing Marvel fans and service in a truly poetic way that shows his authenticity for the lore.
Speaking of poetry, Waid isn’t the only “artist” within this book. Javier Rodríguez and Álvaro López do a phenomenal job making this comic feel like it’s from the Golden and Silver Age but with a modern-day spin. Through multiple wars and battles, Rodríguez and López must have felt like kids vigorously searching every Wonka Bar for that one remaining golden ticket. Their sheer excitement and opportunity to draw hundreds of characters that laid the foundation for the Marvel Universe we love today shined through on every page. From the detail of each hero to the action possess of every character, Rodríguez and López’s art were so incredibly clear and grabbed this reviewers attention on every page.
This reviewer highly recommends picking this issue, as well as this series, up at your local shop. Waid intentionally places each character deliberately throughout the comic like a chess match in which he’s the only one capable of knowing the outcome. Each piece blends so well with the other and every move is planned out in advance showing readers the time and involvement in order to orchestrate this amazing task at hand placing readers in checkmate. Regardless if you are an old reader, new reader, or have solely enjoyed the Marvel movies and are taking your first dive into comics, this series is a fantastic place to begin your journey and explore what this marvelous universe has to offer.