Written by Gerry Duggan
Art by Nik Virella, Lee Loughridge
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: July 8, 2015
The Western you’ve seen a thousand times…set in the Marvel Universe. 1872 #1 is a duster filled with unnecessary racism, Western tropes so numerous they are practically tripping over each other and some solid artwork by Nik Virella.
The script for this comic feels like a paint by numbers Western with Marvel Comics names inserted into the appropriate roles. We’ve got a dust bowl town, a sheriff trying to keep order and a crime boss looking to do him in. That’s really how generic this story is, and the insertion of Marvel Universe names into stereotypical Western roles wasn’t anywhere near enough to save me from being bored silly. The only character that is even remotely interesting is Red Wolf, who is woefully underused and acts as the recipient of completely unnecessary racist language throughout the issue.
There are multiple racial slurs used in the issue, and while they are uttered by the villains, they are completely unnecessary. Being that this comic is set in Battleworld and not historically accurate in any way, their use did nothing but sour my stomach to the story. The bad guys are bad, we get it. The racist slurs are completely over the top, insensitive, and do nothing but diminish the culture of the most intriguing character in the comic. Language such as this, used as lazily and unnecessarily as this, is just offensive.
To pull somewhat of a 180 here, Nik Virella’s artwork is very strong. She is a very skilled penciler and she sets the 1872 mood brilliantly without any need for racial slurs to drive home the time period. She handles the dirt and grim of a dusty old town and the hardened, grizzled law maker and denizens nicely. Lee Loughridge’s colour choices further nail down the 1872 feel, and his work enhances Virella’s pencils very well.
Overall, 1872 #1 is a failed attempt at crafting something exciting using tropes that have been beaten to death. Simply replacing a few names isn’t going to cut it, and the unnecessary slurs take away from the strong artwork by Virella. Marvel has a strong Western book out right now, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, that 1872 could have taken some tips from but this first issue was very disappointing.
The Verdict: 4.5/10