MARVEL 75TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Bruce Timm, James Robinson, Tom DeFalco, Len Wein
Art by Chris Samnee, Bruce Timm, Michael Gaydos, Stan Goldberg, Paul Gulacy
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: October 29, 2014
Titles celebrating anniversaries in comics are usually rather on the boring side, simply re-printing material in an anthology package and taking a few bucks from the pockets of nostalgic readers. I am happy to report that the Marvel 75th Anniversary Celebration is not this way at all. There is a lot to enjoy in this look back at some of the biggest moments in 75 years of comics at the House of Ideas.
James Robinson and Chris Samnee kick this issue off in style, giving readers a Marvels style look at some of the high points of the Marvel U over the course of 75 years. Robinson weaves this tale masterfully, hitting so many high points in so little time while examining the evolution of superheroes within the Marvel Universe. This reads like a Ken Burns documentary of Marvel history, and I mean that in the best way possible. Samnee’s artwork brings the nostalgia factor through the roof as his pencils capture the excitement and dynamic nature of the origins of these phases within Marvel’s history. He captures the same magic he did during his time on Captain America & Bucky and I would argue that this story alone is worth the price of admission. I want a Robinson/Samnee Marvels-style look at the Marvel U and I want it now….
The legendary Bruce Timm adapts Stan Lee’s first Marvel script from Captain America Comics #3, released in May, 1941. Timm’s artwork is fantastic in this short read and while I normally don’t care for reading stories from the “Golden Age” due to their normal style, Timm makes this one work. His style is perfect for modernizing this story (somewhat) giving the story a clean look while maintaining the original look and feel. It’s a fun read and I’m not going to complain any time I get to see artwork like this from Bruce Timm.
The collection jumps to a more modern feel with a brand new Alias tale from Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos. Anyone who has read Alias will appreciate the return to that world and Bendis and Gaydos make this story very accessible for those who are new to the series. With the upcoming show there will be renewed interest in Alias and it is great to see Marvel is lining up some new content for fans. Bendis and Gaydos are as strong as ever with this short tale that has a surprising amount of heart.
Tom DeFalco teams with Stan Goldberg to give readers a very old-school Peter Parker story, which I will admit was the weakest of the issue for me. This is classic Parker-can’t-balance-his-life-with-being-Spider-Man stuff, but it did have a neat “Riverdale” feel to it. This short tale doesn’t exactly add anything to the Spider-mythos, but it isn’t poorly executed either.
While he may now be dead, there is no denying the impact Wolverine has had on the Marvel Universe. Len Wein and Paul Gulacy give readers a greatest hits look at the dangerous mutant, showing his ties to nature while giving nods to some of his greatest conflicts. Considering the death of Wolverine and the issues examining the void he leaves behind, this classic look at the character was a nice change of pace.
Overall, the Marvel 75th Anniversary Celebration is a solid read. Bendis and highlight reel of artists contribute covers for fake comics that are entertaining and beautiful all at once and I recommend Marvel fans give this one a look. Sometimes it’s nice to look back at what got you to 75 years, and Marvel has done it right with this one.
The Verdict: 9.0/10