52 In 52: MARVEL 1985

Welcome to 52 in 52, a look at the vast world of Marvel Unlimited. I will be reading and sharing my thoughts each week regarding a different single arc or event from somewhere within the world of Marvel Unlimited, trying to find things I haven’t read that are relevant to the current comic or cinematic landscape, or completely irrelevant and just fun to read.

One year. 52 tales. One per week. Marvel Unlimited.

Let’s do this.

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On the docket this week: Marvel 1985 *Warning, there be spoilers ahead*

MARVEL 1985 #1-6
Written by Mark Millar
Art by Tommy Lee Edwards
Release Date: May – October 2008

Well this is just some crazy fun. Galactus in the “real” world getting ready to eat everything? Deal. I’m in. Sold.

Mark Millar and Tommy Lee Edwards go pretty wild with this one, opening a portal between the comic book world and the “real” world and letting villains galore spill through it. We see what goes down through the eyes of Toby, a spirited kid who, like all of us, digs the comic book. When the villains of the world start showing up in his sleepy little town, things get pretty interesting, and Tommy Lee Edwards brings some really nice action into the book when Toby stumbles across the villains. Millar writes the villains well, their unique voices handled quite nicely, and the team-up of father and son is heartwarming in this one.

I’ve never read a Millar book like this at all, and I like the concept. The concept is really what sells the book, as the story moves in a somewhat linear fashion, but that doesn’t mean it is bad at all. The hook is unique enough to make it fun and Edwards throws down some fantastic art to keep your eyes happy while the story flies by. What impressed me a lot about Edwards’ work was how he was able to change his style to represent the “real” world and the comic book world. His colour work is excellent and both worlds are penciled very nicely. He and Millar were obviously on the same page with this story, as the pacing is fantastic and every beat hits at just the right time. 1985 was a great year for them to choose to set this story in because it gives the book a classic feel, like it is hearkening back to a really fun time period where imaginations ran wild and something this zany could be possible. The wonder of the events that is occurring is captured really well by this team and this story really feels timeless.

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The dialogue is well crafted and Millar does a great job of letting Edwards’ work do the talking when it needs to. Millar also chooses the villains of the story well, letting it organically build to the point where when Galactus shows up, there has been a natural progression to the big guy. It’s not like issue #2, pg. 3 we’ve got a planet eater roaming about, which is a good thing. When the real heavy hitters show up, the story has built nicely to that point and this reads very well in a single sitting.

I quite enjoyed 1985, and this is one of those kinds of stories that I’m considering a gem in my journey through Marvel Unlimited. I’m finding that diving into singular arcs in sprawling ongoings isn’t as satisfying as these books that are just set in their own little sphere, which isn’t what expected but doesn’t overly surprise me. Give 1985 a look, even if Millar’s work isn’t typically something you click with – it’s worth the time.

Next up: Something wild and crazy!

Special thanks to John Ernenputsch for helping to curate this adventure.

More information on Marvel Unlimited can be found here: http://marvel.com/comics/unlimited

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  1. Ser Duck said:

    This was, and still is, a great series! Millar is definitely at top form. Did you know that this series ties into his run on Fantastic Four with Bryan Hitch as well as his Old Man Logan story? The character Clyde Wyncham plays a role in all three series and connects the various Marvel universes to the “real world” shown in 1985. It was a really clever use of the character across the three series Millar was writing for Marvel at the time!

  2. jpooch said:

    I was going to mention the connection between the three Millar titles around this time, but was beat to it!

  3. jpooch said:

    Another interesting point about this book is that Edwards wasn’t originally the artist and it was quite delayed from conception to release. As much as I love Edwards’ work here and think it’s some of the best work of his career I was a little disappointed when it was released. The series was supposed to be Fumetti. They were going to hire actors and everything

  4. jpooch said:

    So while the concept of a photo comic done in a 1980s style sounded good i think the execution would have been lacking. Instead we were left with some great Edwards art Ian’s not something like this

  5. JoeC_Mommy said:

    I had forgotten that Mr. Millar wrote 1985. It is … softer than his reputation.

    I remember 1985 as bittersweet, which I think is the reason it reminds me of E.T.