History of the Marvel Universe (Treasury Edition) – Mark Waid, Javier Rodriguez & Alvaro Lopez (Marvel)

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All that humanity was, is and hopes to be is measured by its history.  The mistakes, suffering, triumphs and collective joy that our species has experienced is observed, studied and documented so that we might better understand who we are and who, one day, might become.  While mankind’s time, from beginning to the present moment, is nothing more than the celestial blink of an eye, the history of the Marvel Universe has been documented from  birth by the being who was there when it began, Galactus.

In the final moments of its entropic decay, as it fades into nothingness Galactus tells its monumental story to the only creature destined to pass into the next Universe, his herald, and the oldest and arguably most powerful mutant to have ever existed, Franklin Richards.  And that tale of the moments, actions and individuals that forged the Marvel Universe, allowed it to flourish, almost brought it to its knees and forced it to rise from the dying embers of almost certain doom again and again, are captured in the pages of The History of the Marvel Universe.

A gorgeous symbiosis of Waid’s compelling and fascinating narrative and Rodriguez and Lopez’s astoundingly beautiful art, History of the Marvel Universe is exactly what its title claims it is. The complete, and admittedly somewhat diluted, story of everything that Marvel built as told from the omnipotent perspective of Galactus. Every tragedy, victory, heart-breaking decision and occasion of brief respite that made reality what it was is passed from the memory of a fading “god” to his chosen successor so that it won’t be forgotten and so that’s existence and the sacrifice of those who protected it until the end will be remembered.

Backed by a comprehensive collection of annotations that expands the story that Waid set out to tell, and admirably succeeding in telling, History of the Marvel Universe is the House of Ideas Rosetta Stone that no fan, new or old alike, can afford to be without.  It’s the one stop shop for everything that you could, and would ever, want to know about the world of superheroes as told by the entity who was there for all of it.  It is, as you’ve probably already guessed, absolutely essential… Tim Cundle

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