How do you celebrate eighty years of fantastic four colour adventures that have changed, and helped to shape the face of, the modern world? Marvel being Marvel, did it the only way they knew how – by lovingly crafting and creating a tale that draws from every corner of the history of, and features a who’s who of the characters that inhabit, the Universe they created. Al Ewing was given the task of assembling a frankly staggering list of writers and artists to help him tell the story of an ancient magical artefact that has passed through generations of hands, forging the world, and those who populate it, of heroes and how it’s impact has been felt by the Marvel pantheon for more than a thousand years.
Ostensibly a collection of brief one page fables that intersperses the mythology of the object in question with brief snapshots, interludes and poignant moments that comprise the lives of the heavy hitters and lesser known denizens of the Marvel Universe, Marvel Comics 1000 is a triumph of storytelling that captures and enraptures it’s audiences imagination from the first panel to the last.
A testament to the creative abilities of all of the voices involved, Marvel Comics 1000 is an emotional rollercoaster that takes you from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows by sharing the personal and professional triumphs, defeats, losses and victories of its huge cast of players while setting up an ongoing plot arc that’s set to run and run for the foreseeable future by plundering it’s rich past and adding an extra, hitherto unknown element to it. Like any compilation, some parts work better than others, but that said, each and every tale that makes up the whole deserves to be there and has a role to play in the overall story that Ewing set out to tell.
The title is somewhat misleading though as the book collects both Marvel 1000 and Marvel 1001, but when you’re given a little extra bang for your buck and more action than you were expecting, that’s the kind of omission that you can willingly and happily accept, forgive and quickly move on from. A glorious gala of everything that Marvel was, is and will no doubt continue to be, Marvel Comics 1000 is a book that every Marvelite, no matter their level of fandom, needs to read and will, without a shadow of a doubt, thoroughly enjoy. Excelsior! Tim Cundle