For once, a comics history lesson that is anything BUT boring: "History of the Marvel Universe #1"

Updated: Jul 29, 2019

Writer: Mark Waid, Pencils/Color: Javier Rodriguez, Inks: Alvaro Lopez, Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna, Cover: Steve McNiven and Mark Farmer

"History of the Marvel Universe #1" cover by Steve McNiven and Mark Farmer

Have you ever wondered how and when Galactus came to be, and what his true purpose is? How was the Savage Land created and how did it become full of dinosaurs? Where did the Phoenix Force come from? What is the relationship between all of the metaphysical beings in the Marvel Universe? Well, Mark Waid has obviously spent a lot of time thinking about it all, and has put all the seemingly unrelated pieces together to make sense.

The first issue opens with a very moody and dramatic first page featuring Galactus in the far distant future, meditating the end of time, which is quickly approaching. Perched on his shoulder is, somehow, the adult Franklin Richards of the Fantastic Four. Is he immortal, or merely time traveling? Franklin desperately wants the history of the current universe to be preserved and remembered, before it dies out and the next universe is created to replace it. Galactus promises to help him remember it all (over the course of this series!)

The beautifully designed and dramatic first page of "History of the Marvel Universe #1"

Any comic book that has the word “History” in it already has the deck stacked against it. History comics tend to be boring to read and to look at. But this series so far is a wonderful exception. Artist Javier Rodriguez has designed some very creative page layouts, starting with that very moody page one, and for the first ten pages there isn’t a single- or double-page spread that contains a traditional rectangular panel. His page designs are multi-layered and interesting to look at, with every page containing an unusual and entertaining visual element.

Waid is obviously making the effort to include every single corner of the 80-year-old Marvel Universe, even the very obscure nooks and crannies, and includes a dozen pages of annotations and story references after the 22-page illustrated story. It’s a very thorough, fascinating, and fast-paced history lesson every Marvel fan will enjoy.

History of the Marvel Universe #1 starts at the beginning of time and ends with the birth of James Howlett (Wolverine), and is on sale July 24, 2019.

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