The Marvels Project #1 of 8
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Steve Epting
Colors by Dave Stewart
Lettering by Chris Eliopoulos
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by Richard Renteria
As a long-time reader of Marvel Comics at times it can feel like there are no real surprises left to be found in the Marvel Universe. Sure, some storylines may hold a shock or two, but in terms of the history of the Marvel Universe, there really has been a lack of attention paid to the history of the universe, except in bits and pieces, since the original Marvels limited series came out. Having said that, imagine my surprise upon getting to the end of Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting's first issue of The Marvels Project and walking away feeling like I actually had a new understanding of the early days of the Marvel Universe and its first heroes as well as being impressed by how effortlessy the creative team made the story flow.
Throughout the issue there are some interesting character revelations. While the action may be on the skimpy side, it works here. Brubaker wisely focuses on one charcter as the narrator of the story to give the reader an easily relatable viewpoint of events as they unfold. The opening scene was smartly done, and by utilizing an estalished character from Marvel's western heroes, Brubaker ties the past with the present of a Marvel Universe in 1939, when the Age of Heroes began in earnest.
There is a familiaity to the story that works to Brubaker's advantage as he fills in the blanks on some questions about the history of the Marvel Universe. On the surface the revelations may not seem important, but for anyone who has read just about anything by Brubaker, it is usually best to wait before reacting. I did enjoy the fact that he had some interesting revelations about two key members of the Invaders, especially in regards to Namor and his teaming with the surface dwellers during World War II. The story moves with a purpose, but with the slower start, it is the cinematic art that is key to engaging the reader's interest in the story.
Steve Epting delivers some of his best work to date, giving the story an authentic feel and setting. Epting seems to get better with every passing month. His characters are distinctive and emotive with an authenticity that makes the art jump off the page and really adds impact to the story. Backgrounds are well rendered and attention is paid to every detail on the page. There is a somberness to the characters and settings, which makes sense as the issue takes place in the early days of WWII, that is enhanced by the subdued palette of Dave Stewart's colors which, no offense to Frank D'Armata, really take Epting's art to another level. What little action there is to be found in this issue is refreshing and well-drawn. Eptings rendition of Namor riding a wave as he prepares to assualt a Nazi ship was especially impressive.
While the issue itself may be light on action, the manner in which Brubaker unfolds his story and subsequent revelations make for a refreshing read. I did find it interesting that The Marvels Project doesn't seem to intersect with Marvels in a direct manner per se, but Brubaker still wove some elements of that classic Marvel story into the larger tapestry of his story. This was an excellent read overall.