Marvel Comics Presents #1

Writers: Charles Soule (“Wolverine: The Vigil — Part One”), Greg Pak (“War’s End”), Ann Nocenti (“First Ride”)
Artists: Paulo Siqueria & Oren Junior (“Wolverine: The Vigil — Part One”), Tomm Coker (“War’s End”), Greg Land & Jay Leisten
Colorists: Frank D’Armata (“Wolverine: The Vigil — Part One” & “First Ride”), Michael Garland (“War’s End”)
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga
Cover Artist: Arthur Adams & Federico Blee
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Review by Nico Sprezzatura

In 1939, a magazine publisher called Timely Comics was formed. If that name doesn’t sound familiar to you, it’s likely because you recognize it as something else — specifically, the entertainment juggernaut now known as Marvel. This week, Marvel’s year-long 80th Anniversary milestone celebration officially begins with the release of Marvel Comics Presents #1: a monthly anthology series showcasing some of the company’s most iconic (and no-so-iconic) characters. It’s a fitting idea for Marvel’s 80th, but should you pick it up?

Anthologies are a hard sell in the current comic book industry. They used to be fairly popular, actually, but that was when comics didn’t cost a handful of dollars like they do now. Marvel and DC in particular still put them out several times a year, but they’re not ongoing titles you can buy year-round; instead, they are usually relegated to a one-shot or limited run. Anthology comics nowadays are usually positioned as something of an event unto themselves, and this one is no exception.

Marvel Comics Presents was an anthology title that ran from close to a decade in the 80s to 90s —and returned for an annual run in 2007— so it makes sense Marvel would bring it back as a legacy title for their 80th.This time around, all eight issues of Marvel Comics Presents (one for each decade of Marvel’s existence) will publish three stories a month, each apparently fitting a particular theme:

    • An ongoing Wolverine story titled “The Vigil” (harkening back to Wolverine’s omnipresence in the title back in the day) which follows Logan through the decades
    • Marvel Age (untold stories of Marvel characters tying into real-life history.
    • Marvel Spotlight (exactly what it says on the tin)

This first issue of Marvel Comics Presents features the first installment of the aforementioned Wolverine story (written by Charles Soule), a WWII-set Namor tale (by Greg Pak), and a modern-day segment featuring the decade’s most enduring creation, Captain America (by Ann Nocenti).

On the whole, they’re all… fine. Each of the creators involved range from good-to-great, with its three writers in particular having all been responsible for some of Marvel’s most-liked runs of all time. But with that said, it does sort of feel like something only longtime True Believers would be interested in. Of these three, Pak’s Namor story is probably the best, exploring the ramifications and deadly potential of the surface world’s carnage — specifically, the bombing of Japan by the USA during WWII. The fact that Pak himself is of Asian descent lends it some meta poignancy that can’t be denied.

The Verdict: Check it out.

Kicking off the juggernaut company’s 80th anniversary, Marvel Comics Presents #1 is a handsomely prepared (if slightly inessential) anthology comic.

Nico Sprezzatura
nicofrankwriter@gmail.com
Nico Frank Sprezzatura, middle name optional. 24. Schrödinger's writer.

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