The Revolution was pleasantly surprised with Marvel 1985 #1. The debut issue was better than I expected. Millar has a great story on his hands that has the potential to be something pretty special. I am confident that Millar will crank out another enjoyable read. Let’s go ahead and do this review for Marvel 1985 #2.
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Tommy Lee Edwards
Art Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with the Hulk telling Toby to not be afraid. The Hulk says that his intellectual super-ego has suppressed his monstrous id. The Hulk asks Toby if he has seen the Juggernaut. Suddenly, Juggy busts onto the scene and the two titans begin brawling.
Toby thinks how the one thing people do not know about the Hulk is how awful he smells. Toby then decides to run like hell away from this stunning fight scene. Toby says that a brawl like this is much scarier when it is not confined to panel boxes on the pages of a comic book.
We cut to Toby’s dad, Jerry, visiting his old friend, Clyde Wyncham, in the sanitarium. Jerry says that he hopes Clyde is not annoyed that all his comic books were sold. Jerry says that he thought it was better that kids get a chance to enjoy them just like they did when they were younger rather than letting them sit in the basement collecting dust.
A nurse walks over and tells Jerry that his visitation period is up. Jerry comments how Clyde was a childhood friend and that Clyde has no living relatives. Jerry looks at the catatonic Clyde and then sees an image of Clyde as a little boy back when they were friends.
Jerry comments that it brings a tear to a glass eye. The nurse snaps that after twenty years in this facility that the only two things that bring a tear to her eyes are her pay check and the men’s room.
We shift to Jerry leaving the sanitarium and seeing Toby sitting there waiting for him. Jerry asks Toby if he is okay. Toby is freaked and says that he just saw the Hulk. We cut to Jerry and Toby standing where the Hulk and Juggy had their brawl. The trees are all smashed. Jerry says this damage proves nothing. That anything could have done this.
Toby is mad that his dad doesn’t believe him. Toby spits that his dad always told him that Toby could tell him anything. Jerry replies that he does not want to hear this anymore and for Toby to not tell it to anyone else, either. Jerry says “People don’t want to hear it, kid…Believe me.” We see Doctor Doom, Electro and Green Goblin on the roof of the Wyncham House watching Toby and Jerry.
We shift to the next day with Toby at his local comic book shop. The comic book store owner has a picture of the guy in the vulture costume from the news report framed and on the wall. The indie comic book fan employee laments that fanboys dressing up in costumes only sets the cause back twenty years. That this type of action will never get people to give the medium of comics the respect it deserves. Toby looks at the wall behind the cash register and sees all of the back issues from Clyde’s collection.
We cut to Toby coming home and going straight to his bedroom to read his comic books. Toby thinks how his mother always told him that comic books would rot his brain. That two years ago his mother ripped up every comic book he had. (I had something similar to that happen to me when I was a kid. Parents just don’t understand.) Toby thinks how maybe comics are rotting his brain and that his mother had his best interests in mind.
We slide to dinner that night. Toby’s mom tells him that his step-father, Hart, has been offered a job in England. Toby snaps that he is not moving to England. Toby shouts that the only thing his mom likes about his step-father is his money. Toby then runs out of the dining room and runs up to his bedroom.
Toby thinks how only two things ever scared his mom: loose buttons and that Toby would end up like his dad. That Jerry was smart, but lazy. Jerry was talented but directionless. We cut to Jerry sitting in his apartment watching television. We see model airplanes hanging from the ceiling. We DC and Marvel action figures on a table. We see an Indiana Jones poster on the wall. Toby then thinks of course, this was back before everybody found out what his dad was truly capable of.
We cut to the nurse from the sanitarium arriving home. The nurse’s boyfriend is already at home. Suddenly, someone knocks at the front door. It is Sandman. The nurse slams the door shut. Sandman then turns into sand and pours into the house from under the door. Sandman then attacks the nurse.
The nurse tells her boyfriend to run. Sandman takes out the nurse. We see the boyfriend run out of the house. We then see Electro appear on the scene and take out the boyfriend. End of issue.
The Good: Marvel 1985 #2 was a great read. Miller is doing a wonderful job by employing the slow burn method in order to create so much intrigue and tension in the reader. Millar has impressed me with his ability to make Marvel 1985 feel so realistic. Millar is able to get the reader to completely experience what Toby is witnesses as if it was happening to us. Millar manages to convey to the reader the awe-inspiring feeling of seeing comic book characters breaking out of the borders of a four color panel and proceed to brawl right in front of you.
The titanic clash between Hulk and Juggy was pretty much our only action. Yet, it was exceptionally well done as Millar manages to convey the surreal and stunning experience that swirls inside of Toby as he witnesses this battle. I like the little touches that Millar delivers to try and impress upon the readers that this is the real world and not some comic book Earth. The fact that Millar emphasizes the horrendous smell of the Hulk helps to ground this scene in reality.
Marvel 1985 #2 is a well plotted issue. Millar is allowing the story to unfold in a steady and natural manner. Millar is constructing several intriguing plotlines at the same time. To be sure, Marvel 1985 #2 is still performing set-up work for this story. Still, I have no issue with the slow pacing since I view this story as more of a psychological thriller than a smash ‘em, bash ‘em action tale.
Millar crafts plenty of excellent dialogue in this issue. The dialogue has a nice realistic feel to it. All of the characters are well developed. Millar is able to generate some quality chemistry and tension between the various characters.
I love Toby’s character. This is where Millar’s character work really shines. Miller clearly remembers what it was like to be a young boy and captures those feelings and emotions. Millar makes Toby such a realistic character that the reader can readily sympathize with. Personally, I can relate to the poor kid.
I dig that Millar visits the age old debate about if comic books rot your brain or not. I chuckled as Toby begins to wonder if his mother was actually right that comic books were bad for him. I am sure that many comic book readers probably have a story about when their parents tore up their comics or simply preached how comics were bad for them.
I know I sure weathered that speech from mi madre on numerous occasions. My mother would blame everything “bad” that I did on my reading comic books as a kid. When I came home with crazy facial hair and outrageous hairstyles, she blamed comics. When I came home with tattoos and piercings, she blamed comics. And when I brought home slutty girls who dressed like strippers? Well, my mother would comment that the girls looked like they stepped out of a comic book.
I liked the quick scene at Toby’s local comic book shop. Millar is obviously enjoying poking fun at the people who run comic book shops and the fanboys that hang out in them. The owner is a bit sleazy. You get the feeling that he would sell his own mother for the right price. And the indie comic fan’s comments were spot on perfect. I have heard similar rants at my local comic book shop.
Millar does a wonderful job unveiling the mystery behind Jerry and Clyde. Clearly there is more than meets the eye with these two childhood friends. Millar plants the seeds that Jerry is not your average man. I found it interesting that Jerry emotionally tells Toby that nobody wants to hear stories about comic book characters coming to life. It seems that maybe Jerry knows this first hand. It is possible that Jerry saw comic book characters come to life when he was a kid.
Millar gets the reader wondering if Marvel super heroes have been to our world before. Millar teases the reader with the Marvel villains attacking the heartless nurse from Clyde’s sanitarium. Combine this with Toby’s monologue about how his father was truly capable of more than they ever knew and you have one intriguing plot twist.
I wonder if it is Jerry who is controlling the villains. Maybe he was greatly offended by what the nurse said. Or, maybe Clyde is controlling the villains. That would explain the villains attacking the nurse from his sanitarium. It is becoming obvious that there is more to Clyde and Jerry than what we currently know. It would be wild if Clyde turned out to be this mysterious super powered mutant that the villains mention in the first issue.
The Bad: Marvel 1985 #2 was fairly short on action. We get a nice brawl in the beginning of the issue with Juggy and Hulk and a bit of action with the last couple of pages, but for the most part this was a dialogue heavy issue that focused more on plot progression. Some readers will be less than impressed with the lack of action that we have gotten on the first two issues of Marvel 1985.
Also, Marvel 1985 #2 was a rather slow issue. And the fact that Millar is still delivering more set-up work on the second issue of what is only a six issue series will probably disappoint many readers. When a writer is confined to just six issues, it is tough to burn two issues on laying the foundation for the story.
Personally, I am simply not a fan of Tommy Lee Edwards’ artwork. It is just way too rough and sloppy for me. I found Marvel 1985 #2 to be a dull and muddy looking issue.
Overall: Marvel 1985 #2 was another enjoyable read. If you enjoy a good mystery story that focuses more on character work and a heavy plot driven story then you should give Marvel 1985 a try. I think you will be pleasantly satisfied. However, if you prefer faster paced stories that have some action then I would suggest avoiding Marvel 1985.