Marvel 1985 #1: Letting loose the inner geek
Ah, 1985. A watershed year in comics, a year in which the last of the old innocent Silver Age comics died out and the first of the grim-n-gritty comics slouched onto the main stage. A time when The New Teen Titans and the Uncanny X-Men ruled the world, when Crisis on Infinite Earths and Secret Wars revamped all of comicdom. John Byrne’s depowered Superman and Frank Miller’s dehumanized Batman were still a year in the future.
In short, it was a damn good time to be a young comics geek.
Now, Marvel has produced “Marvel 1985,” a six-issue series set in that year, but in this world. It’s like a mainline jolt of nostalgia, so fierce and sharp I feel like I ought to be listening to Rush and pretending like I don’t hear Mom calling me to dinner. The plot is pretty simple: villains from the Marvel Universe cross over into ours, and hell breaks loose.
Or not; this issue was all setup and very little action. Written by Mark Millar, who’s always had an air of calculated cool to his work that veers between kick-ass and contrived, 1985 looks like it’s going to be a hell of a good series that knows it’s going to be a hell of a good series. Make sense? No? Well, hell with it, then. Here’s my favorite two-panel sequence from the book, when the young protagonist goes to visit the strange visitors who have moved into the previously abandoned house in his neighborhood:
That’s the Red Skull there leering out of an upstairs window, and that right there is badass creepy. Dunno if 1985 can sustain the skin-crawling strangeness it’s set up — I’d much prefer that to an all-out battle — but yeah, I’m on board.