The Marvels has been a long time coming. The newest take on the Marvel universe was first slated for release nearly one year ago, but thanks to complications that stemmed from the ongoing pandemic, the series was continually pushed back. Fortunately, the long wait to see what writer Kurt Busiek and artist Yilidiray Cinar have come up with in The Marvels seems to have paid off as its debut issue is one filled with quite a bit of intrigue.
The whole pitch of The Marvels is that this is a take on Marvel Comics' world meant to skip around in time. Busiek himself explains the concept thoroughly at the conclusion of issue #1 saying this is meant to be a series that utilizes the entirety of Marvel. Not only does that include using a wide array of characters (some of which are all-new), but it also means jumping through time as well.
This debut issue of The Marvels adjusts you to this concept relatively quickly and it works out better than you might think. While the book starts out with some important events from the 1940s, a few turns of the page later you’re reading a small arc featuring Reed Richards and Ben Grimm before they ever were part of the Fantastic Four. Another jump has you seeing Thor and Iron Man taking down a dragon of some sort seven years in the past, while another page turn follows Captain America as he dives from space at a point in time ten days in the future.
The idea here is that all of these shorter arcs you might briefly stumble across are meant to tie back into one another at some point. So while an out-of-context battle between Thor, Iron Man, and a dragon might not make a whole lot of sense right now, that same fight is somehow going to come back into play down the road. And I think that’s really fun.
That's not to say that The Marvels leads to you jumping in and out of storylines at a fast pace. The back half of this first issue specifically slows down to introduce a new character by the name of Kevin Schumer. Not a lot is revealed about Schumer right away, but the way in which he slots into this world has me intrigued to learn more.
So far, what I have liked most about The Marvels is how low the barrier of entry has been. Simply having a general knowledge of the superheroes within the Marvel universe is enough to allow you to pick the book up and begin reading. As someone who has been largely out of the loop in comics for the past few years, this is such a breath of fresh air. I’ve spent literally months trying to catch up on everything important that has happened at Marvel and DC since I last ingrained myself in weekly comic book reading. If you’re looking for an event-style comic that uses a ton of different characters but doesn’t come with any of the required backlog reading, this series is what you’re looking for.
It remains to be seen where The Marvels goes from here, but this opening issue has—at the very least—sold me on the idea Busiek and company are pitching. Between Busiek’s fun writing, Cinar and Richard Isanove’s art, and covers by Alex Ross, The Marvels has the potential to be something special. Here’s hoping that this concept is one that continues to work in the long run.
Published by Marvel Comics
On April 28, 2021
Written by Kurt Busiek
Art by Yildiray Cinar
Colors by Richard Isanove0comments
Letters by Simon Bowland
Cover by Alex Ross