'Marvel Comics #1000' packs a punch with tributes, interviews and a story that ties together 80 years of its history
It has been 80 long years since Marvel Comics #1 first hit the stands. To celebrate its anniversary in 2019, the publisher released a giant-sized special issue titled 'Marvel Comics #1000' and it is a fitting tribute to a truly inspiring history
Apart from their Distinguished Competition, Marvel Comics is easily the biggest name in the graphic novel industry. To celebrate its 80th anniversary in 2019, the publisher released a giant-sized special issue titled 'Marvel Comics #1000' and it is a fitting tribute to a truly inspiring history. The book is filled to the brim with short tributes and interviews with some of Marvel's most iconic characters and an overarching plot that goes all the way back to the birth of Marvel's first superhero, the original Human Torch.
Each page of the comic book is a tribute to at least one character from the history of Marvel. Pretty much all the heroes (and a few villains) have received a page in the book, including Captain America, Spider-Man and Doctor Doom to name a few.
The issue even manages to sneak in a Batman cameo in the middle of a Deadpool story, which is bound to be adored by fans everywhere (though perhaps not so much by DC). Some, like the Doctor Strange story 'Spin Cycle', are hilarious interludes while others serve as touching portraits of some of the greatest fictional characters ever created.
From Wolverine and the Punisher's shared love of baths to Spider-Man's heartbreaking patrol route, we learn a little more about each character in this commemorative issue. Marvel has brought back almost every writer and artist to ever have worked for the company to make this issue a visual masterpiece. Some of the stories, like the tribute to Marvel's first Native American hero Red Wolf, are beautifully illustrated and a genuine treat for the readers.
Throughout the book, an unseen figure (more on that later) interviews some of Marvel's greatest heroes, starting with the young Miss America. Some of the interviews, like the ones with the Hulk and Deadpool, are not exactly informative, though they do showcase the characters' personalities quite brilliantly.
Others provide quick looks into the lives of heroes like Jessica Jones and Ben Grimm/The Thing. One question the unnamed interviewer asks most of the heroes is why they do what they do, risking their lives to help absolute strangers. Each hero has a different reason to offer but in the end, it all comes down to the same thing: heroes help people because it's the right thing to do.
The Eternity Mask
As we mentioned earlier, 'Marvel Comics #1000' has an overarching plot that ties together the entire history of the Marvel Universe. It all starts in 1939, the year Marvel Comics #1 was published, with three men arriving at Dr. Phineas Horton's laboratory to see his newly created synthetic man, the original Human Torch.
The story continues through the years, touching on many milestone moments in Marvel history including Steve Rogers' transformation into Captain America, the birth of Adam Warlock and the debut of the Canadian superhero Weapon Alpha. We are introduced to the story through the eyes of Jimmy Woo, Agent of Atlas, who is tasked by Bobby da Costa/Citizen V to find a connection between the Thunderer, a hero from Marvel's Golden Age, and the Three Xs, a group of scientists who would one day evolve to become the Enclave, the creators of Adam Warlock.
Through it all, there appears a mysterious black mask that grants its wearer power equal to whomever they may face. By the end of the issue, it is revealed that the weapon, identified as the Eternity Mask, is a piece of the spirit of Eternity, the manifestation of the universe itself.
'Marvel Comics #1000' reveals the history of the mask and the many people who have worn it, starting with The Masked Raider, the first adventurer of the Old West published by Marvel. It traces a lineage that began in Arthurian times, a lineage of people who chose to rebel against oppression and protect their fellowmen.
Remember the unseen, unnamed interviewer we mentioned earlier? The final story of the book reveals that every story in the issue was collected as part of the research done by a new hero, one who wears the Eternity Mask and will be making his official debut in 2020: the new Masked Raider.
Wrapping up a Marvelous history
With 'Marvel Comics #1000', not only has the publisher created a narrative that neatly ties together the entirety of its history, it leaves us a message that is eternally important. What made Marvel such a success throughout the years was the idea that superheroes have problems just like normal people.
What Marvel tells its readers in this landmark issue is that normal people can be heroes too, not by being bitten by a spider or wearing a special mask, but by fighting for justice, equality and acceptance. As Captain America says in the book, "Several others have had occasion to don this suit and carry this shield over the years. I have faith that someone else will continue that tradition long after I'm gone. Maybe it'll be your neighbor. Maybe it'll be you. I'm not the first to represent those values. I won't be the last."
'Marvel Comics #1000' is currently available everywhere comics are sold.