Published on September 3rd, 2019 | by Chrys Terlizzi
Marvel Comics #1000 Review
Summary: Marvel Comics #1000 (with some creative numbering) is a mixed bag. Ambitious in its attempt to combine an overarching narrative with tributes from 80 different creative teams, this huge issue is a bit strange. There are ultimately more good pages than bad, however.
The Things That Worked:
Whenever this issue focused on heart or humor, the pages really worked. Here were some of the highlights:
- Alex Ross’ “The Last Word” gives us a one-sided interview with the Hulk which ends in disaster for the interviewer’s microphone. It’s a very simple, funny story beautifully told and painted by Ross.
- “Professor Cold Call” from filmmakers Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (drawn by Javier Rodriguez) followed a hilarious back-and-forth about Spider-Man’s powers. The quality of the writing shouldn’t have been a surprise given how well Lord & Miller handled the character(s) in the Oscar-winning “Into the Spider-verse,” but it’s always nice to see people outside of comics come in and take to the medium so well.
- Brad Meltzer’s “We’re Calling Him Ben” efficiently delivered a heartwarming Spider-Man story about how much Uncle Ben means to Peter, and how much Spider-Man means to the world.
The Things That Didn’t Work:
The structure of this issue and how the story of the Eternity Mask is dotted throughout makes for a lurching read. The opening pages lead the reader to believe that they’ll be following a “secret history” of the Eternity Mask told across 80 years, utilizing one page stories with different creative teams. Instead, the issue abruptly mixes in its various tribute pages throughout. Sidenote: all of these Eternity Mask pages are written by Al Ewing paired with a different artist, which creates a necessary continuity, but it undercuts the “80 different creative teams” selling point advertised on the cover a bit.
Additionally, a few of the pages weren’t that memorable or were downright strange (Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s “Return of Not Brand Echh”). When the issue is stuffed with this much content, it’s expected that some things won’t work as well as others.
Finally, it’s an odd choice to leave Marvel’s first family, the Fantastic Four, out of this issue. The Thing gets a few pages and Mr. Fantastic has a brief cameo, but the Storm siblings (The Invisible Woman and The Human Torch) are nowhere to be found. The Fantastic Four are responsible for kicking off Marvel’s age of superheroes, so the choice not to include them in this celebration feels like a glaring omission.
Al Ewing is credited as the “mastermind” behind this issue, as he weaves the secret history of the Eternity Mask into a variety of tributes to Marvel history. This leads to a whiplash effect for the reader, making one feel that the issue would have been better served as either a cohesive narrative spanning 80 years or a series of 80 single-page tributes – not a combination of both.
Quibbles about the structure of the issue aside, more often than not, Marvel Comics #1000 serves as a fun romp through history with a few surprises from its creative teams, both new and old, along the way.
Score: 3.5/5 stars