I've been very impressed with Marvel's reprint series dubbed "Marvel Firsts". They started with a collection of classic 60's debuts, then offered a trio of volumes for the 70's, and now they've given us a hefty book filled with 40's wonders. The chronological presentation of the reprints is what really gives these books a nuance that many collections, as virtuous as they are, lack. We get to see without much discussion, but with just seeing the work itself, the form develop.
There's a general bias in comics against origin stories. Many just want to get on with the adventures, but I've always liked origin stories. Some argue they are all variations on a few themes, but then that's true of just about any comic book story or any story really. A clever origin can define a character, make them distinctive right off the bat. Some of the origins here involve science gone wrong, or the supernatural. But a goodly number are just about men and women who choose to lead a life of adventure and fight for justice. There's something refreshing about that simple notion, and that such an idea could catch hold.
From Flexo the Rubber Man to the Whizzer to Jack Frost to the Black Widow to the Fiery Mask to Father Time to Marvex the Super Robot, this is a collection choc full of strange goodies. The Black Marvel, Captain America, the Patriot, the Defender, the Destroyer, and on and on. There's a complete Young Allies story in fact, a juicy bit of old-fashioned storytelling sure to offend, and sure to entertain.
Check this one out.