Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Mar-Vell-Ous Essential!

Captain Marvel, the late great Kree hero has been on my mind lately and on the newsstands again and again lately. The most recent Captain Marvel product is the second Essentials volume, this one reprinting some material which has never yet been reprinted in an affordable format.

The Captain's utterly fantastic Cosmic Era begins as Jim Starlin comes aboard to fabricate his earliest masterpiece, and introduces one of Marvel's greatest villains, the malevolent Thanos. All of the Starlin stuff is here, including the necessary offshoots of the tale from Iron Man and Marvel Two-In-One. But this material has been reprinted many times.

What's really of significance to Cap fans in this volume is the ready access to the work of Wayne Boring. The venerable Superman creator stepped into the House of Ideas and took the reins of Captain Marvel, Marvel's own space-born super-hero, and produced three very attractive issues. Alas Boring's style seemed somewhatdated even at the time, but I still find his work remarkable and charming.

Also included in this epic collection are the Steve Englehart and Al Milgrom stories following Cap and his sidekick Rick Jones as they rocket into space to match up against the Supreme Intelligence, the Lunatic Legion and other assorted baddies. These are stories not on the level of the Starlin stuff, but still wild entertainment, with more than a smidgeon of the madness folks like so much about the Steve Gerber Defenders stories. The artwork has a somewhat "diverse hands" approach, at least on inks, as Alan Weiss, Berni Wrightson, but mostly Klaus Janson are on board. Alfredo Alcala even drew an issue.

This is hearty collection, a great cheap way for a fan to own the whole Starlin opus as well as some other dandy stories from the shadows of Marvel's mighty history. I'm looking forward to getting my copy.

Here's a gander at the covers in this volume. Issue #36 is not included, as it contains a reprinted story of Cap's earliest past, but I find the Alan Weiss cover for that "Dreaded Deadline Doomed" issue that I included it here.

The one comic book apparently not included in this volume which probably should be is The Avengers #125.

This story fits in right before Captain Marvel #33 in the midst of Cap's epic struggle against Thanos. Why it's not included is a mystery, but certainly space must have been a consideration.

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