A review by dozmuttz
Marvel 1985 by Mark Millar


Worlds collide in 1985 with Mark Millars ‘Marvel 1985’! A 6 issue mini-series that shows us a 13 year old protagonist in Toby Goodman. He’s the child of divorced parents and isn’t the biggest fan of his step-father. It also doesn't help that there’s a chance he’s going to have to move to England, far away from his friends and father. With a lot going on in his life, his one escape is through the pages of his favorite Marvel comics. He gets it from his father who was a huge fan growing up and it’s a world they share together. After they visit the home of one of Jerry’s (Toby’s father) old friends they see that the house is being turned into some sort of nursing home, or hotel, and there is a strange looking man giving away the old comics of Jerry’s friend. While being outside the house Toby sees a “familiar” figure inside the house that kinda looks like the Red-Skull. There’s also multiple reports on the news that a flying man in a bird suit is going around the city. They even caught footage of him and he looks a lot like the Vulture. Toby knows there’s something going on and he decides to revisit the house where he swears he saw the Red-Skull. What happens next is something he couldn’t even have dreamt of. He sees someone who appears to be Doctor Doom talking to that strange looking man from earlier but now he can tell it’s the Mole Man. Things get even crazier when he’s spotted and tries to escape further into the woods, but he bumps into something INCREDIBLE. He now stands 5 feet away from the Hulk! If he didn’t know it was real before, he does now. Somehow the world of his favorite comic books are merging with his, and the most gruesome of villains are wreaking havoc on his town. It’s up to him and his father to figure out how to stop this chaos and also hope to survive on what could be their final adventure together.

I feel like this was a different kind of story from Millar and more in a good way. I think the overall premise is super fun and his approach to tell the meta type tale makes it feel fresh. He writes a great emotional character in Toby and his reaction to the madness that is happening to him feels so real. There are great descriptions and narration as Toby comes face to face with the characters of his favorite comic pages. There’s also a really dark twist to it; when I say that these comic book villains are wreaking havoc, that’s really an understatement. They are going on a rampage and killing everyone in sight. It adds a horror-like element to the read and I think it’s cool to see Millar write that way as it’s not something I’m used to from him. Even with the story only being 6 issues it feels like it wraps up pretty well and the pacing throughout the book was actually done really great. It’s a nice change of pace for Millar with a lot of familiar elements showing the best of this writer who gets a mixed rep (sometimes deservingly so).

Partnered with Millar this cool mini-series is Tommy Lee Edwards on artwork., who before this project I was unfamiliar with. I gotta admit I wasn’t too crazy about it at first but as the series went on it really did grow on me. His splash and spread pages did a really good job of showing the impact of these fictional characters coming into the non-fictional world (even though it’s still fiction haha). His style is also very rough and sketchy, which in most cases helps the whole horror feel of some of the issues. His villains look scary and more in an eerie/taboo kinda way instead of just the powerful/threatening way that they are normally displayed as. Edwards also does all art duties with pencils, inks, and colors, which to me is always bonus points.

Overall; I know people feel mixed about this mini-series, and sure it’s not perfect, but I do think it’s a fun and different kind of read from Millar. I also really enjoyed the artwork and thought it was a great pairing for the kind of story being told.