Release Date: July 16, 2008
Written by Mark Millar, Drawn by Tommy Lee Edwards
Mark Millar seems to have come from nowhere lately. I mean, we all know his work from the past and we know that it kicks ass (specifically the Ultimates), but he's writing almost half a dozen monthly books right now and at least 2 of them are on my list of "most-excited to read every month."
One of the books in that described category is 1985.
The best way for me to describe 1985 is as a reverse Chronicles of Narnia for the Marvel Universe. In the Chronicles of Narnia, a group of children from the real world are whisked away into a magical land where they are destined to defeat that worlds villains. In 1985, a group of villains from a fantasy land (in this case the Marvel Universe, circa 1985) are whisked away to the real world where they are destined to take over the world since this world has no superheros. Again, like the Chronicles of Narnia, the story is told through the eyes of a boy young enough to believe in what's happening, whether it's real or not.
Much to the detriment of the real world, however, this really is happening.
I imagine that somehow, this young boy and his father will be the keys to winning the fight and it makes sense. It seems as though Mark Millar has figured out something that seems to be pretty obvious. The reason superheroes were so popular in the first place is that real people felt like they could be these heroes. With the culture of our world so infected by the idea of superheroes (movies, comics, cartoons, TV shows, etc.) Spider-Man doesn't hold the same feelings for a reader that he did 45 years ago. Millar has taken things to the next obvious step which is a world where we have that saturation of cartoon-character superheroes in a world where the only heroes are actors playing them. Reading Kick-Ass and 1985 make me wish we had super-villains that we could all fight. It makes me want to put on a costume and right wrongs.
Millar does it in very different ways with Kick-Ass. Kick-ass is set today in the real world with all of the technological advances in social networking and information. It's about a kid who becomes a superhero sensation thanks to youtube in a world where 9 times out of 10 he's going to get his ass kicked for sticking up for someone. But he wants to be a hero and becomes one in a way that we can relate to in this world.
In 1985, however, Millar is able to so plausibly replicate the feelings I had as a kid in that era (and I imagine most kids reading comics in that era) about wanting to be involved in something fantastical that had to do with the fantasy universes I was familiar with. I feel like I was Toby when I was that age in that time. And Millar seems to know what strings to pull from this era to make me feel nostalgic enough for it to ensure that I won't miss another issue.
As for a review of this specific issue, I must say that it raises a lot of intriguing questions. Why is it that Toby's father seems to know what's going on? The book doesn't come out and specify that he does, it merely implies it. Also, I'm legally prohibited from telling you what happens in the end, but I will say this. In most comics, you get one great splash page at the end of the issue that makes you crap your pants, say, "Holy Shit," and makes you realize that you can't miss the next issue. Millar was able to squeeze three of these of equal weight and brilliance into this issue, each getting better than the next.
So, he got me to crap my pants, say, "Holy Shit," and made me realize I can't miss the next issue no less than three times. That Scottish bastard is certainly a crafty one.
With that, I'll leave with this question: If you aren't reading Mark Millar books like 1985, what the hell are you reading?