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The Marvels Project (Review/Retrospective)

hIn celebration of the 4th of July and the release of Captain America: The First Avenger later this month, we’re jumping into Marvel’s comic book alternate history and taking a look at the star-spangled avenger every Wednesday this month.

Truth be told, I’m not sure what to make of The Marvels Project, a miniseries from Ed Brubaker. Brubaker has been doing acclaimed work on Captain America for some years now, so I guess I almost figured that The Marvels Project would be an extension of that – a period piece set during the Second World War which would allow perhaps the definitive Captain America author to put his own stamp on that iconic comic book origin. For better or worse, this isn’t really that story – sure, Steve Rogers’ early career is covered, but as one small section of a much larger puzzle. Far more than the origin of Captain America, The Marvels Project is the origin of the Marvel Universe.

Carryin' the torch...

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Absolute Justice

They’ve lost their power. And I’m not talking about magic genie-rings or batarangs. I’m speaking about their real power. You don’t need them anymore.

– Lex Luthor discusses superheroes

Are superheroes redundant? In many ways, they’ve formed the basis of an American mythology in the twentieth century – many fo the classical superheroes represent a pantheon of gods not unlike the Greek or the Roman conception of the same. This is particularly true of DC’s panel of major superheroes, who may as well sit atop Olympus looking down on humanity. However, the past few decades haven’t necessarily been kind to the notion of the superhero – increasingly deconstructed and darkened and shaded and compromised beyond any similarity to their original status – and you’d be forgiven for wondering whether the genre has passed its sell-by date. This is the question at the core of Justice, the twelve-part maxi-series by Alex Ross and Jim Kreuger.

A league of their own?

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