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Comic: Universe X: Volume 1

July 16, 2008

Today will be a little bit different. There won’t be as much background information but I’ll try to focus on two artists involved in the X series who I didn’t mention in my previous post.

Also, last time the information about the actual comic ran a little over long. Fortunately, there are only 3 major plot lines and a few sub plots that I’ll mention. I’ll try to keep a little shorter this time. We’ll see what happens.

Also, I won’t be putting my rating system up this time. What I gave Earth X will stand for the entire series, however, I will be using the my recommendation section for the next books because the X series does get pretty weird toward the end.

On with it then:

Background: Universe X: Volume 1 contains Universe X #0 – 7, Universe X: Captain America #1, Universe X: Spidey #1 and Universe X: 4 #1. For whatever reason (meaning, I couldn’t find it), John Paul Leon is not involved with the X series after Earth. In his place is Doug Braithwaite, who has been working with Marvel since the 1980s when he pencilled for Action Force. Since he has worked for DC Comics doing Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the JLA and he also did a Punisher series. Braithwaite is most known for his work in the Universe and Paradise X series though. It’s important to note that the style changes in the middle of Universe 1 because there is a connect Spiderman comic that was done by others.

The other artists I didn’t mention was involved for the entire X series is Bill Reinhold. Reinhold is the main ink artist behind the X series. Like the others he has worked with Marvel and DC Comics and First Comics. He also does pencils and has worked on the Silver Surfer, the Punisher, and Batman. Reinhold graduated from the American Academy of Art in Chicago in 1982 and has been in the comics industry ever since.

The ever useful, SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read Earth and you don’t want to know what happens I recommend you read another review of mine or click away. To help explain parts of Universe I will be divulging information that occurred at the end of Earth X.

The Comic: Universe 1 is information heavy like Earth, however, there is a lot more action in Universe 1 and it is not nearly as dialogue heavy as Earth. That being said there is still a ridiculous amount of plot to follow.

In Earth, Uatu the Watcher and Aaron Stack (aka X-51) are the main narrators, or history lecturers. Universe 1 uses Isaac Christians and Kyle Richmond in Uatu’s stead. Richmond has a piece of the “cosmic consciences” which enables him to see the future. Christians is Richmond’s roommate and writes down whatever Kyle sees. Meanwhile, X-51 has taken over as the Watcher and uses Uatu’s equipment to view Earth and to try and save.

Three years have passed since Galactus (Franklin Richards) ate the Celestial fetus in the core of the planet and fought off the Celestial’s attack with the Silver Surfer and Tony Stark’s aid. Stark died after his attack on the Celestials.

The giant torches in the world still burn trying to get rid of the terrigen mists that Black Bolt released into the atmosphere causing all of the humans in the world to mutate.

Along with the requisite amounts of Marvel/Universe history that X-51 and Richmond go through there are a few main plots.

First, the child Marvel, who has the knowledge the dead Marvel, uses Captain America to go through the world and search for various magic trinkets. Tandy’s Cloak, the Cosmic Cube, the Silver Surfer is one of them as well, surprisingly.

At the same time two different groups begin to attack the Human Torches through out the world. They don’t show it but every torch except the one in New York City falls and the one of the other plot lines follows the fight by New York policemen to keep that torch lit. Spiderman, Luke Cage, Spider Girl, and Ice Man, among others are on the side fighting to protect the torch. The second group that attacks the torches are only really using them as distractions what they are truly going for are the pieces of Creel. Creel or the Absorbing Man was responsible for the deaths of the original Avengers (except Captain America who left them after he killed the Red Skull, the first one not the psychic kid). This second group wants to rebuild Creel and destroy the world with his powers.

It’s not really a main plot in Universe 1 but one consequence of the death of the Celestial fetus is that the Earth has been re-polarized and the climate is rapidly changing. New York becomes almost a frozen tundra and England starts to become tropical.

Unlike Earth which was mostly focused in New York City and on the moon (sort of), Universe 1 and the subsequent collections take a more global turn of events. The characters go to New York, Latveria, Japan, Canada, Africa, Egypt and weirdly enough the Dakotas.

Another subplot that becomes important in the later collections is the story of Loki, who runs around trying to convince various Norse gods that they don’t have to be Norse gods. Like Franklin Richards Thor and Loki are third tier mutations meaning that they become what others see them as. Loki who has finally figured this out is now trying to reverse this process and become his own man.

The last big main plot of Universe 1 involves Marvel’s dead self in the Realm of the Dead. While his child self is running around the globe collecting various items, Marvel begins trying to convince dead super heroes that they are actually dead.

In the Realm of the Dead, people who have died believe that they are still alive and that those who still live are the dead ones. For example, Susan Storm walks through the Realm thinking that Reed, Ben, and her son Franklin are all dead when, she and her brother Johnny are actually the dead.

Marvel’s secondary quest is to build an army that will go against Death’s skeletal army because his eventual plan is to kill Death. To do that he needs to convince people that they are in fact dead and that they don’t have to worry about losing their lives.

Like Earth, Universe 1 kills off a several heroes from the Marvel Universe, some of them being major main characters in the X series or just huge heroes from the Marvel Universe. Again, a little shocking but Krueger handles it well and I feel that it comes across appropriately.

My Recommendation: If you liked Earth X than I recommend that you check out the subsequent collections. I’m not going to lie it does get a little weird as the series goes on but I do think that it is a pretty good series. I didn’t find any actual statistics but on several major comic websites I did see that apparently the X series is one of the most popular series from Marvel and most well received. That shouldn’t sway your decision but it’s a cool fact. Anyway, Universe 1 is a good follow up to Earth but if you can’t handle more of the X series than Earth is a great place to stop because the Universe and Paradise series bleed into each other more than Earth does.

Friday: I still have no idea. I’ll figure something out. Promise.

Scyo.

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