History Of The Marvel Universe #6 Is A Fitting End To A Year Of Celebrations

by Olly MacNamee

Franklin Richards and Galactus stand at the end of time and at the end of this excellent recount of Marvel’s complex and convoluted history, as History of the Marvel Universe #6 brings this series to a close and a fitting bookend to a year of celebrations for Marvel’s 80th anniversary.
Each issue has seemed to carefully compartmentalise and present a particular era of Marvel’s past, and this one is no different as it looks at the more diverse characters introduced over the past few years or so. As the cover indicates, we get Marvel’s first Muslim lead superhero Kamala Khan, Ms Marvel, a female Thor, and the Secret Wars that saw Marvel’s universe change and merge with other Earths, something akin to their very of Crisis on Infinite Earths, but with less Earths. For a company that’s avoided the kind of de-ageing rebirths that DC Comics keep going through ever since the 1985 series (itself a celebration of DC Comics own 50th anniversary, at the time), this is the closest its ever come to recharging and dragging all their characters and the 616 universe, and as a result, the newly recharged Marvel multiverse has become something fo a regular plot point for many a creator to explore. I don’t see that changing anytime soon given the success of such stories either in the comics or on the silver screen.
But, I digress.

There is no doubt that the past decade of Marvel comics has indeed diversified its cast of characters to better represent the world we live in today. Let’s be fair, when the past comic book creators were all white men working in a boys’ own club work place culture, then it’s no surprise that’s what comic book readers were fed growing up. And, while there are a certain group of fans who reject this (I won’t even lower myself to name their movement, as I’m sure you’re more than aware of their existence), most of us have embraced these changes for the opportunity this gives creators of all creeds, colours and backgrounds, to explore new stories and new perspectives. Yes, there is an argument for tokenism, but what I have seen over the past 10 years, or more, are valid changes made that mainly enrich both the character and the reader’s experience and interaction with these characters.
As well as Mark Waid impressing readers across this series with his capabilities of making summative sense of Marvel’s humongous history, I continue to be amazed by Javier Rodríguez’s ability to create dynamic page layout that are striking in their design. How he’s been able to do this over the course of 6 issues and still come up with new concepts for, effectively, a history lesson in one comic book’s history, is astounding. Both he and Waid are able to sum up even the most complex of crossovers or big events in just a few panels. Even less when you gaze upon the carefully considered single page, or double page splashes that make this comic a must-read for any Marvel fan. Cracking stuff.

Of course, like other publishing companies. many of its stories over the years have looked to the future and, as such, we get the inclusion of The War of the Worlds’ inspired Killraven, the Hulk’s future self, the Maestro, and others, suggesting that, for now, Marvel have a future that is somewhat set in stone. As much as these things can be.
There’s even time for a look to the future of Marvel Comics and stories yet to come. Seems to be the week for glimpses into the future, what with Doomsday Clock #12 promising DC Comics 5G sometime in the next 6 years or so.
As for the concluding revelation? Like the ending to Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, it works well and pulls at fans sense of nostalgia and emotions, while tying it all up neatly in a more than satisfactory manner. It’s also both fitting and appropriate ending to Franklin’s own journey; past, present and future.
Excelsior, indeed.
History of the Marvel Universe #6 is available now from Marvel Comics

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