Mark Millar & Various - 1985 (4 stars)

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Mark Millar & Various - 1985

(Marvel UK)

SUPERHERO COMICS

Coatbridge’s Mark Millar has been in the upper echelons of comic book superstars since he started writing The Authority in 2000. This was swiftly followed by Ultimate X-Men while memorable subsequent projects have included Civil War, Kick-Ass, The Ultimates and Wanted. Straddling high action and complex concepts with a deft touch for realism, Millar seems to know the way superheroes would think. And it’s this intelligent grasp of how the bizarre and freakish might react if they did exist that creates a strange realism within the world he populates with superbeings and monstrous villains.

In 1985, Marvel superheroes start leeching into the real world and teenage protagonist Toby Goodman is the first witness to the bizarre intruders in our reality. It’s certainly an action-packed ride, as the likes of MODOK, Mole Man and Red Skull seek to rule Earth, but it’s the interaction between Toby and his divorced parents that really gives 1985 its heart, especially when coupled with Tommy Lee Edwards’ evocative artwork.

Millar’s take on Fantastic Four may seem worlds away, being a far straighter superhero tale, but again, it’s the family relations that really hold the piece together, teaming up with Bryan Hitch for some glorious sci-fi action with duplicate earths, time travel and Dr Doom all cropping up. Ultimately, Millar proves it’s the humanity he imbues these fantastical universes with, expertly coupled with complicated ideas and otherworldy exploits, that really strikes a chord with the reader.

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