John Romita Jr & Various - Marvel Masterworks: John Romita Jr (3 stars)

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Marvel Masterworks

(Marvel UK)

SUPERHERO ANTHOLOGY

With the release of World War Hulk, Kick-Ass and this retrospective it’s a great time to look back at the career of one of comics’ best-loved artists. Nepotism may be an ugly word but in the case of the great John Romita Jr we should be thankful for his family connections (John Romita Sr has been at Marvel since the 50s).

In this ‘greatest hits’ package we get a quick overview of JRJR’s career starting with his first ever comics piece ‘Chaos at the Coffee Bean’ from the Amazing Spider-Man Annual No 11 back in 1977. Then we run through some 70s and 80s Iron Man, Dazzler, Star Brand and Daredevil highlights then jump to a Hulk two-parter from 2001.

It’s a real shame that so much of this collection focuses on his early work when he was still apeing the Marvel house style (with considerable skill it has to be said) but it is in his later work (as showcased in the Hulk reprints here) that he really developed his own unique drawing style. Heavy angular line drawings which, at first glance can appear crude, are actually some of the most expressive in comics, capturing emotion while also turning in amazing action set-pieces. This package offers an interesting snapshot that to some degree shows an artist’s skills developing through the years, yet, with only single or double issues from each title on offer, it leaves you longing for more.

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