It’s a worldwide crisis featuring the return no one expected!  Your Major Spoilers review of The Marvels #4 from Marvel Comics awaits!


Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Yildiray Cinar
Colorist: Richard Isanove
Letterer: SImon Bowland
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 18, 2021

Previously in The Marvels:  Spider-Man! Iron Man! Captain America! The Black Cat! Dr. Strange!  Aero! The X-Men! And more!  Cataclysm in Siancong and action in Manhattan! Heroes gather, mysteries deepen and some college kids have a very bad day!  Global danger, personal dilemmas, fighter planes, eldritch power… this one’s got it all!


After the shocking events of last issue, Aero is witness to a giant magical dome over the Southeast Asian nation of Sin-Cong, while heroes around the world watch in horror.  Doctor Strange sees the madness on the news (which also serves as some excellent exposition, featuring perspectives from all over the world) and sets out to help.  As for Kevin Schumer, our point of view character, he finds himself being chased by a giant lava-monster through the streets of New York.  Spider-Man and The Black Cat manage to save him, but the creature is somehow drawn to him, leading to the involvement of Iron Man and Captain America, trying to save Kevin’s life.  Once the creature is banished by their combined skills, the assembled heroes prepare to take Kevin home, only to have the mysterious Ace arrive to tell them that they need him.  Elsewhere, Aero discovers the terrible secret of Lotus’ arcane black dome.


The joy of any Busiek story is in the depth of its characters and settings, and this is no exception.  Not only do we get to see the X-Men debating the Sin-Cong situation, Doctor Doom making an official statement, and Namor warning the surface-worlders, we get more of Ace, who appeared twice in the mid-1980s before this issue and whom only old nerds like me remember.  (Imagine Prince on a motorcycle, and you’ve kind of got the gist of things.)

Yildiray Cinar doesn’t drop the ball on the visual side of things, though, making every character look truly great in action, especially his take on the new Iron Man armor.  The storytelling is good, too, and a sequence where we see Kevin and his friends walking to class is just as exciting as the fight sequences.  This book isn’t precisely meant to be another comic like Marvels, Busiek’s Marvel magnus opus, but it manages to keep the same focus on character and continuity that readers will expect from that book, matching it with a fresh and interesting plot.


To be honest, I loved this book just for bringing back Ace, but even for someone who’s not an obscure comics maven, The Marvels #4 is a well-crafted issue of comics with a broad cast of characters from all across the Marvel Universe, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars overall.  In many ways, this book reminds me of the old Marvel Team-Up title, where anyone can show up and anything can happen, and as far as I’m concerned that’s just fine.

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Fun Stuff

Spanning the width of the Marvel Universe and delivering in both story and art, this issue was a wonderful surprise for me as a reader.

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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