In celebration of Marvel’s 80th anniversary, a special new line of trade paperbacks has been released featuring stories throughout specific decades to celebrate what Marvel was up to in that period. For the 2000s, it’s all about hard-hitting stories that were revolutionary in their approach. With X-Men and Spider-Man showing the world comics can be for adults, the comic book stories reflected that. Featuring seven stories published between 2000 and 2006, this book reveals what Marvel was all about in the 2000s.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Celebrate 80 years of Marvel Comics, decade by decade – with high-profile stories that sparked a media frenzy in the Tumultuous 2000s! The House of Ideas garnered mainstream attention like never before as they shook things up, introducing a brand new Ultimate universe for a new generation of readers! Telling the story they said could never be told…the origin of Wolverine! And revealing hidden secrets of the program that produced Captain America! Red-hot creator Joss Whedon revamped the X-Men, while Civil War led to Spider-Man’s secret identity going public – and Captain America’s shocking death! Plus, living legends meet when Spider-Man teams up with President Barack Obama!
Why does this matter?
We here at AiPT! have reviewed nearly every edition of this collection which includes the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Each one offers an interesting perspective on the decade as well as some of the greatest stories ever told.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This collection features a lot of iconic issues that felt monumental at the moment. Upon reflection, after reading this it’s quite clear the 2000s had some of the greatest stories ever written at Marvel Comics. Judging by the creators behind these stories, that shouldn’t be a surprise: from Brian Michael Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man #1 to Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s Ultimates #1, to Joss Whedon taking the world by storm with John Cassaday on Astonishing X-Men #1, these are some of the greatest superhero stories ever told. Millar gets double billing in this collection since his Civil War #2 is collected here too (the issue in which Spider-Man reveals his identity to the world). You can’t go wrong with any of these issues.
When reading these issues in one sitting, and admittedly each issue is only a sliver of the bigger story, it’s quite clear Marvel was all about breaking norms and shocking readers. Seeing Spider-Man take off the mask in front of the world in an in-canon story was huge and so big national news reported on it. The same goes with Captain America being shot dead on his way to trial and Obama hanging out with Spider-Man. They say a PR company has one job and that’s to keep the company on the minds of their audience. Marvel did that and more in the 2000s, and this selection of stories shows us how.
The Ultimate universe stories were also iconic as they showed us how some of our favorite characters can be slightly adjusted to be made new again. Neither Avengers nor Spider-Man strayed too far from the original origin stories, but what they did showed these stories are timeless and are well worth retelling over and over again.
The art in these stories was above and beyond too. Andy Kubert is a comic book legend at this point and we had him to thank for showing us Logan’s origin story. Mark Bagley is one of the greatest Spider-Man artists of all time and I couldn’t think of a better artist to take on the reboot. Steve McNiven, John Cassaday, Steve Epting, Kyle Baker, and Todd Nauck are all artists who contributed to the stories here and they’re all still doing fantastic work today. It’s a testament to Marvel and its creators that they lure in such incredible talent.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
As I hinted at above and I’ve said in previous Decades trades, reading single issues throughout the decade can be a bit unfulfilling. You get a taste of what was up, and it does force you to think about the collection as a singular chunk of comic storytelling, but you’re left with unfinished stories here. In some cases, you’re dropped in late which can be confusing. That’s not the point of this trade, but you have to admit it’s somewhat strange to read these stories in this format.
Is it good?
It’s a blast to relive these iconic stories that came out at a preeminent time for Marvel Comics. This series of trade paperbacks have done a great job reminding us why Marvel’s history is such an impressive one.
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