Don’t let the title of this trade paperback fool you: this is actually a reprinting of material from Marvel Comics Presents #1-9. It appears Marvel is slicing and dicing this series up into multiple trades and this one is a bit more spiritually connected to the series thanks to the grabbag nature of the tales. By my count, there are 17 tales to be read here, ranging from World War II Namor tales to horny Venom stories and a look at newer characters like White Fox. If you like shorter form stories you’ll love this — and it sure doesn’t skimp on creator talent, either.
There are many stand out stories here that range from deeply political and meaningful to all-out fun. Each story is presented with a full credits page which comes with story title, setup summary, and backstory on the character at hand. If you need the info on who Namor is, for instance, you get it. That makes this very easy to dive into if you’re a new reader, or need a short primer on who you’re about to read. Chris Robinson and Jordan White have done a great job not only curating this line, but establishing good set up for each tale.
I highly enjoyed the majority of these tales. Highlights include the very first tale featuring Namor by Greg Pak and Tomm Coker, which has a darker tone and atmosphere thanks to the art and setting. Namor is pulled into WWII only to discover the Americans are bombing entire cities. His reaction is apt and it shows how he truly is a hero and is justified in having a distaste for humans. Daniel Kibblesmith and Pere Perez give us a dose of quirky Spider-Man fun in a story that is decidedly ’70s in its look and feel. Tim Seeley and Reilly Brown poke fun at comics in their Deadpool tale (Image Comics gets pulled in, too!) while Benjamin Percy and Juan Ferreyra give us a deeply absorbing Moon Knight tale for the ages. Leah Williams and Guillermo Sanna’s horny Venom story is so unique and shocking you just have to read it to believe it, and Andrew Aydin and Daniel Acuna’s Captain America story is deeply meaningful as we witness Steve unable to do anything when he brings racists to the door of innocent African Americans.
Another reason to pick this book up is how breezy the read is. Common in nearly every serial story these days is how much you need to read to understand the story at hand or how many comic tie-in books you need to pick up to get the full picture. Not so here as each tale sets up the story and delivers a good one in kind. I’ll admit I didn’t love every tale, but for the one or two that didn’t interest me, there are 15 or 16 that will win you over.
Every creative team does a great job dropping you into the story, delivering an impactful action scene or moment, and then closing out the tale. This is easily a book you can pick up and read on a lazy Sunday, getting entertaining tales one after the other.