The plot: An alien youth is captured and held by a villainous human; unfortunately for humanity, Marvel Boy gets loose, and man is he pissed.
Morrison’s JLA was an exercise in frustration over much of its run. Morrison was playing with big, sometimes massive concepts, but whether because of deadline pressures or creative drift, many of the plots ended up seeming vague and unfinished. Obviously I have no idea how this story will end, but it’s off to a terrific start.
Morrison gives us a brief glimpse of Noh-Varr’s life before the incident that brings him to earth as the apparent sole survivor of a starship disaster. He’s a decent kid with a girl that he loves, and it’s all torn away. The next thing he knows, he’s being taunted and tortured by Doctor Midas. Once he frees himself, he vows revenge on the human race. Perfectly reasonably motivation.
What really makes this an outstanding debut is the big-screen feel Morrison, and especially Jones, impart. The only other book on the stands that looks anything like this is the Authority–in fact, the spread on pages 2 and 3 and the page where Midas faces his destiny head-on could have been pulled from one of the Hitch/Neary issues of that title. I mean it as a favourable comparison–Marvel Boy visually and thematically compares well to the best superhero books on the stands today.
Morrison, as usual, tosses off amazing concepts like they’re a dime a dozen. Epiphany Engines, Kirby Machines, and a fantastic starship that uses them to cross realities like a frog hopping lilypads are introduced in the prologue and may never be seen again. More such mind-bending concepts are likely as the title unfolds, and I’m anxious to see where Morrison takes this tale, and whether he can sustain the focus and excellence on display here. Morrison has more than once proved he has the stuff to pull it off (DC’s JLA: Earth 2 hardcover being an excellent, recent example), and Jones obviously is up to the task of helping him pull it off. Marvel Boy #1 is top-notch entertainment, and I recommend it highly.
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