I am a sucker for alternate universe or dystopian future takes, so when I found this graphic novel a few years ago, I was really excited to dive in. And it didn’t disappoint.
Originally published in 2001, this tale written by Jim Krueger, with art by Alex Ross, gives us a look at the Marvel Universe 20 years into the future. This is the first in the X trilogy and gives us a very different and unique take on the heroes and villains. One of the best parts of reading a future tale or alternate universe story is that no one is safe, even the lead characters could die. It makes it more interesting and raises the stakes exponentially.
Alex Ross made his name with his work on Kingdom Come, which is a future take on the DC heroes, and while there are certainly parallels with his art here, I think this stands up to any critique. It’s dark, moody, and evokes a world that has been worn down by the endless battle between good and evil.
Some people have had problems with the amount of dialogue and text boxes in this book, but I welcome it. I dislike being to read a 20 page comic in less than 5 minutes. A good comic, whether it’s a single issue or a complete trade, should take you awhile to read and digest.
The dialogue and art should be a happy and equal partnership, complementing each other. For me, Jim Krueger has created an interesting story, and I welcome the expansive dialogue and more immersive content. There is also 2 or 3 additional pages of text giving more detail about the world and story that I find really valuable.
Uatu, The Watcher, calls for the Machine Man to come to the Moon and tell him all that has happened in the decades that he was blind. We find out that all of humanity has been mutated by the Terrigen crystals – the very source of empowering the Inhumans. This begs the question, if everyone has super powers, what makes anyone special?
In this future, the Fantastic Four are no more as Johnny Storm and his sister Susan are dead. Reed Richards is a broken man who is hiding out in Latveria posing as Dr. Doom. The Thing has kids and is relatively happy. Tony Stark has withdrawn from the world and created robot Avengers to serve him. Dr. Strange is gone and his lover, Clea is the Sorceress Supreme. Spider-Man has quit and his daughter swings around with Venom. All of the psychics have died and Wolverine is lazy and married to Madeline Pryor, the clone of Jean Grey. Thor is now a woman, and Captain America is much older and tired from the fight.
The cosmic Celestials are headed back to the earth in order to judge it worthy or not. Machine Man concocts a plan to save the world as Captain America defeats in final battle the Skull, the last of the mind controllers. Black Bolt of the Inhumans sacrifices himself to call for the one who could save them all – Galactus. Although it is not the Galactus we know – a great twist I won’t spoil for you. Reed Richards burns the Terrigen mists from the atmosphere in the hope that all the mutated would revert as Tony Stark gives his life to buy them time to put their plan into effect.
I highly suggest getting this book if you like the Marvel heroes or if you like dystopian future stories. The story is rich, complex and full of exciting cameos that give you insight into where your favorite hero has ended up. At the end, Captain Mar-Vell shows up and leads us into the next installment of this series.