Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thirty Days of Graphic Novels, Day Five: "Untold Tales of the New Universe"

Untold Tales of the New Universe is more properly labelled a trade paperback collection than a standalone graphic novel, but there's no reason to be pedantic.  I bought this because I remember when the New Universe was launched in 1986, as I had just started collecting comics some months before.  It was a big deal to me and I loved it, and I bought at least a few issues of every title.  There's a lot of nostalgia there, and part of the excitement at the time was the feeling of getting in on the ground floor of something epic.  Seeing new heroes in a new universe from the very beginning made one imagine how cool it would have been to have started collecting comics in 1961 with, say, Fantastic Four # 1!

If you have no ties or recollection of the New Universe, than this collection probably won't do much for you.  But if you hold some nostalgia like I do, it's a lot of fun.  The first story features Ken Connell from Star Brand and is set before the events of The Pitt; it's a very clever story that is very meta and very fun.  The story featuring Tensen from Justice is also done well and helps give the character a little bit more heart.  For those who always wondered what the heck happened between Nightmask # 4 and # 5, the dangling plot thread finally gets picked up twenty years later.  Brief stories featuring Mark Hazzard, Spitfire, and Psi-Force were solid (some are shorter than others).  The only story I didn't really  dig was the one for Kickers, Inc., a book which I thought at least had an original and interesting concept; here, a journey through a hell-dimension just comes across as the wrong genre for the characters.  At the very end, there's a very useful Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe-style entry on the New Universe that helps explain what happened to it in-continuity in the pages of Quasar and elsewhere.

I always wonder how well something like Untold Tales of the New Universe sold; were they really enough fans like me to make it worth it financially?

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