Markleys Fevered Brain: An Epic Tale


Wayne Markley

Wayne Markley


by Wayne Markley

I am a big fan of Marvel’s Epic Collections as you get big chunks of stories in full color in a nice package for a price much cheaper than the masterworks or omnibuses. If Marvel sticks with these books, you will be able to get the entire Marvel Universe in nice matching trades. I do not have high hopes that they will keep these books going that long, but there is no end in sight so far. A couple of negatives of the Epic line is so far Marvel has mainly collected their Silver Age material (along with Star Wars and Conan collections), and they do not do them in sequence. So you have X-Men Vol. 22 followed by Vol. 12 then Vol. 1 then Vol. 20, etc. So if you want to read the stories in sequence, like I do, it takes a long time as you are always waiting for the next volume in the sequence. On the other hand, Marvel does three to four Epics a month so there is a lot of reading. I am going to review some of the most recent books that have come out, all of which I have enjoyed quite a bit.

Incredible Hulk Epic Collection Vol. 22: Ghosts of the Future

Incredible Hulk Epic Collection Vol. 22: Ghosts of the Future


Incredible Hulk Epic Collection Vol. 22: Ghosts of the Future. I have mixed feelings about this book because it continues reprinting Peter David’s run on the Hulk, which I consider just amazing and worth reading all 120+ issues, but the art starts to decline with this volume. How could it not after Todd McFarlane, Gary Frank and Dale Keown? David’s stories continue to be a mix of adventure, long sub-plots, humor and everything that makes a good comic. Angel Medina is the artist on most of the stories and his art is a little two cartoony and ‘90s looking for my taste. The first half of the book continues a long story about the Hulk getting killed and the She-Hulk and Doc Sampson become the focus of the stories. Of course there is the ongoing plotting of the Leader contributing to all the mayhem, and the Jones (Rick and Marlo), get their own talk show, and then…Well the second half of the book is all Onslaught tie-ins. While these stories are perfectly good, I did not care for them nearly as much as I did for the first half of the book which was Hulk-centric. While there are elements of David’s storytelling here, they just seem to interrupt the flow of the overall story. As a plus though, this collection includes the Savage Hulk one shot, which is excellent! Also reprinted here are Incredible Hulk #436-448, Cable #34, Cutting Edge #1 and Onslaught: Marvel Universe. By my math, there are two more Hulk Epic Collections to complete Peter David’s run (along with the Peter David Visionaries trades). While I found this to be the weakest volume so far, it is still an entertaining read that I would recommend just because Peter David’s writing is that damn good. Over 500 pages!

Moon Knight Epic Collection Vol. 3: Final Rest

Moon Knight Epic Collection Vol. 3: Final Rest


Moon Knight Epic Collection Vol. 3: Final Rest reprints the original Moon Knight series 24-38, which was the end of this first series. It continues with the great Doug Moench/Bill Sienkiewicz team through issue 33 and together they continue the gritty and dirty adventures of Marc Spector. To me, this was the best run of the character, only rivaled by the Warren Ellis run. All three of these Moon Knight Epic Collections are like watching the best of 1970s exploitation movies. That are violent, urban, and, for the most part, based in reality. There are not a lot of over the top villains or plots (Similar to Moench’s Master of Kung Fu). These are a real departure from the traditional superhero stories and I think that is why I enjoy them so much. Issues #34-38 are by a variety of creators, mostly Bo Hampton, as well as a couple by Bill Sienkiewicz. There stories were good, but to me you could tell the character, and Marvel’s faith in the character were fading. Nevertheless, I would highly recommend all three Moon Knight Epic Collections if you want a change of pace from the traditional super-heroes while not straying too far from the Marvel Universe. Just great storytelling. A whopping 488 pages.

Ms. Marvel Epic Collection Vol. 1: This Woman, This Warrior

Ms. Marvel Epic Collection Vol. 1: This Woman, This Warrior


Ms. Marvel Epic Collection Vol. 1: This Woman, This Warrior. This is a collection of the first 14 issues of the Ms. Marvel from 1977. This is not the Captain Marvel that you may know for the current Marvel Universe of the upcoming movie, so be prepared. The stories are very ‘70s, and may not appeal to today’s readers, and in some ways they are kinda weak. But on the other hand, they do take Carol Danvers from the pages of the Captain Marvel comic (the male Kree warrior), and put her in a new setting and give her powers which come from her interaction with the Kree. I thought the recent miniseries, The Life of Captain Marvel was SO much better at explaining her origins than these early stories. Still it is interesting re-reading these early stories by Gerry Conway and Jim Mooney (who also drew Supergirl for years in the ‘60s). Plus there are stories by Archie Goodwin and John Buscema. Perhaps the highlight of this collection is Marvel Team-Up #61-62 by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. This is not a bad collection of stories, but to me they are not as good as the other three Epic Collections I have written about in this blog. Also this is a fairly small Epic collection coming in at 312 pages. Marvel has announced a second volume coming later this year so I am guessing they are expecting good sales with the movie coming soon. Worth a read if you have time.

Master of Kung-Fu Epic Collection Vol. 1: Weapon of the Soul

Master of Kung-Fu Epic Collection Vol. 1: Weapon of the Soul


Master of Kung-Fu Epic Collection Vol. 1: Weapon of the Soul. First off, Master of Kung Fu is one of my all time favorite comics. Or at least it was when I was when I was a teen. I was amazed how well these stories held up since I had not read them in 40 years and I have thought most of Shang-Chi’s most recent appearances have not been that good. I think that is because the recent appearances do not have what made the early stories so good, Shang’s father, Fu Manchu, and his supporting cast. These early stories explain how Shang was raised to be the world’s greatest fighter, but when Shang discovers this is so he can help his father, the international criminal Fu Manchu, he joins with British intelligence to try and stop his father and these adventures take him all over the world. Along with Sir Dennis Nayland Smith, “Black” Jack Tar, Clive Reston and Leiko Wu this book is a whirlwind of adventure. While this book was intended to cash in on the Kung Fu craze of the ‘70s, it turned into a very good spy thriller that had an amazing run of artists working on it over the years. His earliest appearances were in Special Marvel Edition #15-16 written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Jim Starlin. The title was changed to The Hands of Shang-Chi, Master of Kung-Fu with issue #17 and Paul Galacy taking over as penciller with issue #18. Doug Moench took over writing the book with issue #21 till the end. This collection reprints Special Marvel Edition #15 &16, Master of Kung-Fu 17-28 as well as Giant Size Master of Kung-Fu 1-4, Giant Size Spider-Man #2 (co-starring Shang-Chi) and more, for over 450 pages of thrills and action. This book really holds up and I would still recommend it after all of these years. (If you really enjoy this Epic collection, there are also four Omnibus collections of all of the Master of Kung Fu run and two omnibuses of the Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, a Marvel magazine from the ‘70s that featured Shang-Chi. I would strongly recommend the Deadly Hands collections as they also feature Iron Fist, Misty Knight, the Sons of the Dragon, the White Tiger, and a lot of early George Perez art!)

This wraps it up for this time. These are just a tiny bit of what Marvel has issued so far in Epic Collections. These are just the most recent releases. I have enjoyed all of these collections so far, even though at times the material is not the best (Think 1990s Marvels). Which Epics have you read and enjoyed? Any you did not enjoy? As always I would like to hear from you. I can be reached at MFBWAY@AOL.COM or on Facebook at Wayne Markley. As usual all of the opinions expressed in this blog and do not reflect the thoughts or opinions of Westfield Comics or their employees. As always…

Thank you.