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Saturday, April 18, 2009

This Week's Suspended Animation - Marvel: The Lost Generation

Marvel: The Lost Generation, #’s 1-12, published by Marvel Comics, 32 pages, $2.99.

Nearly ten years ago, Marvel Comics marketed a 12-issue comic book series entitled Marvel: The Lost Generation. I passed it by.

A week ago, I netted all 12 issues on Ebay for a song...., and found out they were worth the original cover price.

Set in the Marvel Universe’s past, before the origin of the Fantastic Four took place, the story is the brainchild of long-time comics pro John Byrne, who wrote and drew the series. TLG takes several characters previously seen in Marvel stories, throws them in with quite a few dreamt up by Byrne, and gives readers a tale chock-full of well-done characterization and slam-bang superhero action.

The story is driven by the plight of Dr. Cassandra Locke, who is using time-travel in an attempt to prevent a tragedy involving the series’ premiere super team, The Front Line. Utilizing the “back in time” theme, the numbering is done in reverse, with the first issue being 12 and the last 1. While unusual, and smacking of a bit of gimmickry, it does nothing to hamper the entertaining nature of the book.

As is always the case, Byrne’s art proves to be some of the most dynamic in the industry, and his storytelling ability is second to very few, even today. His heroes are true-blue and his villains are vile. Panels brim with action, drama and tension whenever the story calls for it–which is often, in this yarn. I suppose all of that is just another way of saying that John Byrne is one of the best tights-n-capes artists the comics world has ever seen. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Marvel: The Lost Generation is recommended for all fans of superhero action on a grand scale. Find it at comics shops, and online retailers and auctions. And for goodness’ sake, if you enjoy it, email or write Marvel and ask them to issue a trade paperback collection. This work deserves it.

Review by Mark Allen

Check out a Lost Generation cover gallery, here.