While creator Grant Morrison has his lovers and his haters, there is no doubt that there has been some fantastic work released by him. Teaming with J.G. Jones, Morrison introduced a new character into a long legacy. While originally part of the Marvel Knights line, Noh-Varr aka Marvel Boy is now part of the main Marvel U. Here is a look at his first encounter on Earth, in the hardcover edition collecting Marvel Boy #1-6.
Marvel Boy HC
The Mar-vell legacy is a long and illustrious one. The original Captain Marvel, Genis-Vell, Phyla-Vell, Hulkling, and now the list just got a little bigger with the newest addition, Noh-Varr. Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones bring Marvel Boy crash landing to Earth in a spectacular way, with homage to the original and a new path paved for a new type of hero.
The Marvel Boy Hardcover collects the original six issues together. The story is very action-oriented, but also gives a great look at the character Noh-Varr. Morrison squeezes in as many different adventures as he can for Noh-Varr in six short issues, and it all comes together for a pretty fun ride. Marvel Boy crash lands on Earth, after being shot down by Dr. Midas. This doctor, whose touch turns anything into gold, is in search for more cosmic power, in order to develop his own power set, much like the Fantastic Four. Marvel Boy, being from a different timeline and armed with future technology, is Midas’s perfect target. Using his own daughter, Exterminatrix, a Mindless One, and countless other tactics, Dr. Midas goes up against a very formidable foe in Marvel Boy. All the while, the character Noh-Varr, his personality and attitude towards Earth, is developed in a very organic way.
Marvel Boy is an action fueled adventure. It explores science-fiction, and all of its abstract elements, all the while developing a new character that will stay for years to come. As far as origin stories go, it is a great set up for a character that is part of a very distinguished and important legacy in the Marvel Universe. While not every character used in this story is well known to most readers, such as Dr. Midas and his daughter Exterminatrix, they were extremely engaging and convincing. There were some nods to our usual suspects such as the Fantastic Four, which helps keep the story grounded and part of canon. The collected story as a whole was entertaining and exciting.
Grant Morrison, the writer, is often hailed as one who uses abstract concepts and ideas in such a way that makes it difficult for readers to follow. In Marvel Boy, the science fiction lingo and concepts behind Noh-Varr were, at times, a bit hard to follow. But what makes Morrison so suited for a story like this, is that no matter how confusing it may have been, it was also a very simple story with just a lot of fluff. If you can follow all of the technical jargon, it makes it that much more an exciting sci-fi read. If not, you can still take away a great little story about a boy and his path to find out who he is, geared for adventure.
The art throughout Marvel Boy was explosive and charged. J.G. Jones created some amazing visuals for the reader, which only enhanced the whole experience. Jones managed to literally impregnate the New York subways with an alien entity. Being able to keep the feel of a New York hood while exploring far-advanced alien technology seemed like second-nature to Jones. It created this sort of 60s retro sci-fi feel set in the modern day. The action sequences were dynamic and fluid, and really showed off the power set of Noh-Varr, which are pretty unique and new to the Mar-vell line. Matt Milla’s colors complimented Jones’s art well, and combined to make the whole story really polished.
The Marvel Boy Hardcover is definitely a good pickup. It is an entertaining origin story, introducing a fresh new face into the storied Mar-Vell legacy. Morrison drenches an exciting superhero tale with elements of science fiction. While at times it may be hard to follow, it is easy to take away what you like from the tale. Combining a down to earth atmosphere with alien technology, J.G. Jones’s detailed art really explodes at the hands of colorist Matt Milla. Whether you want to immerse in the sci-fi or just take away a good action romp, the Marvel Boy Hardcover can fulfill both needs.