Monday, April 14, 2003

411 #1 - A Review

Penciled by: David Mack, Phil Winslade, Frank Quitely and Tony Salmons
Inked by: Phil Winslade, Avalon Studios and Tony Salmons
Colored by: Chris Chuckry, Dan Brown and Rick J. Bryant
Lettered by: Randy Gentile
Editor: Mike Raicht and Jennifer Lee
Publisher: Marvel Comics

I can’t help but marvel at the irony in this book’s timing. The only way it could have been more fitting was if the 11th of April fell on Wednesday this year, so that this book could have been released on 4-11.

It came out on the same day when most of our nation’s media was trumpeting the glory of war and how joyous our victory is and how generally good things are now that “the great enemy” has been defeated. Hyper-Nationalism has shouted out the calls for peaceful resolution and to speak of reasoning with one’s enemies now will likely lead to scorn and ridicule. And this is the climate into which Marvel puts out this book, the first in a three-part series, about the heroism of those who realize that open arms do more good than closed fists.

Bill Jemas says as much in his introduction to this tome, and the theme is continued throughout the four pieces contained within. The first is a column by Dr. Arun Ghandi, grandson of Mohandas Ghandi, telling a story about how his Grandfather formed his philosophy, with art by David Mack accompanying. The second story tells of a pilot’s unique revenge upon the people he blames for the death of his daughter in a terrorist attack. The third story details a grandfather’s past and his dealings with discrimination and hatred. The final story, by David Reeds, is the story of a soldier searching for where he can truly do the most good… and what exactly “good” is. A team of all-star artists illustrate these stories and do each story service… although I can’t help but laugh at irony of the usually gritty Mark Millar & Frank Quietly working together on a story about non-violence.

The astute reader may have noticed that I did not mention any specific nations or races in the previous descriptions of the stories. I do this in the spirit of the book, which ultimately has one message: that at the end of the day, we are all people regardless of whatever boundaries we may build between ourselves.

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