EDICOLA NEWS: THE REVIEWS nr. 223
album: MARVEL VERSUS (Panini)
stickers: 176 (1-176) + 50 cards (C1-C50)
starter pack: album + 5 packets + 3 cards limited edition 4,90€
box: 36 packets (4 stickers + 1 card) 1,00€ each
hard cover album +3 packets + 2 cards limited edition 16,90€
The dark side of the force! Ok, let’s not talk about Star Wars but even here the villains make their mark. We are convinced that the great success of Marvel comics, as well as those of DC Comics, is linked not only to great heroes but also to villains of the highest level. Think what Spider-Man would be without Goblins, the X-Men without Magneto, Cap without the Red Skull and especially the Fantastic Four without Doctor Doom, for those who write the bad number 1. By the way, many of these anti-heroes actually they have aspects that allow them to be appreciable and, in some ways, understandable. Another strong point of American comic fiction.
The album cover and title is actually partly misleading, one gets the impression that the setting of the collection is the perennial struggle between good and evil, where heroes and enemies alternate page after page. The idea, on the other hand, is more “extreme” and effective, for once at the center of attention there are mainly them, the bad guys, those who are almost always destined to lose in comic stories. The sparring partners, between the pages this time, are the superheroes.
The same graphic layout of the individual pages may seem misleading, in the one on the left we find the name of the hero in the one on the right, in the one on the right the name of the villain on duty. Panini could have limited himself to this, instead the work is much more detailed, more impressive, more refined, as if to want to create an Encyclopedia of Marvel Villains.
In fact, for each comic, intended as a character, there is space for the main enemy but also others, basically at least 4 villains per comic are represented in stickers, leading to more than a hundred at the end of the album! Also the lyrics are interesting and well written, in addition to the first appearance in the comics, the creators and the features, also some hints to the most important, epic or sometimes dramatic stories. There is little space, but you really get a more than acceptable idea of what happened in 60 years of Marvel Comics (for some characters more years, for others less).
We would like to list all the villains represented in the stickers, but why take away the pleasure of discovering or rediscovering them by turning the pages? But we do not resist and here we name those who have deserved a special space: Goblin, Prowler, Carnage, Ultron, Thanos, Red Skull, Loki, Modok, Abominio, Kree, Taskmaster, Discord, Killmonger, Dormammu, Doctor Doom, Magneto, Cable, Bullseye. Someone is missing, the Mandarin and the Vulture come to mind. Others perhaps would have deserved more space, for example Kingpin or Galactus. However, it remains a very fun and beautiful album even just to browse, let alone attach the stickers!
The stickers (after the half misstep of the previous album) are an added value, we like them very much, “amazing” especially in their variety, in particular the special ones that light up but are even more pleasant to the touch. Not to mention the shaped ones that we really like them! The cards are also much more interesting than the previous ones, 25 villains (put first, rightly seen as the album is set up) and 25 heroes, all with graphic references to their characteristics. A bit like in the 70s, on the famous comics of Editoriale Corno, now we can really find out “who is stronger between the Thing and the Hulk”.
The final 12 pages with a very funny story created by the legendary Eric Powell (creator of “The Goon”, also published by Panini Comics). Good job Panini to have added this absolute gem to close a well-made album. Too bad only for the devastating quality of the paper, easy to think it is linked to the current crisis of the raw material, in reality it is a problem that we have begun to notice for several years .. sorry, but we do not believe it. At least the album is homage with the starter pack and the collection is really too interesting to go further, despite the problems it is definitely one of the albums of the year.
Fortunately, the hardcover version is also available, on the Panini website and in the Comics shops. Perhaps this is Panini’s new path, a low-quality product for newsstands and hardcover with better paper (until proven otherwise) for the collectors’ circuit. In the box we find 2 other limited edition cards so as to enrich the three limited edition cards that we find in the starter pack and which portray historical Marvel covers, but not the usual classics, another choice we like.