What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about the debut of The Union #1! Of all the books to release this year from Marvel, this one was definitely one of those which takes you by surprise for how unexpected it was. It never hurts to have books like this which represent heroes from other places in the world, though you never expect it till you get it. A team of super heroes gathered from all over the United Kingdom, featuring Union Jack, Snakes, Kelpie, Choir, and their fearless leader, Brittania.
Now I should say that while this book did pique my interest, there is not one of these heroes that I was actually familiar with. Some might say this is bold for the challenge this would create in connecting with the characters, yet there is no better time than now to take a chance on something different from Marvel’s library. What I jumped in hoping was that this first issue would give me a reason to invest in these characters. To allow this creative team the opportunity to sell me on this book and want to get to know more about the characters from there. Through this first issue, I would say that they nailed the landing. They didn’t spend too much time with introductions, but they spent just enough time setting the foundation that this story is being built on. This isn’t one of those stories where the heroes just come together, answering the call, springing into action and what not. You progress through this issue discovering that for the UK, it’s not that straightforward.
Being a superhero isn’t that straightforward, not when your own people seem to make it difficult to just do what you do best. Sometimes we forget that the biggest hurdle for any superhero is being able to make a living out of it. To form a proper team that has both the backing, the funding, and the resources to get the job done longterm. And the same hurdles took the form of outside interference. For as public as this team was trying to be made, that always comes with problems of its own. Especially when everything you do is spectated.
Which brings us to where things go wrong. They did not lie that there was going to be an invasion, though what invaded them is not at all what you were bracing for. The answer to what kind of invasion they were facing was thrilling. Mainly because even then the threat was more than what you expected. And someone was definitely pushed to their limit, but not in the way that they advertised.
One thing that was definitely appreciated about this book is how it relates to the state of the UK right now. Currently there is a divide over there, and this issue took that bold step to address it in a way that made sense for them to have a superhero team. Seeing this from the people’s perspective too didn’t hurt either. I thought it was very interesting that they decided to let this story be told in a modern setting. One where the formation of this team is heavily influenced by the news, the media, and made to be a thing for the people. I mean, when was the last time you picked up a superhero book where a team of heroes had to be debuted to the world?
For The Union, they have one heck of a packed art team involved with the interior work. When you flip to that first page where the story kicks off, you could believe it too. The quality of work that went into the art was commendable. Excellent attention to detail, beautifully rendered settings, great proportions to the characters. The action itself was right in your face. On top of that, the use of perspective was on point as well. Then there was the colors themselves. That what really brought this all together. The boldness of the colors, and even the range stood out almost immediately. Not to mention the use of lighting, textures, and glows. What’s also worth noting is lettering which was made certain to be distinct to this cast of characters.
In the end, The Union #1 felt like a breath of fresh air from everything else unfolding in the Marvel Universe. The story is down to Earth, the problems these heroes face are relatable, and their first job as a team is going to put their longterm success as a team to the test.