REVIEW: ‘The Union,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Union #1 - But Why Tho?The Union #1 is written by Paul Grist, penciled by Grist and Andrea De Vito, inked by Drew Geraci and Le Beau Underwood with Grist, colored by Nolan Woodard, and lettered by VC’s Travis Lanham. It is published by Marvel Comics. Great Britain launches a new superhero team titled the Union, with each team member representing the four nations of the United Kingdom. However, before the Union can make their grand debut, they encounter a Symbiote dragon and are drawn into Earth’s Symbiote invasion.

This series originally was meant to debut during the Empyre event, but scheduling pushed it back to coincide with the upcoming King in Black storyline. I don’t have a problem with this, as it still fits the trope of a massive threat bringing our heroes together. Said threat just happens to be an eldritch god with control over a fleet of symbiote dragons. It also keeps its unique hook of “British superhero team.”

Grist is no stranger to comics, having previously created Jack Staff for Image Comics and a Judge Dredd story. He utilizes the Union’s formation as a rather biting critique of Brexit and how division based on such a trivial matter as nationality is ultimately harmful. This is symbolized within how the group’s members are displayed. Britannia is a modern-day knight, draped in the United Kingdom’s colors and treated like a superstar. In contrast, her teammates’ Choir, Kelpie, and Snakes are referred to as “freaks”-less so for their powers and more so for their countries of origin. Great stories often use metaphor in their narrative service, and the story Grist is sculpting here is no different.

De Vito and Grist also put a unique spin on each hero. Britannia and Union Jack are built like traditional superheroes, from Jack’s full body suit and utility belt to Britannia’s flowing red cape and silver shield and sword. (It also can’t a coincidence that Jack Staff and Union Jack have a near-similar design.) The recruits also look unique in terms of costuming, though no less superheroic thanks to the artists’ designs and Woodard’s colors. Kelpie has bright pink hair and a blue and white costume that perfectly fits her ability to manipulate water. The Choir also wears a dark grey cloak and a scarf covering her mouth, hinting at her powers having something to do with her voice. Rounding out the character design is the Symbiote dragon the heroes encounter-it is properly massive. The soulless white eyes associated with Venom and a wingspan seem to blot out the sun.

The only character who remains a mystery is Snakes. All that’s revealed about him in this issue is that he’s huge and hooded. Also, the recruits don’t really get much to do a lot in this issue, as the bulk of it is told through Union Jack’s perspective. Perhaps future issues will explore the team dynamic more closely.

The Union #1 is a solid start to Marvel’s new superhero team, with a timely message about working together regardless of nationality or other factors. Provided the team survives the events of King in Black, I wouldn’t mind seeing more of them in the future.

The Union #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.


The Union #1
4

TL;DR

The Union #1 is a solid start to Marvel’s new superhero team, with a timely message about working together regardless of nationality or other factors. Provided the team survives the events of King in Black, I wouldn’t mind seeing more of them in the future.