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"Edge #1" was the first part of a four issue Limited Series, written by Steven Grant and illustrated by Gil Kane, and published by Malibu Comics, in 1994.

And if you know anything about comic book history, we are already up against a problem. Gil Kane is a legend in the comic book field, famous for creating the modern Green Lantern and for writing some of Spider-Man's most famous stories. At the time he illustrated this comic, he had been active in the comic field for more than 50 years. Steven Grant, while not as famous, had been writing well-regarded stories for Marvel, DC Comics and Dark Horse for a decade. And Malibu Comics was famous for being the worst example of the fledgling comics companies that committed artistic and storytelling excesses in this decade. I was ready to roast this issue before I opened it, until I saw the pedigree of the creative team.

The story begins with a team called "The Ultimates"---but not those Ultimates, breaking up a rally that is turning into a riot. Apparently, people are unhappy, and in this comics' universe, the super-heroes are enforcers of the status quo, not populist champions, because we are getting grim and gritty. The only one of these Ultimates we need to worry about is named "Winged Victory". As the rally becomes a riot---he spots someone on the edge of the crowd--- Edge. Not "The Edge", but just "Edge". "Winged Victory" and "Edge" get in a fight, and then the story becomes flashbacks within flashbacks. We see Edge and Winged Victory fighting some mutants in the top of the Statue of Liberty (artistic license here: the head of the Statue of Liberty is a narrow catwalk, not a full room). They used to work together, apparently. And then we go back even further: a scientist talks about how his father liberated the nazi death camps, and how Eugenics had been perverted, and how the only cure for the horrors of nazism were...Eugenic supermen, which he was putting together with the help of his two sons, who turned out to be--- Winged Victory and Edge. Only Edge breaks from the family tradition. Thus setting up what I guess is the focus of our story: a man's crusade to bring down the family business of dystopian eugenics.

That is quite a bit: in 24 pages, we go from Super-Hero comic, to Grim and Gritty Super-Hero comic, to Godwin's Law. And like I said, while I was ready to roast it, the creative team actually made this work. For me, one of the key reasons it works is that Gil Kane was a Latvian Jew, born in 1926, so I feel the creative team has some moral authority to tread on this ground. But in general, I feel that stories have to earn their reader's trust to talk about serious things. The Marvel Universe established itself for years with brightly-colored supervillains robbing banks before we learned that Magneto was a survivor of the nazis. Here, we have ten pages between meeting our Avengers/JLA clones, and learning that a bow-tie wearing scientist created them after his first experiments with death-row prisoners. It plunges into a story line that took Marvel and DC decades to develop into their comics. And it is only due to the skill of the creative team that it doesn't come off as tasteless and overdone.

In other words, earn your bullshit.

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