TITLE: Image United Issue #1
YEAR: November 2009
COMPANY: Image Comics
Art by Erik Larsen, Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri, Jim Valentino
Story by Robert Kirkman
Layout by Rob Liefeld
Colors by Nikos Koutsis, Mike Toris
Lettering by Tom Orzechowski
Back in 1993 and 1994, Valiant Comics and Image Comics joined forces to put on a six-part comic book crossover between the two companies.
While Valiant met their deal of having their comics published in time, Image did not and it was a disaster, especially for retailers as Image Comics were unable to make their deadlines.
Because retailers were left with many unsold copies and because comic book distributors would only allow unsold books to be returned if they were six months late, because the Image Comics versions of “Deathmate” were late, this would lead to the closures of comic book shops.
Image Comics which were once embraced, would earn the disgust of those affected by the late release dates.
But that was then… Image Comics were still new, trying to find their own ground, having their own discord among its founders and 15-years after the “Deathmate” debacle, Image Comics had grown a lot since then.
And this time around, they wanted to reunite the original founders to work on the company’s new major crossover event known as “Image United”. But would Image Comics get things right?
The first issue features Savage Dragon, Youngblood’s Shaft, Witchblade, Cyberforce’s Ripclaw, Youngblood’s Badrock, Spawn and a mysterious hero known as Fortress.
In different areas around the country, the superheroes fight various villains (such as Overt-Kill), some who are overpowered and the heroes are having difficulties fighting.
One of these new villains happens to be the previous Spawn, Al Simmons who has become Omega Spawn.
Reading this first issue, I thought it was going to be excellent with so many of the characters I grew up reading when Image Comics first started. Savage Dragon, Youngblood, Cyberforce, Spawn, Shadow Hawk, etc. All uniting together to take on overpowered supervillains while we see this mysterious superhero in a panic and wanting everyone to join together and fight because this could be the end of the world if they don’t.
While artwork is top notch and the reuniting of a few of the original Image Comics founders was good to see, the problems that plagued “Deathmate” in 1993/1994 reared it’s ugly head for this crossover book. If you thought “Deathmate” was bad for Image Comics making deadline schedules, Image Comics did even worse by not completing the book as only three of the planned six books have been published.
Rob Liefeld was quite critical, first posting on his site, “this book is absolutely going to be late. As of Friday, McFarlane and Silvestri have contributed absolutely nothing to Image United #3. We’re swimming in 10 year anniversary waters here…”.
As of the last update, which was back in 2011. It looked as if there was some hope.
A year prior, Rob Liefeld tweeted, “It goes without saying that Image United is a massive embarrassment. Damn shame the enthusiasm for the book not shared by all.”
While Image Comics has changed a lot since 1993/1994, unfortunately, “Deathmate” and “Image United” continues to be a sore moment in the company’s history but one would hope they could at least complete what they started.
Maybe in a few years for the 10th Year Anniversary of the first issue in 2019.