[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
Marilyn is the daughter of the President of the United States and Marilyn Monroe. Her mom named her Marilyn so that her father would never forget. Now it’s the early 1980’s, and Marilyn lives in the White House under the watchful eye of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Matthew Witkin as the President and First Lady make a diplomatic trip to East Asia. Despite these restrictions, Marilyn has still managed to throw a rager of a party in the White House with her best friend and a number of bands in attendance. However, Witkin just discovered the party and is not happy.
Marilyn Manor #1 introduces us to the titular Marilyn and the world in which she lives. She’s a privileged daughter of the most powerful man in the world, and she still suffers from teen angst and ennui beyond reckoning.
That angst and ennui could turn some readers off to the comic because of that titanic privilege, though the comic does at least acknowledge that angle. What saves the book from succumbing to that pitfall is the anarchic feeling of it all. Marilyn is innately pissed-off at the world. Her circumstances aren’t the source of her rage, but they do serve as a box attempting to restrain it.
That said, Marilyn wants to channel that rage into joy. She wants to give joy to herself, her friends, and even the world if she can. Like I said, there’s an air of anarchy to all of it, and that anarchy wants to flip everything over and bring happiness in its place.
Is there a selfishness to Marilyn? Most certainly, and it’s hard not to roll your eyes a little when she complains about being a shoin to goddamn Stanford. That said, the story still has that age-old relatable crux of the world telling you to be one thing when you need to be something else.
Also, there is a slight weirdness to the timeline. Marilyn’s dad isn’t Ronald Reagan or JFK, though the latter did still definitely have sex with Marilyn Monroe in this universe. The titular Marilyn’s mother is a fictional character named Kelleher.
Marley Zarcone’s artwork is sleek and stylish, and it takes advantage of the insane aesthetic of the 1980’s to bring some, well, anarchic visuals to the comic. Marilyn dresses like an 80’s pop star, and many of her friends and guests do the same. There are some moments where the panels are a little too stark and simplistic, but the party scenes don’t have this problem. Irma Kniivila’s color work is vibrant and off-the-wall too, though it also suffers from the restrictions of those starker panels.
Marilyn Manor #1 is a fun and energetic intro to this new IDW series. While there are some drawbacks to the story and visuals, the book still has enough life, spirit, and personality to carry it through. As such, this one gets a recommendation. Pick it up.
Marilyn Manor #1 comes to us from writer Magdalene Visaggio, artist Marley Zarcone, color artist Irma Kniivila, letterer Jane Heir, and cover artist Marley Zarcone with Tamra Bonvillain.
Final Score: 7/10