Posted by  Pete Albano - February 6, 2012


Marvels 1

marvels 1 cover

It's the 40s, and superheroes are new again!

Remember when they called "Courage" Hemingway's hot stuff - grace under pressure, you know. What's Busiek's hot stuff? Answer : Relativity. That's the secret ingredient Busiek brings that makes Marvels so good. Simply put, put one superhero beside another and you've got two larger-than-life Titans. Put them both against a Cosmic backdrop, maybe Asgard or Attilan or Galactus' ship and you've got an epic tale. But something is lost. One powerhouse layer after another makes the magic of superheroes commonplace. One titan relative to another titan and they both somehow diminish. Relativity.

Knowing this, Busiek and Ross have placed Marvel's heroes firmly in the mundane; right in the middle of us. And with us regular folks as a backdrop, these heroes really shine. A simple concept but with Busiek writing and Ross' art. Well, what can I say. Marvel is one of those comics that will be regarded as being in a class of its own. All four issues and, or, the collected works are absolute keepers.

Issue one tackles heroes from a time when Marvel wasn't Marvel, when the company was called Timely, Kirby and Lee were just starting out, and Marvel only had three major heroes: Bill Everett's Namor the Submariner, Carl Burgos' Human Torch and Simon and Kirby's Captain America. They're here, they're all here! The stories from the forties. The Torch and Namor fighting in New York. The crowds watching newsreels about Cap. Plus two unforgettable double page spreads from Ross. One showing Namor's tsunami attack on New York the other showing the Invader's in action over Nazi Germany!

Marvels 2

marvels 2 cover

It's the 60s! Make Mine Marvel!

You're in for a treat. It's Marvel's Silver Age done in forty or so pages in the merry Marvels manner. Not Marvel manner mind you, Marvels manner, Busiek-Ross style. Man-on-the-street looking up at gods in costume. This is the issue that contains the iconic shot of giant man walking between two buildings shot from below were we can all appreciate the 'Giant' in giant man - and no, I wasn't referring to his, er, anyway.

This issue starts with Captain America, newly resurrected by the Avengers, who are here also. He's going through New York while people point and look. I love the detail on the Pontiac GTO, by the way. Then we have, of course, the guys who started Marvel's Silver Age, the Fantastic Four. Before we even get used to that we have Thor, Iron Man, the Wasp. They're all here. And the X-Men are here too. Done quite right as the furtive, menacing mutants they were thought to be. In fact, this issue is full of mutant paranoia. And where mutant paranoia is, you'll find the Sentinels. You can just imagine what an artist like Ross can do with the Sentinels. For all the panic, issue 2 ends with a high note, that Silver Age milestone - the wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm.

Packed. This issue is a tour de force of the Silver Age.

Marvels 3

marvels 3 cover

There are days when I really do want Galactus to eat the Earth

Cosmic Marvel is the theme of issue 3 of Marvels. Seeing that we are still in the Silver Age, what is the biggest Cosmic event during Marvel's Silver Age? The arrival of the Stranger in X-Men? Nope. The appearance of the Skrulls in Fantastic Four? Nope. Captain Marvel maybe? Ah ah. How about the Space Phantom in the Avengers? You've got to be kidding.

Let's spell it out : G-A-L-A-C-T-U-S. Oh yeah

I just love Alex Ross in this comic. He handles it just right. Just browse through issue 3 and you'll swear, the visuals are done in such a way as to make it seem the comic can't hold the size of this story! Galactus is too big for the comic. Brilliant! And yes, we are talking about those classic FF tales about the Planet Eater's arrival with his herald Silver Surfer. There are so many double page and single page spreads here, you are going to love every one of them.

Marvels 4

marvels 4 cover

For those who still miss Gwen Stacy

Imagine calling a series Marvels and not having Spider-Man there. Not gonna happen. The iconic, the biggest, Marvel hero claims the fourth Marvels book. The focus this time around is a milestone issue of Amazing Spider-Man. Yes, we've all heard it a gazillion times. It's the death of Gwen Stacy.

It's a bit of a mystery isn't it? About whether the Goblin killed her or Spidey did. Of course it was the Goblin, but, technically was it that "bad catch" from Peter that snapped here neck? If you want to get another angle on the classic Romita panels, Alex Ross has just what your looking for this issue.

marvels tpb cover

Collects issues 1 to 4

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