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Marvels is a four-issue, glossy, all-singing, all-dancing comic series written by Kurt Busiek that looks at some of the Marvel heroes fans have come to know and love through the eyes of ordinary people. Starting out during the Golden Age and looking at the origins of many of Earths Superhuman defenders, the book then goes on to detail how both their actions and important chapters in their lives affect the lives of those who live around them!
Beginning in 1939 and going through to 1974, the main character from whose perspective we see events occur is photographer, Phil Sheldon. Sheldon is there to witness the birth of the original "Human Torch" (very different from the one many readers will know from the days of The Fantastic Four) and becomes friends with a young J.Jonah Jameson when he learns they share similar views regarding the potential threat such Super-powered humans pose towards the rest of humanity! He is there when Namor, The Sub-Mariner, wrecks New York harbour causing extensive damage and is there in Europe when he first witnesses the Super-Heroes going up against the Nazis. He is also there to witness the formation of such groups as The Avengers and The Fantastic Four!
This is an interesting, often varied and always gripping alternative look at some of Marvels biggest events and offers what is arguably the most realistic perspective to date: that of the man on the street! The artwork is amongst some of the best I have ever seen and this truly is a beautiful collection to behold!
But at times, all this also becomes more than just a little bit overwhelming!
Don't get me wrong, I like this 4-part story-arc and think it is definitely a classic tale but, at times, it is all just a bit too pretty. I pefer my comics to be a bit more wham and bam and a lot less thank-you ma'am and though it looks very good and is very bright and colourful, there are moments in this when the whole thing feels a bit style-over-substance!
Marvel has always been my favourite comic choice and I doubt anything is ever likely to change that but one of the points that alienates this limited edition series for me is the fact that many of the earlier events depicted are ones that previously I had little knowledge about. And there is a reason for that ~ they are also events that I have little interest about!
The whole dawn of The X-men explored here is one of the better moments and builds on the themes explored throughout the whole of The X-men history dating right back to the Days Of Future Past story-line and God Loves, Man Kills graphic novel but if you are only interested in them for example then there is not enough here to really whet your appetite. Instead this whole story-arc feels like a smorgasboard or tapas of Marvel Super-Heroes, offering a bite size chunk of lots of Heroes lives rather than focussing on just a few choice individuals. And while this broader view is often a good thing, it can also be at times one of the worst things about this series as there a times when you just want to stay with one character.
Overall, this IS good and an intersting read but I am not sure it is an essential one. If you like comic books that are pretty to look at and are not so fussed about the story then this is ideal for you. But for those of us who prefer the whole package, there are those amongst you who might find this a little.....lacking!