Marvels depicts the dawn of the Marvel Universe from the perspective of ordinary people, particularly one ordinary photographer, Phil Sheldon. The world is changing in unexpected ways, making everything seem both scary and grand.
The painted art of Alex Ross adds the necessary sense of realism, as much as “realism” can apply to things like a combustible android and amphibious man.
The first issue focuses on Marvel Comics’ Golden Age, beginning with its earliest characters—the Human Torch and Namor the Sub-Mariner. Both initially appear as frightening figures, not heroes, especially when the two battle each over New York City, leaving all sorts of destruction in their wake (fun fact: the first comics crossover was a battle between the Torch and Namor in 1940). Captain America’s debut, however, causes far less concern and far more excitement.
All the while, plain normal Phil has to figure out what place a regular man has in this strange new world.
When you’ve been reading superhero comics year after year, you can easily start taking the concepts for granted—yeah, of course a person can fly, why not? But Marvels offers a fresh perspective, allowing everything to seem new and exciting again. Read all four issues.
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Alex Ross
Publisher: Marvel Comics
How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Marvels (TPB)
Appropriate For: ages 12 and up