marvels cover trade paperback alex ross giant man
9.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Art: 9/10

A new concept in comic book storytelling


Comic Info

Comic Name:  Marvels

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Kurt Busiek

Artist:  Alex Ross

# of Issues:  5

Release Date:


Marvels #1

Reprints Marvels #0-4 (January 1994-August 1994).  It is 1939, and things are about to change in the world.  A scientist named Phineas T. Horton has created a synthetic man nicknamed the Human Torch.  With the Torch’s arrival comes other heroes like Prince Namor, Captain America, and his young ally Bucky.  With World War II the age of heroes rises, but after the war things begin to change.  Mutants rise, intergalactic threats occur, and people like Gwen Stacy face death…and photographer Phil Sheldon is there to capture it all.

Written by Kurt Busiek and illustrated by Alex Ross, Marvels was critically acclaimed upon its released.  The series won Eisner awards for Best Finite Series, Best Painter, and Best Publication Design with nominations for Best Cover Artist and Best Single Issue (for Marvels #2).

Marvels was one of the high points of the ’90s.  Big titles in the ’80s like Watchmen and Batman:  The Dark Knight Returns showed the potential of comic books, but the ’90s were a bit of a void…high on art, low on substance.  Marvels brought high art and story to the table and was a hit as a result.


Marvels #2

The idea of the everyman was something new.  Each month in comics, superheroes battle for the world, destroying property and saving reality time and again…this can have an effect on a human without powers, and Marvels examined how this could effect a person.  The comic made starts small with the creation of the Human Torch and Phil witnessing it.  It then stretches big to Galactus and a threat to the world only to return to another personal story with Phil and his relationship with Gwen Stacy.  It also explores the idea that comics continue…readers now will never know the ending.  They most likely will keep being told for years after they are gone so keeping up isn’t really possible.

Alex Ross’s art is perfection for this series.  Ross always idealizes characters for his stories, and here it is what is needed.  Heroes are ideals…they are shiny and perfect.  Ross captures that.  I think Ross’s work all starts to look alike in big collections, but here, it works perfectly.

Marvels is one of the great Marvel limited series.  Busiek continued this idea in the great Astro City which also focused on the everyday life of heroes and the people in their worlds.  There was a sequel to Marvels published in 2008 called Marvels:  Eye of the Camera, but Ross didn’t return and Busiek cowrote it with Roger Stern.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response