Busiek & Ross' "Marvels Epilogue" reminds us that Ross is the biggest Marvel of all

Updated: Jul 26, 2019

Writer: Kurt Busiek, Artist/Colorist: Alex Ross, Letterer: John Roshell & Richard Starkings of Comicraft

"Marvels Epilogue #1" cover by Alex Ross

The original 1994 series by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross was the story of the sudden flood of costumed heroes— “Marvels”— in New York City, as seen through the eye and camera of Phil Sheldon, a freelance photojournalist. Alex Ross was still trying to make it in comics, and his ultra-photorealistic style was the perfect choice for the story. Fans and critics agreed; Marvels made Ross a star.

It has taken a quarter of a century for Marvel Comics to reunite the creative team for an epilogue, but better late than never! This Epilogue takes place years later, after several books of Phil’s “Marvels” photography have been released.

The Epilogue opens with a beautifully detailed recreation of a scene of page 1 from The Uncanny X-Men #98, when the X-Men take some time off to walk in the pre-Christmas snowfall and visit Rockefeller Plaza. Every detail of Dave Cockrum’s original scene is captured, down to what every person in the scene is wearing, and even what is happening in the background ice skating rink…including Doctor Doom on skates! He has even cleverly taken two “extras” in Cockrum’s crowd of people and made them into Phil and his daughters Jenny and Beth. Ross also recreates versions of subsequent scenes which featured fellow Marvel artists and friends, and even characters from another comics publisher.

Alex Ross' recreation of the opening scene from "Uncanny X-Men #98"

"The Uncanny X-Men #98" interior art

This time however, the story is seen through the eyes and cameras of Phil’s daughters, as they get an up close and personal view of costumed superheroes and mutants for the first time, and try to avoid becoming collateral damage in the X-Men’s battle with Sentinels, also story elements from Uncanny X-Men #98.

Phil’s daughters are hooked on the action and the excitement of seeing and capturing superheroes on film. They have a newfound respect for the career their father has had.

Usually it's easy to see a difference in an artist's style or perhaps a disheartening drop in skills 25 years later, but Ross' painted art is still as sharp and detailed as ever.

The centerpiece of this Epilogue is a spectacular double-page spread depicting Phil’s memories of his wondrous career documenting the Marvels. My favorite snippet has to be Phil grabbing a beer with Ben Grimm. It’s been a while since we have been treated to interior art by Alex Ross; he is exclusively a cover artist these days. Seeing his return to Marvels only makes us want to see more.

On sale July 24, 2019.

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