Writer: Kurt Busiek
Art: Alex Ross with John Roswell, Richard Starkings of Comicraft Lettering
Release Date: July 24th, 2019
Photographer Phil Sheldon takes his daughters to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas Lights. Read on to to find out what else they see.
Marvels Epilogue is a short 16 page story about photographer/journalist Phil Sheldon who takes his daughters to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas lights in the mid 70’s. Phil has been documenting some of the most important superhero events in New York City since prior to World War 2, and he calls the super heroes “Marvels”. While at Rockefeller Center, he inadvertently bumps into Wolverine, but doesn’t know that he’s a mutant. The X-Men are also there to enjoy the lights, and get a much needed break from their super hero duties.
The festive mood is abruptly broken as there are explosions overhead. Sentinels are hunting mutants. Banshee shows up with instructions for the other X-Men and flies off with his signature scream. Storm quickly flies up and defeats the Sentinels all while not causing harm to all the people below. A new hero, Nova, shows up and offers to help.
Phil’s daughters ask him about his job, and he reminisces about all the past “Marvels” he’s witnessed and photographed. They find a cab to head home. The end.
This story is the ending of a very big story that started in 1994. Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross teamed up then to tell the story of photographer Phil Sheldon. This issue continues his story a few years after Marvels ended.
When I first saw Phil was a photographer, I sighed and thought “really, do we need another photographer in Marvel comics”? But no, Phil is no hero posing as with a day job like Peter Parker, he’s just a family man doing his job. But to see some of the biggest moments in Marvel’s 80 year history seen thru the eyes of an everyday man who happens to take pictures for a living is a fascinating take on creating a superhero comic book. Busiek and Ross show Sheldon’s amazement, wonder, gratitude, and fear of observing these moments. His two page recap of the ’94 series do a sufficient job, but I HIGHLY recommend reading the original series to not only fully appreciate this, but to also see the evolution of Alex Ross’ art. The original series is on the Marvel Unlimited app. I’ll admit that in the past I’ve found his art almost intimidating. Almost too real. In my mind when I see super heroes I see Spider-Man and Super Friends cartoons from the 60’s and 70’s, and Bronze Age images from the comics. Marvels was the first time I’ve read a sequential series that Ross has done. It’s absolutely outstanding. But he’s gotten SO much better in the last 25 years. He perfectly captures the feel of the 70’s. From Phil’s hat to his daughters bell bottom jeans.
This issue also has many pages of bonus features that really add depth to the story. Busiek and Ross specifically picked this story to re-imagine and they tell why. The interviews also show the level of detail that went into making this issue. It’s also choked full of Easter eggs, which I won’t spoil. You’ll surely find a few in the image below.
All in all this is an awesome issue celebrating Marvel’s 80th anniversary. My only very minor gripe is that the actual story isn’t a little longer.