My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I would give this one even more than 5 stars if I could. A glorious illustrated narrative with all the layers and complexity of a rich novel. Busiek writes a stunning tale of what is basically the history of the Marvel universe, from the appearance of the Human Torch and Sub-Mariner in its very earliest days to the death of Gwen Stacy in the 1970s, all from the POV of Phil Sheldon, an average man and newspaper photographer in New York City who’s always on the scene. Alex Ross’s paintings are gorgeous, lending the story an air of realism and high fantasy simultaneously. The amount of research that went into this amazing piece, not to mention the sheer number of easter eggs, shout outs, and cameos, makes it any comic-lover’s dream. At the same time, I don’t think I’ve ever read something involving super heroes that was so authentically human and so grounded in recognizable reality. Definitely one of the best graphic novels I’ve read to date.