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GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: Marvel 75th Anniversary Celebration

 
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Marvel-75th-Anniversary-Omnibus-Cover-4d9ba
Marvel-75th-Anniversary-Omnibus-Cover-4d9ba

 
Overview
 

Story by: James Robinson, Bruce Timm, Stan Lee, Brian Michael Bendis, Tom DeFalco, Len Wein and more
 
Art by: Chris Samnee, Bruce Timm, Michael Gaydos, Stan Goldberg, Scott Hanna, Paul Gulacy, Maris Wicks, Mike Deodato, Alan Davis, Mark Farmer, Bill Sienkiewicz, Kevin Maguire, Joe Quinones, Francesco Francavilla, Sara Pichelli and more
 
Cover by: Alex Ross
 
Publisher:
 
FG RATING
 
 
 
 
 
3.5/ 5


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Raves


All collected in chronological order in for the readers/fans to witness and feel how the Marvel stories and art evolved from the company’s inception up to the present times

Rants


Majority of the stories in the list are unquestionably worthy to be considered as one of the GREATEST ever; poor paper quality


To sum it all up..

It is very evident to say that Marvel as a whole succeeds its expectations, both in cinematic releases and in comics releases. This is meaningful for Marvel because this year is it’s 75th anniversary! What better way to showcase its 75th year of existence by releasing its one of the most ambitious projects—releasing an omnibus […]

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Posted December 24, 2014 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

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It is very evident to say that Marvel as a whole succeeds its expectations, both in cinematic releases and in comics releases. This is meaningful for Marvel because this year is it’s 75th anniversary! What better way to showcase its 75th year of existence by releasing its one of the most ambitious projects—releasing an omnibus that contains some of Marvel’s greatest stories of all time. Last November of the same year, Marvel unleashed the MARVEL 75th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION. The stories compiled in this massive 1000 page graphic literature is a result of an online fan-voting Marvel organized for the fans’ top 75 Marvel stories of all-time. To check out the complete results, please proceed to the website mentioned below.* Gladly, this omnibus not only has the entire 75 greatest Marvel stories list survey but has single-paragraph long explanation why each of them is considered as important/significant/milestone/influential; with the inclusion of which specific Marvel collected edition(s) to be located if ever serious Marvel (and comic superhero) readers want to track these stories. And, before and/or after each story/ selection, it presents various cover art printings, particularly issues that went beyond first printing (like Amazing Spider-Man #700 — reached sixth printing!).

If one hardcore Marvel fan (or collector) has to be asked, is this omnibus worth it? I for one would definitely LOVE to have this massive hardbound edition in my ever increasing collection due to the fact that majority stories (either one-shot or single-issue, and story arcs) in the list are unquestionably worthy to be considered as one of the GREATEST ever. However, due to obvious reasons, the top honchos in Marvel decided to select 34 out of 75 stories and compiled these top choices into an omnibus. Moreover, majority of the selected here are single-issues which are mostly deemed very significant on the grounds of being the characters’ first appearances. If there are story arcs involved, Marvel chose an arc that covers two to three issues to the maximum. Others selections are based on other significances that only Marvel could do so (like real-like events), or these single issues won prestigious and critically-acclaimed comic award-giving by the likes of Eisner’s, among others. Let’s see first the omnibus’s top 34 selections and their respective significances/importance in the Marvel canon.

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This hefty volume contains Fantastic Four #1 [1961 – first appearance of Marvel’s most famous family], Fantastic Four #48- 50 [1966 – the first appearances of Silver Surfer and Galactus or the Galactus Trilogy, which also considered as the height of Stan Lee-Jack Kirby’s collaborative effort], and Fantastic Four #285 [1985 – John Byrne’s Hero issue]; Hulk #1 [1962 – first appearances of Hulk/Bruce Banner, Rick Jones, Betty Ross and General Thaddeus Ross]; Avengers #1 [1963 – Loki and the Avengers’ first appearances], and Avengers #57 [1968 – the creation of the heroic android Vision]; Amazing Spider-Man #1 [1963 – first ASM issue obviously], Amazing Spider-Man #31-33 [1965 – the highly influential If This Is My Destiny! arc], Amazing Spider-Man #50 [1967 – Spider-Man No More! story], Amazing Spider-Man #121-122 [1973 – Death of Gwen Stacy!]; Incredible Hulk #181 [1968 – Wolverine’s debut]; Giant Size X-Men #1 [1975 – the All-New, All-Different X-team assembled]; X-Men #141 [1963 – Death of Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix in the epic The Dark Phoenix Saga]; Uncanny X-Men #142 [1981 – start of Days of Future Past]; Daredevil #181 [1964 – Elektra’s gruesome demise]; Marvel Graphic Novel #1 [1982 – the original Captain Marvel’s death] and Marvel Graphic Novel #5 [1982 – X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills graphic novel arc]; Marvels #1 [1994 – start of the highly critically and commercially award Alex Ross-Kurt Busiek’s mini-series]; X-Men: Alpha [1995 – start of the seminal Age of Apocalypse saga]; Thunderbolts #1 [1997 – debut of the (in)famous team composed of former Marvel villains]; Amazing Spider-Man #36 [2001 – post-September 11 memorial issue]; The Ultimates #1 [2002 – the team’s first appearance]; Captain America #25 [2005 – Steve Roger’s assassination and end of the Civil War mega-event]; Hawkeye #11 [2012 – 2014 Eisner’s Best Single Issue]; and some materials from Captain America #1 [1941 – Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes and Red Skulls’ first appearances]; Amazing Fantasy #15 [1962 – debuts of Spider-Man/Peter Parker, Aunt May and Ben Parker (and his death as well)]; and Amazing Spider-Man #248 [1963 – The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man story], and Amazing Spider-Man #700 [2013 – “death” of Peter Parker and Doctor Octopus/Otto Octavius’ grand victory]. I really commend Marvel of placing the above selection in chronological order in order for the readers/fans to witness and feel how the Marvel stories and art evolved from the company’s inception up to the present times (though many of the selections were centered obviously on the Stan Lee-Steve Ditko-Jack Kirby 1960s run, and the 1980s as well). Its binding is still top-notch, Marvel-style! And the cover art by Paolo Rivera is so beautifully painted that I once mistaken it as one of Alex Ross’s art masterpieces.

Quite impressive, many can say. But there’s THE RUB, as one would say it best. One can question the “selective” choices amongst the 75 greatest Marvel stories. It is quite understandably of picking out the most significant issue of the story arcs concerned (like The Age of Apocalypse, The Dark Phoenix Saga, and Civil War), but there are several worthy arcs which, I personally believe, can either match the intensity of the chosen picks or even surpass these altogether. Kraven’s Last Hunt, for one, is still considered one of the Spider-Man’s stories due to its gripping psychological storytelling and the aftereffects of the titular character. The Infinity Gauntlet is still considered as one of the greatest comic events ever, but none of the six-issues or even tie-ins whatsoever is being selected. Moreover with the obvious omission of any of the issues that comprised Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s opening salvo Captain America: The Winter Soldier; that marked the “return” of Bucky Barnes, who was once deemed one of three untouchables in the comic “resurrection” department (this includes “Uncle” Ben Parker and Gwen Stacy, who are still [and officially] dead). And, even Planet Hulk by Greg Pak and our very own Carlo Pagulayan and Jeff Huet who crafted one of the few best Hulk stories ever!

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In addition, in my definition of “omnibus”, it should ideally possess the complete set of works—however the thickness it should be. In this case, I believe Marvel should or could have dropped off the moniker “omnibus” and instead packaged it as “deluxe” or its equivalent edition. My reason is simple. Marvel published already omnibuses that have two or three volumes (examples are Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Fantastic Four run—three volumes overall; John Byrne’s complete Fantastic Four series—two volumes; Brian Bendis complete Daredevil run—two volumes; Ed Brubaker’s Daredevil series—also two volumes; Ed Brubaker’s entire Captain America—four volumes; Tomb of Dracula—three volumes; and even Stan Lee’s Amazing Spider-Man—basically two volumes [one with Steve Ditko and another by John Romita, Sr.). Also, there are omnibuses that mention volume one (Vol. 1) even though there are no updates on the release of the volume two (Vol. 2), such as Bendis and Mark Bagley’s Ultimate Spider-Man Omnibus; Todd McFarlane’s Amazing Spider-Man run; Bendis’s New Avengers; and Jason Aaron’s Wolverine. Even so, why Marvel was limited to only 34 mostly single-issues that clocked to the abovementioned exact 1000 pages? Granted the scope and thickness Marvel would encounter in printing. Yet again, there are some omnibuses that have more than 1000 pages—the first Wolverine omnibus (1064 pages); Age of Apocalypse (1072 pages); X-Statix (1200 pages); Walter Simonson’s entire Thor run (1192pages); Roger Stern’s Spider-Man (1296 pages); Grant Morrison’s New X-Men (1120 pages); Marvel Zomnibus (1200 pages); and Joe Kelly’s entire Deadpool (1160 pages) to name some. I am even baffled on the singular pick of Hawkeye #11 due to its strength as Eisner’s Best Issue of this year when there are single-issues that equally won that prestigious comic award. Brubaker’s Captain America #501 (and Gene Colan’s last drawn issue), and Mark Waid’s Daredevil #7 also nailed that same prize! And, I noticed the mixture of white and colored pages just on top of the book. Judging from the recent omnibuses Marvel releases this year alone, this hallmark edition is no exception at all—poor paper quality. I really miss the thick glossy and sturdy paper used back then before the late 2013. Its omnibuses are obviously superior than majority of its rival counterparts (particularly DC Comics’), but if Marvel continues to cheapen its paper quality but maintains a high price tag, some of its loyal fans may be think twice or thrice on having future omnibuses sooner or later.

Marvel does a commendable job. This is actually the first time in many years that the fans have the chance of choosing their greatest Marvel stories of all time. I give Marvel that one. Yet, I still find its ultimate choices a bit wary, if neither questionable nor wanting. But still, my love and respect for Marvel is evident and I never regretted on acquiring this once-in-the-lifetime piece of visual compilation.


Norby Ela

 
FlipGeeks Operations Editor, Managing Editor of Comics, Komiks, Manga, atbp.


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