"It was life or death - it was grand opera - it was the greatest show on Earth - and we - every single one of us - we had the best seat in the house." - from Marvels
This is an excellent book for anyone to read, whether a long-time comics fan, or someone who has never read a comic in his or her life. The reader doesn't need to know a single character to enjoy this book as much as someone who had read comics for years. I have read comics for years, and I loved it.
The everyman perspective and gorgeous, realistic artwork set this book apart from most comics. One is introduced to the heroes and sees their epic fights from the perspective of an average New Yorker. The reader feels the terror and the uncertainty, the joy and the excitement of the protagonist, Phil, a freelance photojournalist who watches the emergence of the Marvels, the superpowered heroes, over the decades of his career. The reader see it all from the start - the biggest, most powerful events of Marvel history - the situations, feelings, mindsets, battles, crises and celebrations that affected not only those of the superpowered persuasion, but also the average Joe.
Kurt Busiek gives the reader insight into the mind of the everyman in the Marvel universe - showing why the heroes are loved so much at times, and hated so much at others. The paranoia and uncertainty regarding mutants is perhaps a little more understandable when seen through Phil's eyes. The joy and excitement of an entire city when Reed Richards and Sue Storm are married seems like the only natural response anyone could have when the reader sees how much these heroes meant to the city.
Alex Ross's artwork is gorgeous (as always). His style is definitely suited to this book. The painted images are far more realistic than your standard comic book fare, and that works with this story.
This book makes real the wonder of the "Marvels," but the real story is the wonder of the everyman. Excellent read.