Characters Appearing: Bennet Schwed, Beth Sheldon, Beyonder, Black Knight (Dane Whitman), Captain America, Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Doris Sheldon, Invisible Woman, Jenny Sheldon, Molecule Man, Mr. Fantastic, Phil Sheldon, Punisher, Rachel Summers, Silver Surfer, Sub-Mariner, Tracy Burke, Wasp
Marvels: Eye of the Camera #4
Issue(s): Marvels: Eye of the Camera #4
As far as signifying the beginning of a trend towards darker comics, that's not necessarily the one that i'd pick. But that's definitely what the writers are going for, and you can see more concrete examples come up as this issue goes on (see the References, with Frank Miller's Daredevil series especially coming up multiple times, as does Henry Pym's fall from grace).
Much of the book is a trudge through those various events from the perspective of the sick and retired Sheldon (few events are shown, just talked about).
Most of the events fall into the period from 1979-1983 and then there is a jump to Secret Wars, which has Sheldon wondering what value the heroes bring if there isn't much of a difference when they aren't around...
...and then from there another quick jump to Secret Wars II.
So this issue does cover the period through mid-1986, but very few events beginning in 1984 are mentioned, in contrast to the 1979-1983 References.
Secret Wars II, or rather the epilogue in Avengers #266 provides a major turning point for Sheldon, though. His disillusionment is such that he's given up on his work and resigned to die quietly at home, but he grudgingly accepts an offer to go photograph the damaged Rocky Mountains.
And seeing the mountains restored by the Molecule Man and the Silver Surfer, well, "I can still recognize a damn metaphor when you hit me in the face with it".
Unfortunately the upturn in spirit is countered by a downturn in Sheldon's physical health, although he doesn't become aware of it yet.
I am a fan of Busiek (and Stern, ofc) and i always enjoy these Marvels issues. But we're at a period where i think Busiek doesn't really like what's happening to comics, and through Sheldon we get a lot of negative, even moralizing commentary.
And it works really well coming from this sick, bitter old photographer. But it's not commentary that i personally agree with. Of course, we're only in the middle of the series and a spiritual low point for Sheldon.
In the Easter Egg category, a glimpse of a magazine cover that had a profile on Rupert Dockery.
Also, it's Tracy Burke, a recurring character from Ms. Marvel where she was an editor at Now Magazine, who comes and recruits Phil to go to the Rockies to take the photographs that change his outlook.
Quality Rating: A
Chronological Placement Considerations: As always, for issues like these than span a large period, i place it after the last reference. In this case, the finale of this issue is the fixing of the Rocky Mountains in Avengers #266.
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
Note again that a random woman on the street seems to know that Hank hit Jan. This contradicts Hank's surprise that the Avengers know he hit Jan in Austen's run.
Posted by: Michael | February 17, 2014 8:10 PM
If i ever make it to the Chuck Austen years, i may just post those images instead of doing any reviews.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 17, 2014 8:21 PM
Posted by: ChrisKafka | February 17, 2014 8:36 PM
More from the "Sources" section of the trade paperback on this issue for cross-reference:
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | March 24, 2014 1:07 AM
fnord, when it comes to Galactus, Phil is saying you can't tell heroes from villains anymore; after all, restoring Manhattan sounds like something a hero would do, not a "villain" like Galactus.
Posted by: Thanos6 | December 4, 2015 10:46 PM
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