Issue(s): Marvels #4
The book he had been working on is published by the beginning of this issue and it's a success...
...but by the end of the story he's disillusioned.
The story depicts a man growing old and tired. Busiek's ability to step into people's shoes and show the way they work and think proves he's a master, and by showing the Marvel heroes from all different people's perspectives he provides us with a fresh look at them as well.
At the end of the issue, Sheldon, in a manic state now that he's decided to retire, asks his assistant, Holly McCann, to photograph him, his wife, and the paperboy (i guess as a substitute for his kids, who weren't around?). He talks about how the paperboy is just a nice ordinary boy, but the kid is Danny Ketch, who will grow up to be the second Ghost Rider. You can't get much closer to a symbol for the modern grim & gritty age than that.
Ross' artwork is impressive as always, although i think he makes people's costumes look too bulky.
His faces are great. I particularly like the way he depicts Dr. Octopus' instability when Sheldon catches him in a lie.
Quality Rating: A
Chronological Placement Considerations: As usual with these sorts of books, it needs to take place after all of the references below.
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showBarney Bushkin, Bennet Schwed, Beth Sheldon, Black Widow, Daredevil, Doctor Octopus, Doris Sheldon, Foggy Nelson, Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch), Green Goblin (Norman Osborn), Gwen Stacy, J. Jonah Jameson, Jenny Sheldon, Joe 'Robbie' Robertson, Luke Cage, Marcia Hardesty, Phil Sheldon, Spider-Man
The airship in the center of the invasion page is the Owlship from "Watchmen", and Nite Owl and Silk Spectre are seen in the left window.
On the page showing the newspaper article on Norman Osborn's death, the article is actually a rant against Stan choosing Norman as the Green Goblin and how foolish it was to drive Steve Ditko away. You'll need a magnifying glass for it.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 15, 2011 12:50 AM
Sources page for this issue from the trade paperback for cross-referencing:
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | April 27, 2014 3:14 AM
Jay, thanks so much for posting these!
Posted by: Uncanny Michael | April 27, 2014 1:43 PM
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | April 27, 2014 3:42 PM
That should be "Four Wounded in Stark Riot" of course. Aargh. Sorry about that. lol!
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | April 27, 2014 3:44 PM
For all the kudos that the series had earned, this was where the Marvels became real for me. For all the cosmic powers and tampering with time, we could have had 500 pages of Phil talking to Gwen, and we'd still have to reach the point where the Goblin is hauling her unconscious body out the window. The look of fear on Phil's face mirrors our own, because we know how it's going to end. For all the impressive looks at the Marvel Universe, this is where we are horrified to realize 'this has all been written down long ago.' There's no escaping it. That panel of the Goblin carrying Gwen out the window is one of the most horrifying scenes in comics, for my money. I'm not easily frightened, but you identify with Phil, praying "Please, God, someone save her" and knowing in advance that she's going to die.
Posted by: ChrisW | August 19, 2015 2:24 AM
Fnord, I must respectfully disagree with you about Ross' "bulky" costumes. I love that he shows the folds and creases in clothes that are indicative of a character being in motion. Also, Spider-Man's wrists and forearms bulging due to the web shooters under his costume is a great touch, showing how it would look like in real life. It's also refreshing to not see the exaggerated musculature so customary to the medium. Personally, I always found it funny to see the rippling abs of Tony Stark through his Iron Man armor, as a for instance. All this attention to detail makes Alex Ross, in my estimation, the "Anti-Liefeld". Cheap shot? Sure, but someone had to take it.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | June 14, 2017 11:37 AM
Such a beautiful love letter to Gwen Stacy, and one of my favorite books because of it. (And Phil's vicious cynicism after she dies.) I mean, I've always been Team Gwen, but this just cemented it.
Posted by: Dan Spector | June 14, 2017 12:43 PM
Since he's blond I always thought the boy at the end was Danny Rand not Danny Ketch. Although your explanation makes more sense in a metacontext.
Posted by: Multiple Manu | January 20, 2018 8:21 AM
Lol. Just checked my copy and saw that he's actually called Danny Ketch in full name in that issue and his hair is not blond.... so much for my memory.
Posted by: Multiple Manu | January 20, 2018 8:42 AM
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