Cramming as much in-universe detail into its 320 pages as it possibly can, Ultimate Marvel is a jam-packed blast through the chronology of the Marvel Universe timeline, showcasing every facet of the story as it developed across the decades.
Written by Lorraine Cink, Melanie Scott, Stephen Wiacek and Star Wars author extraordinaire Adam Bray; this kicks off in 1939 when Timely Comics, the earliest predecessor of Marvel, began publication. The original Human Torch and Namor arrived in 1940, while the All-Winners Squad was the very first Timely superhero team in 1946. The post-war era wasn’t kind to Timely, as it hit the post-war years of the ‘50s to focus on western and romance comics.
As any superhero fan worth their salt knows, the Marvel Age began in 1963 with the arrival of Marvels first family, the Fantastic Four. An era of innovation and creation followed as the ‘60s quite literally exploded with household names. The Uncanny X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, The Invincible Iron Man, The Mighty Thor, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers and so many more changed the landscape of the comics industry and from it emerged creators who are still held in high esteem today. Lee, Ditko, Kirby, Romita, Buscema, Thomas and so many more.
The Bronze Age of 1970 to 1985 saw the Marvel Universe go galactic with the Kree-Skrull War, the Korvac Saga and Secret Wars transporting our heroes to other worlds while the Modern Age of 1986 to 1999 saw mega crossovers such as The Evolutionary War, Mutant Massacre and Infinity Gauntlet bring our heroes together to fight common foes.
The Heroic Age, from 2000 to the present saw two Civil Wars, Secret Invasion, World War Hulk and Age of Ultron heavily influence the Marvel Cinematic era, but what the book does best is delve into the leading characters in order of appearance. Kicking off with Namor the Sub-Mariner it gives the reader a dip into the timeline of the major characters through each of the eras as well as a detailed history of their adventures. Never heard of Betty-Dean Prentiss, who first appeared in Marvel Mystery Comics #3 in 1940 helping Namor? She’s in here, as are the original Guardians of the Galaxy who first formed in January 1969. Indeed, a plethora of minor characters who had an influence on the major heroes and villains of the Marvel canon are given a spotlight.
Iconic vehicles, Weapons and Technology, Cosmic Powers, Magical Artefacts, Planets and Realms and Countries and Places all get a look in a book that is essential reading for new readers or older fans who wish to know more about the Marvel Universe.
ULTIMATE MARVEL / AUTHORS: ADAM BRAY, LORRAINE CINK, MELANIE SCOTT, STEPHEN WIACEK / PUBLISHER: DK / RELEASE DATE: 7TH SETEMBER