A Stunning Walk Through Marvel History: Marvel Encyclopedia New Edition Review
If you are still coming down from a whirlwind of emotions after watching Avengers: Endgame, you’re not alone. With thoughts and theories running through my mind, it felt like the right time to once again pick up DK Canada’s Marvel Encyclopedia New Edition and flip through the many pages.
Enclosed in the 448 pages are in-depth overviews of characters and comic events. Nine major contributors helped write the mammoth sized encyclopedia including Tom Brevoort, the Senior Vice President of Marvel Comics, and Tom Defalco who is former editor-in-chief for Marvel. Defalco was also Consultant Editor for 2016’s Marvel Encyclopedia and numerous Ultimate guides.
The new encyclopedia begins with a thoughtful foreword from Uncanny X-Men writer, Chris Claremont. In addition, the new edition also includes a beautiful introduction by none other than the late Stan Lee himself. He concludes his introduction with, “..as I slowly reach out to touch the cover of this magnificent book, I wonder—as you may wonder, too—what magic lies within?” When you consider everything included in the book, it does feel a bit magical.
As the Marvel comics universe continues to expand and introduce new storylines, an updated all-in-one reference book is quite handy. Marvel Encyclopedia New Edition covers thousands of characters in alphabetical order starting from Hulk’s nemesis, Abomination, all the way through to Zzzax who is coincidentally also an enemy of the Hulk.
All characters, whether heroes or villains receive a small rundown. Character facts including first appearance, real name, occupation, and powers are all detailed accordingly. For smaller, lesser-known characters, they are grouped together on a single page. That being said, each and every one of them has a robust introduction. One or two paragraphs present their origins, how they got their power, and significance to the Marvel universe. You will likely be surprised at how far down the rabbit hole the encyclopedia goes.
Well-known heroes and villains get a special treatment by having a whole spread dedicated to them. This will often include additional information such as featuring key moments in the fiction. Included on these pages are snippets from comics stemming from the golden-age all the way to the present series. X-Men and Fantastic Four, who by all accounts have taken the backseat in terms of the spotlight are given their fair share of pages dedicated to each member.
Ensemble groups even get their own spotlight. Not surprising, but Avengers receive a whole six pages dedicated to our favourite superhero team. Throughout the six pages, we get an incredibly in-depth overview of the Avengers and the transitions the team has seen since inception. In addition, Avenger spinoff groups such as New Avengers and Dark Avengers are also given their due.
It’s astounding to see the level of care put into each and every page. The most inconsequential characters are given their moment. The leading characters of the Marvel comics are given the spotlight and respect they deserve.
Each page features an accompanying shot of each character. Some characters are only shown through panels taken from a comics, while others are taken from the comic only to be incorporated and straight onto the page. Many leading characters as shown through still taken from across the ages. The Thor segment, for instance, incorporates panels of alias Donald Blake and newer styles and renditions. As you flip the pages, the mantle is passed along to Beta Ray Bill and Jane Foster who are all shown prominently in their role as Thor.
In addition to the many, many faces of Marvel, tentpole moments are also featured in the encyclopedia. Ranging from The Age of Ultron to Infinity Saga, Secret Wars, and more. These crossovers and moments that build up to universe changing events are iconic so it is great to see them highlighted throughout the book. Select panels taken from the comics are injected into the pages. If you read over each, you will gain a fair bit of understanding of what happened and the repercussions of each event. The synopsis gives enough information casual readers can get caught up although you will likely lose out on some of the nuances.
If you really want to get into the nitty-gritty, a thorough index can be found on the back. With the index, you can pinpoint and trace each mention of every character. Regardless if you are an avid reader or looking to catch up in everything Marvel, the index can point you in the direction of finding all the information you are looking for.
The Marvel Encyclopedia New Edition is a complete package. The Marvel comics have such a rich history that leaving any stone unturned would feel disrespectful to the lineage of the comics. Thankfully, nothing is left out. Though 448 pages may not seem like a lot, you will gain a better perspective of how much love is put into the book purely based on its weight. Marvel Encyclopedia was made for Marvel fans, by Marvel writers, historians, and illustrators who have worked on bringing these stories to life for many years.
There is not much more you could want from a Marvel Encyclopedia. Granted, DK Canada had released one three years ago, however, the new edition has a lot of style and substance that I believe it is a worthwhile purchase to read through and stow on your bookshelf.
DK Canada's Marvel Encyclopedia New Edition is available now.
A copy of Marvel Encyclopedia New Edition was provided by the publisher for review purposes.