Ultimate Marvel (2017) – Adam Bray, Lorraine Cink, Melanie Scott, and Stephen Wiacek

Need to settle an argument? Want to know when Iron Man made his first appearance? Want to know what the Clone Saga was about? It’s all here at your fingertips as DK Books unleashes their comprehensive guide to all things Marvel with their release of Ultimate Marvel. Serving as a fantastic companion piece to books like Marvel: Year by Year, and their series of character books like Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Strange, Ultimate Marvel is an incredibly informative and brilliantly compiled book of the Marvel Universe. (I’m quite looking forward to DK’s first book on the MCU if there’s one in the works…)

Broken into categories – Heroes and Villains, Vehicles, Weapons and Technology, Cosmic Powers, Magical Artifacts, Planets and Realms, and Countries and Places – the book is easily accessible, and all of Marvel’s characters seem to here and accounted for.

But the things I loved the most about the book is the use, and explanation of the Marvel Timeline.  We are guided through the great epochs of Marvel, the Golden Age, the Atlas Age, the Marvel Age, the Bronze Age, Modern Age, and the current Heroic Age. This timeline highlights major events, specifically crossovers for characters as well as team-ups.

This is also expanded upon by a number of the character breakdowns in the book, sure some characters only have a small entry, The Inhumans’ Medusa as an example, but the big characters, Spidey, Daredevil, Iron Man all of spreads that give us huge insight into the character as well as the big events that affected them through out the Ages.

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Taking up the largest percentage of the book, all the characters that populate the Marvel Universe are touched on in some form or another. They break down Key Moments throughout the book, ranging from Civil War to Spider-Man’s team up with Venom to stop Carnage, and Captain America joining up with the Avengers after being thawed out, the Kree genocide, Battleworld, and the iconic moment Jane Foster became Thor, Goddess of Thunder, among others.

Filled with gorgeous art, the book looks at the entire Universe, even the less than stellar side of it – Spidey Buggy anyone? – (I also thought the Fantasticar was kind of silly as well), though it never quite offers up a solid reason why New York City seems to draw so much superhero and supervillain attention… but it is as important to the Marvel Universe as Cap’s shield.

Filled with all manner of information both trivial and eclectic – there were two Human Torches, and at least three different Red Skulls! – this book is as informative as it is entertaining.

Working almost as an encyclopedia, everything is indexed, and easy to locate, and the art filling each page is a wonder to behold. Whether the image is a fantastic character portraits or lifts from actual comic panels, the art on display here runs the gambit of the ages, and shows just as much as the character profiles how much Marvel has grown and changed over the years.

DK Canada has shown, consistently and repeatedly why they are the go to company for Marvel books, as well as countless other pop culture licences – it’s a beautiful book, each page is gorgeous and informative, and brings the reader and the collector further into the world that they love.

Ultimate Marvel is available now from DK Books. ‘Nuff said.

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