Book Review: Marvel: Anatomy *Gift Idea*
Illustrator: Jonah Lobe
Designer: Salim Busuru
Review by Steve J. Ray
Insight Editions have delivered yet another comics-related masterpiece with Marvel: Anatomy. As a fan of everything to do with comics, I’ve been praying for this book.
Back in 2018 Insight released DC: Anatomy of a Metahuman and blew my mind, so getting a Marvel version has calmed my OCD collector brain and sated my nerd appetite.
In a universe populated by heroes, villains, gods, monsters, mutants, and Inhumans, this book wasn’t just something fans wanted, it’s something we needed. We’ve been waiting for four years, but it’s been so worth it.
The brilliant part of this volume, and its predecessor, has been the way in which they’ve been presented. Rather than a cold dissection of the characters whose powers are examined in these pages, we instead get a narrative by T’Challa and Shuri of Wakanda. The DC book used Batman’s files and decades of crime-fighting and world-saving experience as the catalyst for the analysis found within, while Marvel: Anatomy has the Black Panther and his sister using the Skrull Invasion as the basis of this volume.
In a world where shape-changing alien invaders have replaced friends and colleagues, an understanding of the heroes and villains of the world can help identify infiltrators, and those best prepared to hold the invading forces at bay. Of course, it also highlights those most and least likely to be replaced by the Skrull invasion force. Brilliant!
Fans can learn about the powers of the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man (Peter Parker AND Miles Morales!), The Hulk, The Thing, Iron Man, Wolverine, and many, many more, from these gorgeous pages.
Marc Sumerack and Daniel Wallace have written a book that’s interesting and fun to read. The way they break down each character’s powers and explain how they work is masterfully handled. The great part is that it doesn’t all devolve into techno-babble or pseudo-science, as both T’Challa and Shuri sometimes clearly state that their conclusions are frequently hypotheses and guesswork. I love this!
Sometimes certainty can be marred by incredulity, and what we get can be very hard to grasp, understand, believe, or even care about. Not so with this book. Everything in these pages makes sense, and what isn’t fully explained is covered in a way that’s both believable and intriguing.
The visuals are also fantastic. Shuri and T’Challa’s voices have been made distinct and individual by Salim Busuru’s wonderful design aesthetic and fonts. This book looks beautiful and is both fun and easy to read. Jonah Lobe’s artwork is phenomenal. Lobe’s a fantastic artist who worked on the smash hit video games Fallout 3, Fallout 4, and Skyrim. His attention to detail and knowledge of anatomy is brilliant. Don’t just take my word for it, look at the sample pages attached. This stuff is great!
Marvel: Anatomy is the perfect book for any comics fan. If you also own a copy of the DC version, and like me, are a fan of both universes, then this volume isn’t just recommended, it’s essential. With the holiday season around the corner, I can’t think of many books that I’d suggest as gifts above this one.
Grab it, it’s Marvel-ous!
Marvel: Anatomy can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all good booksellers and comic shops.
Images and review copy courtesy of Insight Editions. ISBN: 978-1-68383-869-2
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