While Highly Acclaimed, Is a Bit of a Drag
Marvels has been toted, at least to me, as something of a classic within the Marvel lore, an idea that no else has really done since. And, admittedly, I can see the appeal and the hype behind it. That being said, I don't feel that the book has aged terribly well, and the story feels like it begins to drag about halfway through, leaving me wanting to finish much earlier than it did.
The story follows a young photographer throughout his life as his world is effected on many different levels by the rise of supheroes, or, as he calls them, Marvels. The narrative is separated into four sections, each detailing a different time period or big Marvel event. And, perhaps this is part of the problem; the first half of the novel never focuses on one specific superhero moment for very long, encapsulating a time in a short story that reads very well. The latter portion, however, is exclusive to two specific moments, the attack by Galactus and the death of Gwen Stacy, and often feels like it needs to work around the things already in motion. The world around them also isn't as interesting then, as we see a number of characters, such as Fury and JJJ, in their prime, living average lives before the appearance of the Avengers in the first story. By the time we reach the end, it's almost like a lot of it is taken for granted.
But, the biggest thing that really makes this story draw us in is the perspective of the average joe; we, as the audience, see everything from the viewpoint of a normal American, and how they have been effected by the various changes on their accustomed lifestyles. Again, this is something that loses its appeal and impact towards the end, as we know what to expect to the degree that it's no longer interesting; the direction of the tale gets in a rut, and ends on something of a bland or anti-climatic note that didn't really satisfy me in comparison to how the first issue in particular concluded. Even the 2nd issue had problems with ending, not really knowing where it was going in the last few pages.
I'd recommend at least checking it out, as there is nothing quite like this in the Marvel library. However, this is something of the Shindler's List of the genre; it feels grandiose to the point of sacrificing some of the story later on for a somewhat narrowed narrative, so, depending on your tastes, this may just not be for you.