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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have for hard-core Marvel Fans, October 2, 2006
This review is from: Essential Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, Vol. 2, Deluxe Edition (Paperback)
Okay, so granted the info here is nearly 20 yrs. out of date, but it still is the paragon to which any and all comic book guides should strive to emulate. When Marvel undertook the Delux Handbook series they went didn't hold anything back. The history of even the most obscure characters is delved into with great detail, and the specs on all armor, wepons, etc... is beyond fantastic. Also, the section of each entry relating to the various powers or applications of weapons and armor and such are given great consideration; the authors do their best to give a logical and scientific explaination to each and every one of these subjects, as well as to how said individual got their powers or skills.

I can't say it enough, NO bit of info was deemed too mundane or irrelevant to leave untouched... and the scope of the material covered goes above and beyond the major players of the Marvel Universe. Granted, not EVERY SINGLE last person, place or thing is covered, but they went as far as possible to do so, and no other source book for any single form of writing in the genre has ever been as grand in scope and detail; the more recent Marvel Encyclopedias, although fun and more up-to-date are nothing like the Delux Handbook series, and only the volumes focusing on the Fantastic Four and Spiderman even come close to this land-mark achievement. Also, the wealth of artwork presented here is stunning, though not all of it is the best, the people who put this together did a great job of covering the entries at their best representations over the years.

In this, the 2nd volume (of three, though there is one that came before, the non-delux, and one that is due out that served as a late-1980s update) the latter half of all things marvel from "M" (Magus) to "W" (Wolverine) are covered.

If you happen to have any of the "prestige format" reprints of the series, it might still be worth it to you to pick up these volumes, as those books, which were reprints of the orig. series but collecting 2 issues per volume and on better quality paper, left out several entries per issue that are found in these "Essential" reprints.

There is little to nothing to say that is bad about this series, but I will give a few "constructive warnings" to those interested in buying the series.

1. The reprints, like all those in the "Essential" reprint line of Marvel Comics, are not in color and are in black and white. Personally, I prefer the black and white over the color versions, as it gives it the nostalgic feel that to me makes it all the better.

2. The appendix to the series directs the reader, many, MANY times to appendix entries that will never show, namely any and all refering to any characters, objects or teams simply do not show up, ever, in the appendix of any of the issues. It is possible this was remedied in the late-'80s update, but I never got those when they first came out so I can't say for sure. However, the appendix of alien races, seen in the 3rd volume of the Essential reprints, does not dissappoint.

3. As I said before, this series came out nearly 20 years ago, so if you are looking just for up-to-date info, this series is not for you (and due to the short-commings of the more recent Marvel Encyclopedia hard-backs you pretty much will have to rely on the internet for USEFUL current info., and on-line, its all free!)

All in all, I highly reccomend this volume and the 1st and 2nd to any and all Marvel fans. I randomly picked up and issue of this series in the '90s, and its what truly sold me on Marvel Comics when I first started out. Even then the series was about 10 yrs out of date but it was a big help in getting into Marvel regardless.
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