Don’t know your Gambit from your Gamora? Need a book that collects all your favorite Marvel characters, encyclopedia style? Well, lucky for you, Marvel has released Meet the Marvel Super Heroes, featuring over a hundred of their most popular and most devious characters. Entries are arranged alphabetically with illustrated pictures and a brief introduction for each person, alien, mutant, or whatever. Each written entry is usually about a standard paragraph long and gives a brief introduction to well-known and lesser known Marvel super heroes alike. As someone not as familiar with the Marvel Universe, I learned quite a bit about characters I recognized from movies, as well as heroes I had never heard of before. It made the thought of starting a new Marvel book a little less daunting knowing I could refer back to this quick reference guide.
The illustrations are in the same family as most of the newer picture books Marvel has started to publish under the Marvel Kids arm. Unfortunately, these drawings are not my favorite way of showing these characters. They are extremely vibrant and colorful, but they look computer generated — which is exactly the case as the book is listed as being illustrated by Pat Olliffe and Hi-Fi Design. They are more indicative of illustrations you’d see in a picture book for younger readers as opposed to traditional comic book styles of illustration. I prefer real illustrations, but, all in all, the illustrations aren’t the worst I’ve ever seen. Since this isn’t a continuous story – just individual entries – I think I’m okay with these illustrations as opposed to when I’ve seen them in the storybooks. Of course, for a definitive encyclopedia of the Marvel Universe, DK’s The Marvel Encyclopedia is your go-to source for all things Marvel. But for younger or newer readers, or for those who’d just like an easy-to-use directory of a lot of Marvel characters, this book is a good tool and it was pretty interesting to read, too.