At long last, the final issue of “Marvels: Eye of the Camera” has shown up, and it’s a strong conclusion to both this mini-series and “Marvels” in general. As “Marvels: Eye of the Camera” played out over the course of six issues, it became increasingly clear that this was Kurt Busiek’s way of wrapping up Phil Sheldon’s life. It’s a fine way to that, letting us see how the rest of his career moved forward, even as the Marvel Universe continued to age.
Busiek used the events of the “Fall of the Mutants” crossover from back in the day as the stopping point for the mini-series. It initially seemed a curious place to do so, but in context it made sense and came together more than I’d have expected. After all, it’s the moment where X-Factor dropped their “mutant hunters” identities even as they saved New York, and the X-Men willingly offered to sacrifice themselves in Dallas to save the entire planet. It’s a moment where at least for a while the tides had turned, that some of the world’s most hated heroes were suddenly seen as the good guys, and it’s a comforting place in Marvel’s timeline for Phil to be able to depart.
What makes it work doubly so is the return of Maggie from the original “Marvels” mini-series. Her appearance at the end of the previous issue was a surprise, a character I think most readers thought we’d never see after her disappearance in “Marvels” #2. Here, we get to see what happened to her since then, and it’s a bit of a sign of hope as well. Phil’s greatest defeat has come back and turned out to be all right after all, even as some mutants are briefly being praised by the rest of the world. His family is doing well, his assistant is proving to be a capable woman with a career of her own, and he’s finally able to leave them behind.
Jay Anacleto’s soft pencils continue to look gorgeous, and well worth the wait. Anacleto was a perfect choice for “Marvels: Eye of the Camera,” bringing his own brand of realism to the pages while not looking like someone trying to ape Alex Ross’s paintings from the other mini-series. From the X-Men fighting in Dallas to a simple New York skyline amidst a cemetery, Anacleto draws a staggering amount of detail in every single panel. Brian Haberlin’s colors accentuate them perfectly; able to bring those pale blues of night into a scene at the airport, to the vivid greens of Papua New Guinea. Even the little moments like Marcia smiling briefly at a television camera hold a great deal of warmth and gentleness, and whatever Anacleto does next will be well worth everyone’s attention.
“Marvels: Eye of the Camera” is over now, and hopefully people who loved the original “Marvels” will read this mini-series too. It might not have had the publicity and buzz that the first one did, but it’s an excellent and thoughtful addition to the canon. Well job done, all involved.