™ and © 1974-1975, 2005 Marvel Characters, Inc.
The mid-70s were definitely a hit-or-miss period for Marvel. Hard core Silver Age fans will swear that the company went straight down the drain following the departure of Jack Kirby and the retreat of Stan Lee from his day-to-day writer and editor duties. There was certainly a drop-off in consistency as the company amped up its output three and four-fold. A promising core of good young talent was diluted by a fair share of embarrassing hackery. But for readers of a certain age, this is the Marvel they remember and love. And few artifacts of that era typify it better than the Giant-Size issues featuring “novel-length” tales of the company’s leading characters.
Giant-Size Marvel is a warts-and-all collection of the finest examples. It ranges from the predictable (Giant-Size X-Men #1) to the underappreciated (Giant-Size Invaders #1) to the questionable (Giant-Size Creatures #1). Great stories like Roy Thomas’s re-introduction of the Golden Age Whizzer and Miss America in Giant-Size Avengers #1 or Steve Gerber’s near-classic battle between the Defenders and the Squadron Supreme in Giant-Size Defenders #4 are undone by barely-competent art from the likes of Rich Buckler, Don Heck, Dan Atkins, and the unspeakable Vince Colletta.
Admirably, the reprint keeps the coloring from the original stories rather than opting for a Photoshop “updating.” Half the fun of a collection like this is the nostalgia value, and half the nostalgia value is in the dayglo palette and wide-open art that Marvel employed back in the day. For that reason, it’s worth paying a premium over the bargain “Essentials” prices for the full-color Giant Size Marvels trade. Here’s hoping that the House of Ideas follows up with a second volume that includes Jim Starlin’s beautiful Giant-Size Defenders #5 and the amazing (if regrettably titled) Giant-Size Man-Thing #4.
— Rob Salkowitz
This slick trade paperback features some of Marvel’s best “Giant-Size” specials from the 1970s. Be the first on your block to witness the formation of the new X-Men and the old Invaders! The return of the WWII hero the Whizzer is not as shocking as the news he brings with him! See the origins of the multiplying man Madrox! Don’t let the debris hit you as the Defenders take on the Squadron Sinister! And the tantalizing Tigra teams with Werewolf-by-Night against the iniquity that is Hydra!
Giant-Size Marvel collects Giant-Size Fantastic Four #4, Giant-Size Avengers #1, Giant-Size Defenders #4, Giant-Size Super-Heroes #1, Giant-Size Invaders #1, Giant-Size X-Men #1, and Giant-Size Creatures #1. Written and drawn by a world of talent, these are classic Marvel stories from the ‘70s. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore. ‘Nuff said!
— Jerry Smith
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|Collects Giant-Size Fantastic Four #4, Giant-Size Avengers #1, Giant-Size Defenders #4, Giant-Size Super-Heroes #1, Giant-Size Invaders #1, Giant-Size X-Men #1, and Giant-Size Creatures #1; ca. 2005||Len Wein, Roy Thomas, Steve Gerber, Gerry Conway, Tony Isabella, Chris Claremont||John Buscema, Rich Buckler, Don Heck, Gil Kane, Frank Robbins, Dave Cockrum, Don Perlin