Comics : Earth X: Sketchbook

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Filling Gaps

This review was first published on: 2006.


Earth X is a mini-series consisting of the Marvel Universe a number of years in the future where the entire population of the Earth has been given super powers. In a world where no one needs protection, what is to become of the Marvel super heroes?

In Detail...

Earth X: Sketchbook
Feb 1999 : SM Cameo
Summary: Character sketches from Earth X (Spider-Man Cameo)
Editor:  Marie Javins, Polly Watson
Writer:  Jim Krueger
Artist:  Alex Ross, Bill Reinhold, John Paul Leon
Staff Only

The book starts out with an forward made by Alex Ross on how the book started. Wizard asked Alex to do a number of sketches of some of Marvel characters, starting with a fat Spider-Man, that depicted the Marvel super heroes from the future where age and experience has finally caught up with them. Alex then goes on to tell how he pulled together the forces of some other people to bring about the story of Earth X.

The rest of the book consists of character pencil sketches made by Alex Ross, John Paul Leon and Bill Reinhold, with text descriptions of each of the characters written by Jim Krueger. Instead of doing a rewrite of each description in the book, I will write upon the few characters that relate directly with Spider-Man, and Spider-Man myself. But I will also include a list of everyone else in the book.

Venom: Venom, the alien symbiote, leaves its host Eddie Brock an old, dying man and thinking that it is committing the ultimate revenge on Spider-Man, bonds with Peter and Mary Jane's daughter, May. Her Spider powers are too great for Venom to be able to control her and she takes control of it. Despite her parents wishes she picks up where her father left off.

The Spiders Man: Not having anything that I can see related to the Spider-Man Universe besides his name, The Spiders Man was once a derelict before vibranium turned everyone into mutants. Now he has the ability to control people's fears, making them see things that are not there. Because most people fear creepy-crawly things he appears as a hooded figure covered with spiders and other bugs. Once ignored by the people of the world, now people do everything they can do to avoid looking on him.

The Green Goblin: Vibranium turned Norman Osborne into the very thing that he use to disguise himself as, the Green Goblin. In this future, Norman Osborne acts more like the Kingpin of the past, controlling and manipulating things from a safe distance using his wealth and power to his advantage. He has now become the "figurehead of what is left of America".

Spider-Man: After retiring, Spider-Man has become old and a little on the portly side. With everything going wrong for him, his daughter becoming Venom, Green Goblin becoming the symbol of America, the Daily Bugle closing, and the deaths of his long time friend, Johnny Storm, the Human Torch and his dear wife, Mary Jane, Spider-Man has finally surrendered. "In a world where he no longer has great power... he no longer feels great responsibility."

This is a list of everyone else in the book without a description for each (because that would take way too long and if you really need to know about each then just get the book):

  • X-51
  • Captain America
  • Redwing
  • Daredevil
  • Fantastic Four
  • The Marvels
  • Ben Grimm
  • Dr. Richard's Doom
  • Tony Stark
  • The Iron Avengers
  • Thor, Goddess of Thunder
  • Namor The Cursed
  • Hulk & Banner
  • Sorceress Supreme
  • Doctor Strange
  • The X-Men (The Tower, Charmer, Dogface, Double Threat & Mermaid)
  • Loki
  • The Skull
  • Iron Maiden
  • Britain (King Britain, Dragon Man, Black Knight & The Union Jacks)
  • Africa (King Panther, Queen Storm, The Beast & The Ani-Men)
  • Russia (Czar Collossus, The Black Widow, The Crimson Dynamo & Red Quard)
  • The Silver Surfers
  • The Inhumans
  • Black Bolt
  • Medusa
  • Luna
  • Triton
  • Karnak
  • Gorgon
  • Captain Marvel

In General...

The book mainly consists of finished character sketches along with a text blurb made up of a description and a little back story for the main characters. There is also a Foreword at the beginning telling of how the idea of Earth X started and how it progressed to becoming an actual story.

Overall Rating...

This was a really indepth look at the characters that make up this new vision of the future of the Marvel characters. Even after reading all the fourteen issues of the actual story, the text descriptions for the characters still adds a little bit to each character's history.

Not only were the character profiles great but the penciled sketches made mostly by Alex Ross were beautiful (as if Alex Ross has ever drawn or at least published a bad drawing). It does say this is a sketchbook but no where do I get the idea that this is merely just a sketchbook. All of the drawings are finished pieces of art work some actually taking up an entire page themselves. Yes some of these images can be seen throughout the mini-series in the actual issues, but it's still nice to see the pencil sketches without color or ink added.


Wizard magazine also included in their Magazine a give-away issue that is an editted version of this sketchbook. It does include the 4 Spider-Man related character profiles, but it doesn't include all of the rest.