The world is a much different place far in the future of the Marvel Universe. After the events of Earth X; Captain America takes a child sized version of Captain Mar-Vell on a quest to gather some powerful artifacts, Immortus leads a church to strike out against Reed Richards' plan to depower the now mutated humans across the world, and a group called the Tong of Creel work to reassemble the Absorbing Man.
The story was so large it required a mini-series and several one-shots to fill in some gaps, including this Omnibus. However, while the other one-shots focused on lesser seen characters during the events of Universe X, this one is just a sketch book with plot points attached to it.
What's to say about the story here? How about it doesn't exist. It's sketch after sketch of various characters coupled with a few short paragraphs describing their roles. Something seems to have gone terribly wrong when a character's role in a story is defined most accurately by a sketch book.
So there's some nice art here, if you're a fan of Alex Ross' work. Personally, I've always found his attempt to make superheroes photo realistic to be a bit annoying, but I won't begrudge anyone who doesn't share that opinion. He is quite good at what he does. However, what bothers me most about this sketch book misleadingly features the cover artist for the series rather than the one who does the interiors. For the record, that would be Doug Braithwaite.
The story elements present are obnoxiously placed. There's more here about Mar-Vell's closest allies in the land of the dead than in all of Universe X and that's a real shame. The same can be said for a number of other characters featured in the book. Most of them are also secondary characters as the major players were already shown off in sketch form in the Earth X sketchbook. I should also add that the Earth X sketchbook was free, albeit with the purchase of an issue of Wizard, unlike the four dollar price tag for the Universe X Omnibus. I'll let you decide on which of the two costs is more of a rip off.
Considering the president, I can't possibly recommend something that was sold for four dollars a week after another sketch book featuring art by Alex Ross is being given away for free once again.* When you take inflation into account, I think this means that Marvel owes me 7 dollars.
I know this can be considered as a bonus feature as part of the Universe X trade paperback nowadays, but do the math kids, that gets calculated into the price too.
Yes, it has some important story info. But shouldn't that info be in an actual story?
Yes. Yes it should.
The sketch book for the Avengers/Invaders crossover.