A pivotal comic figure of the 90s. Lapped up his stuff with everybody else in my teenage days.
I loved and still love his work on MARVELS. His photo-realistic art goes perfectly with the story of a photojournalist.
Everything else. . .I've grown sour on. From Kingdom Come to his prestige Dini Treasury editions.
Here's the thing. . .his super-heroes are really unappealing to look at. They're all old, fat, and bloated. They look like cos-players who could use a few sit-ups and a GasX; not the superhero they're supposed to be. And often Alex Ross gives the heroes his own face!
It's the difference between making Superman (or any other superhero Ross has drawn) look realistic vs making Superman REAL. Ross does the former. I look at Ross work and say, "That Batman scene looks realistic, but that's not the real Batman."
Super-heroes are NOT real guys. They are superhuman forces of nature; and if they stepped into the real world as THEMSELVES they would not look like a fat guy in a suit! Difference between the Real and Super Real (or Greek ideal).
It's not his technique that I quibble with; the man obviously has talent and can draw things photo-realistically like no one else. My problem is with his execution and vision. His realistic looking superheroes are NOT how I picture my fave superheroes looking if they stepped out of the comic pages and into the real world. How he draws them are not how they looked in his beloved silver/bronze age, either.
Don't get me started about his ABOMINABLE Earth/Paradise/Universe X nonsense!
The only Alex Ross I really know is Marvels and it still blows me away. It could be the fact that he was taking already iconic scenes and presenting them photo-realistically. I also think he was helped by Busiek's plotting. He did a great job of setting up these scenes.
I can certainly understand your criticisms of his work. It seems with a lot of artists in the 90s there was no happy medium. The characters' physiques were either outrageously exaggerated or, in Ross's case, not super enough.