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Avengers

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade

Heinberg, Allan & Jessie Cheung. Avengers: The Children’s Crusade. 2012.

 

I am more familiar with the old school character list of the Avengers and X-Men, so I enjoyed getting to know these “Young Avengers”  As new characters were introduced, a brief explanation of who they were and how they were connected to others was part of the text. I liked the idea of Scarlet Witch being the mother of Wiccan and Speed, and the dynamics of Magneto being the grandfather of the twins. But I have a few nitpicks/questions: The adult Avengers make a big deal that the Young Avengers are only teens- well, so was Spider-Man, Ice Man, Rogue and Jubilee when they were introduced as characters. The Vision being the father of the twins was only glossed over, and I needed to check Wiki pages for back story on several of the super heroes and their family relationships to one another to better understand the connections to one another.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

The decades of stories with different authors have made the whole Super Hero Universe VERY convoluted. Plus, while I loved seeing so many of the hero’s in this book, at times it was just a token appearance and throw away dialogue-they didn’t really connect into the story at all. The artwork definitely elevated the story, with fresh interpretations of the characters, but yet stayed true to the original versions of them.  All in all, I felt this was a wonderful Avengers book.                                                                                                                                              

-Nancy

Civil War (Marvel Civil War Complete)

Marvel_Civil_War
Millar, Mark & Steve McNiven. Civil War, 2007.

One of the best Marvel stories in awhile- this comic book “event” truly made me think about which side I’d be on and why.

After a careless accident between warring super villains causes the death of hundreds of civilians, including children, the public demands a Super Hero Registration Act that would regulate the heroes and have them set up as a official police force. This sounds reasonable at first and is led by Iron Man and Dr. Reed of the Fantastic Four (both of whom I ended up hating), while Captain America heads up a rogue group of heroes who prefer independence. But then Iron Man’s group becomes very authoritative, utilizing villains and cloning Thor in an attempt to bring in the anti-registration group. This causes the death of one of the hero’s and causes the tide to turn in favor of Cap’s group. The war turns personal with betrayals and destruction, and eventually Cap realizes this war is ravaging everyone no matter what side they are on. He makes a surprising request with far reaching consequences, and enough plot threads are left open for further storytelling based off this plot.

The artwork by McNiven is solid, although some facial close ups are a bit distorted. Many Avenger superheros are included, with most X-Men choosing to sit out this battle. Even being a Marvel fan, I had a hard time keeping track of who was who, especially in group scenes. Occasionally there were would be a reference or a piece of dialogue that gave hints as to who some of the lesser known heroes were, but I still had to Wikipedia some characters. The layout of the panels was standard, but in this case that is a plus, as this complicated story didn’t need additional visual chaos.

Deep themes of moral responsibility, civil order, and the greater good tie into this story; and you can see the merit of both side’s point of view. It will be interesting to see how the movie will cover this comic, especially because they might have to skip some heroes from the book in the movie due to copyright issues.

-Nancy

Iron Man is at it again- this time he is against Captain Marvel in Civil War II.

Marvel: 1602

Gaiman, Neil. Marvel: 1602. Marvel, 2003.

This graphic novel was marvelous (get the play on words?)! The story was a perfect way to freshen up the franchise and reboot some of the hero’s storylines. The story takes place in 1602, and is an alternate world in which Europe and colonial America’s history is jumbled and out of order due to a rift in the timeline, with America’s first child of European descent, Virginia Dare surviving and traveling overseas to London with her bodyguard Rojhaz. Court intrigue during Queen Elizabeth I reign abounds, there are several betrayals, with many of the mutants needing to travel far to escape persecution for being “witchbreed”. Eventually America becomes a sanctuary for these people with magical abilities, and an answer and a solution as to why they are in 1602 is made clear.

While I am very familiar with the X-Men line-up, I was less so with characters like Dare Devil (he was my favorite in this book) and the Fantastic Four. I loved trying to figure out who was who in the Marvel universe- most were easy enough to figure out, but I have to admit it took me a long while to figure out who Rojhaz was. There had been a clue early on, that I didn’t understand at the time, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out who he was and how he so prominently fit into the storyline, as he is the key to this warped timeline. Virginia Dare has some unique shape shifter abilities, with a connection to the (barely mentioned) dinosaurs that still live on in the North American continent.

The illustrations are supposed to evoke historical drawings of that era, so some of the drawings use the technique of “scratchboard”, in which a layer of ink is scratched through to reveal the underlying material. This intruders in time storyline, with all the ramifications of how the future could be altered, was superb. Kudos to the whole team that wrote and illustrated this book!

-Nancy

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