Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr.

Steve Rogers has decided to put the Avengers back together after Norman Osborne's Faux Avengers are taken down, but while almost all of the heroes he approaches are happy with the idea and enthusiastic, all except for one- Simon Williams, who seems to think that the whole thing is a very bad idea.

But soon after the new generation of the Avengers gather together, they are confronted by Kang, who tells them that their children are a problem in the future. After the Avengers failed to stop Ultron in the future, their own children took up the mantle as protectors of the Earth, and took him down with a vengeance- so quickly that Alexander the Great would have been startled. And now they rule the world, and they are endangering the entire time stream, and it is up to the Avengers to try and stop them.

Tony Stark has never built a time machine- he knows enough about himself that if he knew he had one, he would use it to try and undo all the mistakes that ended up in the death of his friends, and that would make him no better than Kang/Immortus. But to build one, he needs the help of someone who knows about time. And in Lieu of Reed Richards, he ends up contacting Marvel Boy or Noh-varr, whose knowledge of Kree science and tech allows him to understand the nature of time.

And the time viewer they build shows several possible futures- all of them equally probable. But one takes over, and the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse and Apocalypse himself show up from the broken timestream. And it's not just the one timestream that is broken- it's all of them, and unless they can fix the timestream, the entire continuum will be broken and disintegrate. They travel to that future, where they find that Kang is just a messenger boy for The Hulk, who is working with future Tony Stark to try and stop Ultron.

It turns out that Ultron and Kang were fighting over time itself, and when Kang brought an army of heroes and villains to destroy Ultron, Ultron destroyed them all, so Kang went out and recruited more, and more, all bringing them back to the same time to try again. But each time they failed, and so Kang was defeated, but all that bringing people to the same point in time over and over stressed the time stream beyond redemption, and so time began to collapse.

But how can the Avengers track down the source of the disturbance in the time stream and prevent it from being destroyed? Can they prevent Kang from taking out time in a tantrum? And what will happen to the future that they found if they change time itself to prevent Kang from losing to Ultron?

This one was kinda... creepy, actually, because the art style, to me, made some of the characters look much, much too young. Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, looked about sixteen or so, not much older than Noh-varr, a character known as "Marvel Boy". The design of the new Avenger kids was fine, and I liked the interaction between the various characters, but some of the characters looked like they should still be in high school... which I found excessively weird, because those characters weren't meant to look that young.

The story was interesting, and I liked the idea of time itself becoming unglued, and being the reason for all the problems facing our heroes, and the ending was quite intriguing as well, as it puts a completely different complexion on the scenes we saw at the beginning of the book. I'd be interested in seeing more, as to where this continuity is going. It's interesting and something I haven't seen much of before.

I've been reading comics a lot, but this one did an amazing job of creating and building tension around what was going on, who was ultimately responsible, and what the outcome would be. As a stand-alone graphic novel, this one is right up there in being interesting and having a wonderful story. Highly recommended.

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