Graphic Novel Review: Avengers: Endless Wartime

AvengersEW1Warren Ellis returns to the Marvel Universe in this first of an all-new series of graphic novels, attempting to bridge the gap between the 616 continuity of the monthly comics and the new continuity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Illustrated by Mike McKone, this novel is a pan-generational mash-up of storylines, a kind of unofficial sequel to the events of the MCU films, as well as an interesting introduction for readers lured by the success of the franchise on-screen. With its intriguing reimagining of these well-known characters and blending of Asgardian magic with Ellis’ characteristic dystopic super-science, Avengers: Endless Wartime is a well-scripted adventure with plenty to offer readers both new and old.

An ancient threat rises from the past, a past more recent for some than others, hiding behind the face of American militarization. What emerges is an intersection of science and magic as Thor and Captain America realize they’ve both tousled with this once before, in different forms and at different times, drawing an interesting parallel between both characters. Mounting a response, the adventure that follows is largely well-plotted, throwing out some pointed questions about the nature of industrialized, privatized warfare. The action that buoys that novel is suitably exciting, as executed by McKone, as the team encounters hordes of formidable techno-organic baddies straight from Norse mythology. While impressive, there are some moments of disconnect from page to page during these action scenes that feel a little disjointed, ultimately culminating in a climax that suffers from this same fragmentation.

The novel is carried by the familiar MCU Avengers roster of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow and AvengersEW2Hawkeye, with the inclusion of Wolverine and Captain Marvel to round out the lineup. Ellis argues an interesting case for his characterizations, which make for a newly-formed team of heroes and all the growing pains one would expect. Even for it, this novel is neither strictly comic-verse nor movie-verse, blending them in a hybrid of timelines and interpretations that sometimes feels a little muddled. Captain America is strongly defined by his temporal displacement, distant but not unkind, still struggling as a man “living in a foreign country called the Future.” Iron Man serves as his counterpoint, tempered by a more movie-friendly handling, an introspective reflection of his father’s war-mongering as he attempts to reach out to Cap and make the team work. Thor is still very much an alien, trying to reconcile his own past with his place in the human world. The appearance of Captain Marvel (in her 616 uniform) serves as a nice touch-stone for comic book continuity, while Wolverine, influenced more by his appearances in his own movie franchises, fills an antagonistic role in questioning Cap’s authority and moral platitudes.

The Avengers aren’t the friends we’re used to from the comics, instead a collection of uneasy alliances and clashing personalities with a common goal. Informed by several stories and sources, and groomed by the MCU, these characters do stand in departure from both film and comic. While this won’t bother new fans, it will probably irk seasoned readers, who are aware they’re not the target audience of the book. For all of this friction, the formula works here, exploring interesting character dynamics despite the occasional discrepancy Ellis encounters along the way. As long as you’re willing to leave your presumptions at the door and accept this as its own separate entity, it’s a successful addition to the Marvel Universe at large.

AvengersEW4McKone sells the script in a balance of appealing splash pages and energetic action sequences. His panel transitions create useful tension with some solid page design throughout, aping cinematic framing to varying degrees of success. The repetition of static character close-ups breaks up the narrative for me more than I would like, but McKone’s sense of motion and scale during fight scenes makes up for it. From a design standpoint, the back end of the book is particularly lovely, marked by a fascinating use of techno-organic forms and dense futuristic settings. He’s very successful in rendering the baddies as otherworldly and alien, with their fluid compositions and seemingly endless ranges of movement and shape. The moody color palettes of Jason Keith with Rain Beredo make the most of these scenes, establishing an ominous tone in dark pages peppered by the light of our heroes’ gunfire or energy blasts. Overall the effect is appropriately dramatic, foreboding, and occasionally creepy, capturing the weight of Ellis’ pessimistic scenario as well the internal struggles within the team itself.

While not a perfect hybrid, Avengers: Endless Wartime is a solid graphic novel that bridges the gap between comic and film in some interesting ways. Ellis’ script sheds intriguing light on characters we know and love, exploring their ideologies when faced with a world they find themselves struggling to protect.

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McKone’s illustrations carry that burden well, and create some unique and engaging imagery along the way. If you’re new to Marvel and looking for a good read to get your feet wet, it’s definitely worth picking up. If you’re a Marvel fan looking for a well-written side adventure, I suggest you put your potential biases aside and take this book for what it is.

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Comic Last Week Preview

Wolverine-02Wolverine #2 by Paul Cornel and Alan Davies… in the plot thickens of this issue we see an interesting aspect of the new villain as it analyzes and finds Wolverines behavior in a way amusing and appealing! Cornell once again climaxes the story and gives us witty dialogues, Davies art is expressive with fluid storytelling. In a word it’s brilliant! By the end of the issue one brand new guest star arrives which is nice to see how Wolverine interacts with him and an old one giving a cliffhanger cause his presence foreshadows huge danger and changes…in a sum it was a cool comic which becomes more interesting as the story unfolds giving a much-needed freshens to Wolverine! Highlight Paul Cornell gives us an insight of why and how he took over Wolverine in the letters page!!! He’s a cool bloke!

Constantine #2 by Ray Fawkes, Jeff Lemire and Renato Guedes…..Constantine Constantine 02continues his quest in finding all parts of the Croydon Compass as he goes to Myanmar to find the Dial! He fights another villainous mage escapes in the last-minute only to deal with Specters wraith…he escapes that too! We continue in this issue to get a lot of insight of how Constantine thinks and behaves showing how much a deep multi-faceted personality he is that you still cannot trust! Guedes art is even better in this issue with more detail and even better storytelling!!! Yes Vertigo fans of Hellbazer you should read it and you will enjoy it…especially the cliffhanger!!! Danger waits in London!!!!

Secret_Avengers_03Secret Avengers #3 by Nick Spencer and Luke Ross….this is the book of black ops I always wanted in Marvel and we getting it by an Avengers title! It’s not there yet but it shows promise that it will be a great comic…it’s still in the introduction of the team on how it works and building up the threats they will be facing! I like the addition of Mockingbird; she seems a lot cooler; still not liking Daisy Johnson as director of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Theremin #1 by Curt Pires and Dalton Rose….this is a comic book that you love Theremin 01for its spirit…you like it because it’s not mainstream…and hope it lasts for a long time! What is it about? Well a scientist who looks like he has escaped from the forties makes a new invention that takes him through time, space and dimension…and now starts his adventures!!! Have to say though that Dalton Rose does some magnificent coloring!!!

The Shadow 11The Shadow #11 by Victor Gischler and Aaron Campbell…this is the first time I read the Shadow in his own series (I read Masks excellent comic). The narration of story and art was so nicely done and interlocking that left me surprised…a very noir forties style comic that I’ll definitely be reading!!!

Fearless Defenders #3 by Cullen Bunn and Will Sliney…two reasons I started Fearless_Defenders_03reading this book: one is Dani Moonstar and the other is Hippolyta!!! This issue felt a little bigger than the previous ones… Hippolyta adds a lot more to the whole team; she is a bragging demigod, Misty’s comments  are becoming all the more wittier and Annabelle seems to be a new hero in making! Still seems weak… not story wise but it doesn’t feel like a team yet… I hope it’s established by the end of this arc cause it’s a really cool roster and I like so much Bunn’s and Sliney’s work!

Enjoy guys and girls!

Con Barbatsis for eCharta

Young Avengers 1 and 2

Young Avengers 1 and 2

Young Avengers are back with two issues already published, more popular and with more hype even before issue 1 came out. You could say this is due to the creative team that consists of writer Kieron Gillen, artists Jamie McKelvie & Mike Norton, colorist Matthew Wilson and letterer Clayton Cowles. This group of creators is well acquainted and has worked together before so we can assume they can work and produce a very good comic. Which is true as we already have seen in the first two issues! But yet again this comic book has won its place and it is considered among one of the favorite superhero teams from its very first run almost a decade ago for many comic fans. So yes its popularity is a result of this too!

Young Avengers_1_2

As the creators are a group of friends with their individual personalities and interests which work together perfectly to make a comic, just the same Young Avengers is a group of young heroes with their own personalities and interests in life. Once they were a team and now are called together once again to deal with a new threat! Both groups real and fictional work together in the best way because they do what they love most: the creators comics and the characters super heroics! So from the combination of two great teams who already have proved to us comic fans that they can produce something awesome we get to read a comic which deserves all its hype and popularity!

YNGAVN2013001004scol-610x471In issue 1 we are reintroduced to six members three old and three new who yet haven’t been formed in a team! These six are Kate Bishop, Hulking and Wiccan and new recruits Marvel Boy, Miss America and Kid Loki. These six though are not by far the full roster as it has been revealed through the internet by issue six Speedy and Prodigy will join the team and many more will be featured in future stories! In this issue we get a glimpse of what the original members are up to and how in a remarkable and smart way the new kids interlock and become a part of their lives. All members are in their late teens and a couple a bit older but still young enough to be a part of the team! They have matured but not yet considered grown-ups and Wiccan’s action proves how young and inexperienced they are! By the end of the issue in an attempt to make Hulking feel better Wiccan uses his powers to bring back from the dead the only family he ever had: his mother! That is a big mistake and creates a whole new threat which only Kid Loki realizes and trys to stop with no success as Miss America interferes! In issue 2 the threat is revealed to both Wiccan and Hulking and both are trapped! In a brilliant visual way the artists show us how Kid Loki releases and saves them from their capturer. But they get in more trouble as Wiccan and Hulking try to force the way Kid Loki will help them solve and face the threat! So issue 2 ends yet in another great cliffhanger!


Kieron Gillen succeeds to create wonderful dialogues making the characters all the more 3-dimensional and not at all tumblr_mh4a3xh6xZ1raikxso1_500paper cut copies! He shows aspects of the way they think and act and what they like making them individuals and all the more interesting plus there are action scenes in every two pages! You cannot ask more from a comic which has more than enough character interaction and fighting scenes in only 22 pages. It’s purely entertaining! To top it all artists McKelvie, Norton and Williams capture the story and deliver it with smart visual concepts and brilliant story telling both in spread pages and not! The art is clean with clear and understandable facial expressions and detailed pop culture references in the backgrounds!

Overall it’s a comic based in the now about kids who are living in our present and influenced by pop culture which happen to love being superheroes! If you haven’t read it yet do so! You will find it more than entertaining, it will give you a thrill you haven’t felt for superhero comics in years!


Con Barbatsis for eCharta