By Alex Ross, Jim Kreuger, Steven Sadowski, Patrick Berkenkotter & Jack Herbert (Marvel/Panini Publishing UK)
I’ve mentioned before my innate antipathy to time-travel stories, which can too often simply be an excuse for empty posturing and flamboyant stunts without impacting on a profitable brand.
It’s all true, and I stand by my view but every so often an exception comes along to shake my surly foundations and Avengers/Invaders happily falls into that rare category.
Released as a 12 part limited series this is a classy and well thought out romp set in the post Civil War Marvel Universe with renegade heroes on the run from the government (represented by superhero technocrat Iron Man,) for refusing to submit to federal registration and licensing.
In 1943 war-time super-team the Invaders (Captain America & Bucky, Human Torch & Toro, Sub-Mariner, Spitfire and Union Jack) is battling its way into Hitler’s Fortress Europe when a cosmic mishap sucks most of them to New York in our era. Disoriented and wary they encounter a battle between government-sponsored heroes and the unlicensed outlaw Spider-Man, and jump to the uncomfortable but logical conclusion that the Nazis won World War II!
They soon come into conflict with Iron Man’s Avengers and battle is joined…
And that’s just the start of a compelling epic which combines chilling mystery and a universe-rending threat with sheer, bravura comicbook shtick as childhood icons battle in spectacular manner, whilst the plot contains many twists and surprises to keep the accent on action and suspense.
Even though this sprawling epic contains a host of guest-stars the creators never forget the cardinal rule that every comic is somebody’s first one; meaning that even the freshest reader can happily navigate these continuity-packed pages with comforting ease, particularly in the extended sub-plot concerning Cap meeting the mystery man who replaced him (sorry, no spoiler hints from me!). This makes Avengers/Invaders a magnificently accessible tale for all lovers of the superhero genre in its most primal form.
Also included in this volume is the Sketchbook issue containing Alex Ross and the greatly underrated Steve Sadowski’s working drawings and un-inked artwork, plus a gallery of the many cover variants that graced the original comicbook releases.
© 2008, 2009 Marvel Entertainment Inc. and its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.