Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Everyone Can Enjoy IDW's New All-Ages Comic Starring Earth's Mightiest Heroes

Ever since the Marvel Cinematic Universe was born, comic readers have found that Marvel comics change too much too soon to the point where longtime readers don’t even recognize their favorite characters. And even if those books draw audiences from popular movies, new readers are lost in the constant relaunches while younger readers still have trouble grasping the complex sci-fi stories that started in the 60s. But that has all changed. After the jump, check out my full review of the first volume of IDW’s first all-ages book starring Earth’s Mightiest Heroes - Marvel Action: Avengers Vol. 1: New Danger.

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of Marvel Action: Avengers Vol. 1 courtesy of IDW Publishing.
Opinions are my own.

My little brother-in-law loves Miles Morales, but it can be hard for him to understand the cosmic universe bending stories that go on in the main books. What Marvel really needed was all-ages books featuring their iconic characters, and IDW is here to fill the void.

The six Avengers featured in this story arc are Iron Man, Captain America, Thor - because of course, that’s who you would have front lining this - and the recently relevant and popular Black Panther and Captain Marvel. Black Widow is there to round out the team.

The many variant covers released during this series original printing prominently feature the Hulk, Hawkeye, Ant-Man, the Wasp, Falcon, War Machine, and the Vision. In other words, virtually every main character from the MCU films. While they’re all featured on the covers, only the previously mentioned six appear in this volume. You can only fit so many Avengers in a single arc but I’m sure they’ll all show up in the series sooner or later.

Character designs and personalities are, as is to be expected, inspired by the MCU but with a personal touch that feels a bit more like an animated series. Manning charmingly captures the voices of famed movie stars and Hollywood writers and seamlessly brings them to the page. The artwork by Sommariva and Protobunker isn’t as crisp as the 2010 Earth’s Heroes series, but it’s miles above 2013’s Avengers Assemble.

In this three-part story, Tony Stark is captured and brainwashed into becoming an agent of AIM leaving the Avengers to assemble and help jog his memory. The brainwash story is intriguing enough for adults and not too confusing for young readers. There’s no alternate timelines or mothers getting resurrected here. Just heroes fighting villains.

And I gotta say the use of lesser known characters is really appreciated. While the main cast of Avengers - both within the pages and on the covers - are ripped from the MCU, the villains are made up of Madame Masque, Fin Fang Foom, and even the U-FOes. Kids will be drawn in by familiar characters and introduced to new ones.

I’m also diggin’ how the characters have their retro costumes in flashbacks. Not only are the Avengers in their old-school 60s outfits, but we also see the original founding Avengers - including Ant-Man and the Wasp. The characters look and sound like their MCU counterparts, but still have some of their fifty plus years of history.

This is exactly the Avengers series we need right now. It’s simple but doesn’t talk down to its readers. It’s fun but doesn’t alienate older fans. It perfectly blends big screen versions of characters with their comic roots.

This is not just a kid’s comic with some old references for adults. IDW and Marvel have created a comic all ages can truly enjoy. Click here to order your copy of this first volume.