The first issue of Hachette Partwork’s Marvel’s Mightiest Heroes series stars The Avengers and what an excellent choice it is.
The aim of these bi-weekly books is to cover the origins of a character (or team) and a defining story from their careers, all represented in a gorgeous hardback book. With The Avengers we’re given The Avengers #1 (1963) and Avengers Volume 3 issues #0 & 19-22. The latter features the return of Ultron. It makes sense to include this as the first book, because of the upcoming Avengers 2 movie, which will be featuring Ultron as the protagonist.
I would like to confess something: I am not a fan of 60s comics. They just don’t grip me as much as newer titles, however it shows how the artwork, characterisation, and storytelling have all evolved over the years.
The Avengers #1 is a rushed job, and Stan-Lee has admitted to that. We see Iron Man, Ant-Man, Wasp, Thor, and the Hulk join together to stop Loki, after he tricks the Hulk into destroying a train track.
Marvel has done an excellent job of bringing the pages into the newer age. Each panel has been re-coloured to give it a more vibrant look, and it works with the book’s near-pure white paper stock.
The second – and newer story – features the return of Ultron. The evil AI begins capturing select members of the Avengers team, continuing his obsession with his creator, Hank Pym, aka Ant-Man. What stands out in this story is not only our heroes’ battle with the Adamantium-clad creation, but their personal lives as well. We find out more about the fragile relationship between Wasp and Ant-Man, turmoil between Scarlet Witch, The vision and Wonder Man, as well as a viewpoint from the Avengers newest recruits. This story has great amount of depth to it.
What adds to this arc is the exceptional artwork by George Perez. Not only is each character brought to life in vivid imagery, but even in the most frantic scenes George manages to capture the moment.
This first volume also gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of The Avengers #1, a brief history of the team, and a roster list of its members throughout history.
A more suitable modern story-arc could have been selected and not just one tying into a future movie release. Overall I’m impressed with the first issue in this series. Love or hate superhero teams, this is worth the purchase.
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