Review: Avengers: Endless Wartime

Avengers_Endless_Wartime_Vol_1_1When Marvel first announced a new line of original graphic novels based on their popular characters, there was a bit of excitement on my end. Then they announced that writer Warren Ellis and artist Mike McKone would be tackling the Avengers in the first release, Avengers: Endless Wartime. Having read the first release, I’m not excited anymore. In fact, I’m not sure I’ll be getting any more, and I kind of want my money back for the one I purchased.

Described as a “movie-length epic,” I whipped through the graphic novel in part of an evening. It didn’t feel movie-length and it wasn’t epic (unless you count epic fail). It took me only an hour or so to make my way through the semi-coherent narrative.

An abomination, long thought buried, has resurfaced in a war-torn land- but now it wears an American flag. Faced with another nightmare reborn, Captain America will not stand for yet more death at the hands of a ghost from his past. Haunted by his greatest shame, Thor must renew the hunt for a familiar beast. Side by side with the great Super Heroes the world has seen, united to end the threats no one of them could face alone, the Avengers will stare down the greatest threat the team has ever faced. But is even their combined might enough to overcome a force of pure evil?

That description sounds cool right? Yeah, think again. While the comic has an interesting start, the set-up is much more impressive than the follow through. Underneath the shallow exterior, there’s a greater debate about modern war, both the outsourcing of the battles fought and the pressing a button to kill your enemies thousands of miles away through drones. Overall, the disconnect and dissociation of modern war is a recurring theme throughout the comic. That’s great, if it was discussed more than some glancing dialogue here and there. Unfortunately, that very important discussion and worthwhile exploration is presented with bad guys that seem like something out of a kids cartoon and in a narrative that at times doesn’t make much sense.

A threat from both Captain America and Thor’s past are weaved together in what feels like a stretch to me and spins out into a story that at times really makes no sense. Not just from the plot stand point, but in how individuals react to what they discover. This same threat eventually leads them to a plot against the world’s super powered individuals, and the reaction by those behind it and the team just baffles me, days after reading this. Add issues with plot to dialogue that at times feels grating and you can see why the $24.99 price tag was outrageous.

The art is average, matching a blah story. I think the character designs are a bit off from what we’ve seen and not always consistent throughout the book and the monsters that are battled aren’t quite clear as to what they are.

The comic is formatted in an over-sized format reminiscent of  children’s books and even though it says 120 pages, it seems thin, in thickness and content. At most this should have been priced at $14.99, and an even better $9.99.

With so many better, and classic, stories featuring these characters to choose from, there are dozens of other choices I’d read first. If this is Marvel’s attempt to market their comics to those interested in the Movies they’ve launched, it’s a pretty poor start. This story wasn’t endless, the more I read though, the more I wanted it to.

Story: Warren Ellis Art: Mike McKone
Story: 5 Art: 6.5 Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass