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Thursday, 11 January 2018

Avengers: Kang War One...Being Brutally Honest

Having lost all faith in The Avengers as a title to follow (see my Avengers mega post cus I do keep up-to-date with things) I never picked this series up at all and have no idea if it has even been rebooted since.  However, the trade covering issues 1-6 was ridiculously cheap. And there was a name that made me buy it: Mark Waid. Comics writing legend and I have a lot of his work in my collection. Mike Del Mundo as an artist I never heard of but at the price the book was going for how could I not buy?
This is the story:

"The time has come! Their ranks shattered by Civil War (I need to interject here and point out that this refers to Civil War II not the first one), their spirits weighted down by a toll both personal and spiritual, Earth's Mightiest Heroes must find the resolve to stand united one final time against their greatest foe! The Avengers will assemble once more: Captain America! Thor! The Vision! The Wasp! Spider- Man! Hercules! But when the dust settles, will any of these valiant warriors make it out alive from...Kang War One? And when the Vision sets out hell-bent on revenge against the Conqueror, if the Avengers can't hold the synthezoid back, all of history is in jeopardy!"
Janet van Dyne is no longer the wasp. Well...this might get complicated because Janet Van Dyne is the Wasp later in this book.  Oh let's just get on with this shall we?

It all starts with the Avengers -Hercules, Lady Thor, Wasp and Captain America- battling Hoarfen the Frost wolf in Central Park. That explanation was all on the page so it made things easier. Anyway, now that Tony Stark is broke (?) and Peter Parker is the genius multi-billionaire he offers to fund and house the team and has invented the quinjet -all from his business base in the Baxter Building. 

I have to say that his business card must read: Peter Parker: Arschloch  and I do not recognise the character at all.  He goes from arsehead to wise-cracking Spiderman and I really found it hard to associate this version with the classic and well characterised version of the pre reboot reboot of the reboot.
But then -action!  Kang and Scarlet Centurion (who is an earlier version of Kang -see the already mentioned Avengers Forever for his full story) are attacking the Vision and are driven off but then it turns out that it was the Vision who started the war (yes, it's a "war" apparently) by kidnapping Kang as a baby and hiding him somewhere before wiping out his own memory of where he placed the baby.  Got that? Good.  So, Vision wiped his memory which means that Kang and the Scarlet Centurion just have to go back in "reverse time" to see the moment that the Vision deleted his memory and where he downloaded it to.  And they have the location.
How do Kang and Scarlet Centurion get their revenge?  They go back in time and murder all the Avengers just after their births.  Why did they never do this before?  Do you really want a very, very VERY long explanation?  The question if you were a time traveller would you go back and kill a baby Hitler applies here.  Kang could very well destroy his own future since the Avengers were a big part of it (see Avengers Forever).  Anyway, the dead Avengers are not dead so long as they stay in the limbo were a good future version of Kang has drawn them.
Now, because Hercules is an immortal and his birth date is unknown he could not be killed but, he is told by fellow immortal Sybil ("Rome's Gods and demi Gods" walk among us it seems....uh, Hercules was a Greek demi god...just saying) that Kang will be coming for him.  So she gives him a necklace.  So as Hercules battles so the not dead Avengers appear to help him (so long as they stay close to Hercules and the necklace they do not fade from time).
Anyway, Kang kills Spiderman.  Without explanation Spiderman is still alive and fighting a couple pages later.  So the future good version of Kang does what has never been done before: he summons different teams of Avengers to attack Kang at various points in time and....

Hang on...I need to check something....

No, this is definitely not Ultron Forever or Avengers Forever know.

The Avengers win.  Or do they?
I read this at 01:00 hrs and I actually said "What a f--- mess!" out loud.  Luckily I was by myself.

There are problems. I am not talking about Hercules, Scion of Olympus, having to carry a great big blaster rifle to fight foes now.  I am not talking Hercules walking about with a big transparent yellow square over his eye.  I am talking about the writing.

Twice I double checked that it was Mark Waid -the Mark Waid- writing this.  There was no real characterisation -the best scene was where the new Wasp has to take the baby Kang to restore him to his rightful place and she has a big decision to make and the decision once taken shows that Waid actually gets what it takes to be an Avenger.  
It was just such a mess or seemed to be a mess. Let me quantify that statement.  The whole book was a mess.  This is where I am going to get people mad or asking what am I on.

Del Mundo's art is awful.  Del Mundo's art is also stylish and in places  -the Wasp and baby Kang section- was quite lovely.  However, whom-so -ever decided that he could do a super hero book in that art style needs to be fired.  Their incompetence is staggering.  Let me look at the credits...Tom Brevoort (Alanna Smith was assistant editor) which explains it all really.

Firstly, the Kang and Scarlet Centurion, in fact most of the characters, were unrecognisable and referring several times to events in Uncanny Avengers was it? I don't care.  Sam Wilson (former Falcon) is the new Captain America.  The new not very bright and lacking in any leadership skills Captain America. I seriously had to ask how he was thought to be worthy of the title.
Also, Wilson says at one point "Felt like a rabbit jumped over my grave" (I have never, in 60 years heard that one -"someone just walked over my grave" seems universal) and Lady Thor (hey, the real one is "Lord Thor" so that means the female one is Lady Thor!) has no idea what that means.  However, when she later teams up with the original Thor and he asks how she has Mjolnir she responds "Spoilers".  Common expressions -no. Phrases like "Spoilers" -yes.  Here is something: when Vision explains what he has done some ugly huge mouthed thing with greenish hair shouts at him.  I was confused. Flicked back a few pages and realised that this was Lady Thor!  Big "F"!
Waid might have gotten away with all of this had he been assigned an artist like Alan Davies or Perez or even Pachecco or anyone else other than Del Mundo.  Del Mundo should not be drawing super hero books and the art shows why.   However, Del Mundo has a very colourful art style that would suit other projects but I think the problem is also one of editing.  That gaping mouthed Lady Thor panel should have been redrawn.  There are some very bad examples of anatomy and I had trouble at times recognising Kang!  In a Sci Fi comic or even a slice-of-life comic the style and colour would be acceptable but definitely not on a super hero book.

That this was an example of Waid's modern writing and what an alleged editor thought was good art for the company's former flagship title shows how bad it has become.  Waid writing this with another artist might get away with it, yes.  Del Mundo drawing another comic in this style and he would get away with it. Put the two together as writer and artist and it is pure disaster.

Cash in on the Avenger movies.  A movie goer sees the nice covers and thinks "I liked the film -I'll try the comic!" He/she buys it. Spits coffee all over it while shouting "WTF???!!" Lost reader.

I am still finding it hard to believe Waid wrote this. No doubt it is my fault as an Avengers fan of 50+ years not appreciating this shit but it is.  Did this team-up continue beyond #6 of the series (I hope not as I am being sent the second trade)?

As I wrote in the Avengers mega post: the real Avengers ended with volume 1 and right now I wish I was Kang so that I could go back and stop this "stück scheiße auf meinen schuhen" from ever having been printed.


  1. Where has Mark been in the meantime? Archie or Moonstone I think. It didn't do him any good.

  2. If you think Marvel are bad try reading some DC books lol - I enjoyed 1/4 of your Avengers mega post, not that the rest was poor its just 1 didnt have time to read all that (amazing) amountof work, had a crap cold and I am so scunnered with 90% of comics now as my memory od fthe Avnegers, JLA etc are ones of fun read. Recent versions have (mostly) just butchered (imho) the work of previous creators. Saying that I enjoyed your review of Avengers (still cant take in the Banner / Hulk head thing).

  3. You are certainly right about the art, Terry. Trying to un-see the examples, as I type.

  4. Mark Waid wrote the excellent Daredevil and Black Widow series with wonderful Chris Samnee art well worth tracking them down if you see them - both classic strips

  5. Wow. I am sooooooooooooooooo glad that I steer away from anything Marvel that´s not a reprint from at least 30 years ago. Aaaaand now I feel old. Thanks for the review. Maybe we can all pool a little money for your therapy session.

  6. Someone wrote (but not on this bloody blog!) that they thought the art was pure crap. No. It is definitely NOT for super heroes but shows a lot of promise for other genres. Re-reading the pages with the new Wasp again I suddenly realised this read like a rip-off from Avengers:Earth's Mightiest Heroes animated series and a couple other comics where the REAL Wasp showed that she was not playing super hero but the fight was serious. Yeah, I have Condor Verlag's large size Racher comic introducing Starfox and a recent 1980s Dutch Avengers comic. Sadely my old German reprints...was it Ehapa? The German versions (mis-coloured and all) I loved! The classics, heh?