AVENGERS: ENDLESS WARTIME (Marvel, 2013; Hardcover)
Original graphic novel.
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Mike McKone
Colorists: Jason Keith with Rain Beredo
Loathe as I am to admit it, the reign of 616 Marvel Universe continuity is almost at an end. To the world at large, the movie and cartoon versions of these characters are the real versions. If these versions which betray the foundations of the characters at worst or miss the mark at best keeps these characters alive and saves them from falling into obscurity, is this really such a bad thing? Yes. Yes, it is.
Warren Ellis is a writer whose work I usually adore. Here he is doing ham-fisted hack writing rife with bad dialogue and cheesy one-liners, all in an attempt to keep the characterizations of the movie versions of the Avengers intact. This is supposedly in continuity. I guess it is...just not comic book continuity. Mike McKone is a wonderful artist, so there isn't anything to complain about in the art department.
This is one of Marvel's new Original Graphic Novels, standalone stories originally published in a hardcover book format. DC has had much mainstream bookstore success with their Batman and Superman ones and so Marvel has rolled this out to cash in. Reaching new readers is never a bad thing in my opinion. I have been called a continuity snob. Continuity is important to a point. If you do not have a structure for these stories to take place in, then what is the point at all? You may as well keep retelling the origin stories over and over and over, like the movies. Because audiences will never grow tired of those, right?
Movie Captain America and movie Iron Man are the most likable of the bunch, while movie Hawkeye and movie Black Widow are forgettable. Oh, who am I kidding? I hate comic book Hawkeye, too. Anyhow, movie Bruce Banner (the second one) in comic form doesn't work for me. Referring to the Hulk as “the other guy”...I don't know. Granted, I am not a regular Hulk reader, but it doesn't ring true to me. And of course Wolverine is added in to crap things up.
The villain is a World War II-era artificial intelligence which has merged with some Asgardian creature to create some hybrid that wants to kill Captain America and Thor. There is also some political metaphor about drones. Like it or not (and I don't), drones are a reality in this century. They will be fighting our wars and delivering our pizzas, and we'll all keep telling ourselves how much better off we are now.
If groan inducing dialogue and superheroes who swear are your cup of tea, then this book is for you. Face it, tiger...you've hit the ham and cheese jackpot!
Junk Food For Thought rating: 2.5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- The free digital copy code is no longer on a stiff piece of cardboard glued into the book block. It is now behind a sticker which must be peeled off. While still annoying because it “ruins” the book, it is less annoying than the card.
The trim size of this book is the same as other Marvel oversized hardcovers, which is larger than the Premiere Edition hardcovers.
DVD-style Extras included in this book: None.
Paper rating: 2.75 out of 5. While the glossy coated stock paper is of a fair weight, it is the shriveled nature of it which knocks it down 1.25 points on The OCD scale. At least a third of the book has this shriveling. This book came factory sealed in shrinkwrap. My house is a climate controlled environment, and it was like this as soon as I cracked open the cellophane. This is not the first time that I have noticed this from this printer (R.R. Donnelley) with books made in this timeframe. I believe that it has to do with using young, green trees which did not have time to properly cure. As paper demand shrinks and costs rise, printers cut corners as much as possible. Decontented product will only accelerate the demise of print, pushing fans to digital. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy...all to save a buck.
Binding rating: 4 out of 5. Perfect bound (glued) hardcover.
Hardback cover coating rating: 5 out of 5. The hardback has a nice, thick glossy lamination which is resistant to scuffing.