Avengers: War Across Time #5
Set in the mid-1960’s, this series takes place shortly after the Avengers’ first encounter with the time traveling menace, Kang the Conqueror. Captain America, Thor, Iron-Man, Giant-Man, and the Wasp are forced to contend with monsters and menaces sent back in time by Kang to weaken them for eventual defeat - all while dealing with a few problems of their own making as they find their footing as a team.
The Avengers: War Across Time #5 is the final issue of 35-year DC veteran and industry legend Paul Levitz’s first Marvel story and clearly a loving homage to the Lee/Kirby/Heck comics that inspired him in his youth. Carefully crafted to fit into Marvel continuity shortly after the events of Avengers #10, fans of the Silver Age will appreciate how well Levitz channels the bickering and grandstanding that distinguished Stan Lee’s early Marvel dialogue without exhausting the reader. This is no mean feat to pull off as even the biggest fans of that era can find these qualities a little bit grating. Of particular note is Levitz’s take on the Wasp’s penchant for flirtatious one liners aimed at every hero she encounters. Her dialogue could easily come off as insouciant or diminishing but Levitz manages to make her seem confident and empowered in a way that fans of modern comics will appreciate.
In this issue the Avengers finally come together as a team while temporarily defeating Kang. In the process they catch a glimpse of future menaces and an expanding team in some impressively loving panels as the Avengers travel back in time from Kang’s dystopian future to mid-1960’s Manhattan. It’s a rewarding payout in an impressive throwback mini-series that fans of classic Marvel will remember fondly.
Artist Alan Davis is clearly in his element and lives up to his reputation from his work on team books like JSA and Uncanny X-men. The Avengers: War Across Time #5 is an action heavy issue that could easily veer into tediousness if not for Davis’s ability to channel Jack Kirby and Don Heck’s gifts for conveying motion and power with some truly thrilling action panels. That being said, the lack of detail in panel backgrounds feels like a missed opportunity. Rachelle Rosenberg’s effective use of color palette variations help to distinguish between the rich locales that a book of this scale presents but the dearth of detailed distinction between Kang’s future dystopia and 1960’s Manhattan feels like a missed opportunity for this book to take on a truly epic feel.
Fans of Marvel history will enjoy the satisfying conclusion of this throwback story and modern readers will appreciate the way that veteran penciller Alan Davis and masterful color artist Rachelle Rosenberg pay homage to 60’s style while making the artwork accessible to a contemporary audience.
Avengers: War Across Time# 5 A Satisfying Conclusion to a Great Throwback Story
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10
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