Monday, 22 May 2023

Avengers: War Across Time #5 - Marvel Comics

Despite undeniably supplying this twenty-page periodical’s audience with an exhilarating “showdown in the future”, it is difficult to imagine that many of this comic’s older fans will be quite so filled with nostalgia as some were with the mini-series’ previous instalments. Indeed, some bibliophiles may well feel that Paul Levitz’s plot rather disappointingly runs out of steam halfway through the book and resultantly has to purely rely upon the prodigious pencilling of Alan Davis to help pad it out to the required length; “Focus -- I think to get out of this timestream, we have to stay together -- stay in touch with our own reality.”

To begin with however, the American author’s narrative proves pretty compelling with an over-confident Kang the Conqueror transporting “the original Avengers” to his formidable headquarters in the Thirty-First Century for a final reckoning. This confrontation smacks of the hubris which has helped make the obnoxious time-traveling entity the second-best Avengers villain of all time according to “Newsarama”, and initially appears to bode ill for the likes of Janet Van Dyne when she is forced to go one-on-one with the technologically advanced descendant of Reed Richards' father.

True, some readers might feel somewhat let-down by the supposedly genius-level intellect unexpectedly allowing Iron Man to suddenly fly off into his domain without giving a moment’s thought as to the damage Shell-head could (and ultimately does) cause to the “rare silicon isotopes” Kang uses to power his solar tower. But others will doubtless chalk up this massive oversight to the aforementioned arrogance which the former Pharaoh Rama-Tut displays throughout this tome. Furthermore, the future-based felon is already depicted as being on ‘the back foot’ by this point, having found himself on the wrong end of the Wasp’s sting.

Much more disappointing is arguably the subsequent sequence of panels showing this book’s titular characters falling through various multiverses. This series of sketches just goes on and on and on for a third of the publication, and even at the end never convincingly explains just how Captain America’s belief in knowing just “who I am” helps the Earth’s mightiest heroes escape “through the swirls of time!” In fact, the more cynical student of the Silver Age may well believe this stage of the story was solely an excuse for the comic’s British artist to once again demonstrate his penchant for reimagining many of Marvel Worldwide's more recognisable creations.

Writer: Paul Levitz, Artist: Alan Davis, and Color Artist Rachelle Rosenberg

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