Yes, I Bought a DVD to Get a Comic
I picked up the Avengers DVD/Blu Ray set that had the Avengers: Season One comic with it. We do not yet have a Blu Ray player yet, because, well, I’m stubborn, and I know as soon as I buy one, the giant push to have downloaded copies as primary media will happen.
Forget my little foibles. This is about comics.
Anyway, I read through the comic. For anyone that isn’t familiar with them, the Season One comics are a set of comics that Marvel is putting out whose purpose is to retell the origins of their big players. The crux is that there isn’t a big cosmic event that rewrote those histories, it’s more a matter of retelling the origins and subtracting out any element that is tied to a specific time.
In practice, while the “big notes” of the two Season One comics I read up to this point where unchanged (Fantastic Four and Spider-Man), the new, extra details that they add to kind of change the tone of the origin (and in the case of the Fantastic Four, removing the historical space race and changing it to the race to be the first private space flight into space really shifts how the origin feels).
Ben Grimm’s more “thugish” past, Johnny’s modeling, Reed’s personal assistant and pre-existing business interests, and Spider-Man’s agent all kind of shift the stories a little bit, and given that the actual origins don’t take that long to retell, the Season One’s almost feel like they are more “about” the new elements that have been inserted, rather than the origin itself.
Avengers: Season One isn’t actually like that. Written by comics veteran Peter David (one of the reasons I wanted the comic in the first place), it doesn’t retell the origin of the team. Or rather, the main story is not set at the time of their origin, and it is told, or recapped quickly, in a few flashbacks with even fewer details than the other Season One books.
Part of the issue is likely because Season One focuses on the four movie friendly Avengers Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. In order to get Cap into the action (and while acknowledging that he’s not a founding Avenger but was found soon after) the story actually takes place a short time after Cap has been revived and joined the team.
Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot more than the other Season One stories I read. It reads much more like a “lost chapter” than a “let’s retell this the way it would have to happen if all of this went on in the 90s instead of the 60s.” It makes the story feel much stronger on it’s own, because it can get to the business of telling a good story, but it doesn’t elucidate a new reader much about the origins of the Avengers except that the comic book founders are Iron Man, Giant Man, Wasp, Thor, and Hulk, and that they got together because Loki’s plot against Thor blew up in his face.
While I don’t really want to see the Avengers origin revised, I have to admit, the original was kind of thin, and it would have been nice to see if there might have been more details that could have been added besides Loki using a few illusions to get the founders to throw punches at each other before Thor remembered that his brother can use illusions.
In a way, that is what this story is, except that it has to take place later in the timeline to take Cap into account.
On it’s own, it’s a fun “lost chapter” to read, and as far as the art goes, the artists do a great job of adding a few modern touches to Cap, Iron Man, and Thor, without giving them costumes that are unrecognizable to long term readers. It’s worth the read, but if you want it to go in depth into the Avenger’s founding, well . . . Loki did it.
I don’t regret the purchase.