Or, â€œCan YOU find the Watchmen reference in this all-ages book?â€
Several years back, I had a really popular piece that made its way around a couple of message boards about how the Big 2 where ignoring the younger generation of readers. â€œIf all the comics are aimed at adults, there is no place for kids to jump in and enjoyâ€ was one of my main points, and at the time it was completely valid. Now that I am a new father, I have been sampling different comics in search of titles to start my 2 month old daughterâ€™s collection. Fortunately, a few years back, the Big 2 started publishing more all ages comics. While they are aimed at younger audiences, they have still taken different routes, and the Marvel Adventure line is one of the best. And after reading the latest issue of Marvel Adventures The Avengers (issue #24), Iâ€™m really excited about buying comics for my daughter and young relatives.
According to the official Marvel website, the target audience for the Marvel Adventures line is described as, â€œâ€¦kids from 6 to 60. If you’re young at heart and need a fun fix, Marvel Adventures is for you.â€, and I canâ€™t say that I disagree. I would, and have, had no problem handing off any one of the Marvel Adventure titles to some of my young relatives after I have enjoyed it. These are fun comics, and fun comics can be hard to find, especially when you are buying for kids.
Issue #24 of Marvel Adventures The Avengers is no exception. Anyone can pickup this book and enjoy it without anything more that the most basic, passing knowledge of the characters. Donâ€™t know detailed histories of the heroes and villains? No problem. If you know the basics of who Spider-Man and the rest are, you can enjoy a Marvel Adventure.
The Marvel Adventure Avengers consist of Captain America, Storm, Ant-Man, Spider-Man, Giant Girl, Wolverine, Iron Man and the Hulk. The team is a mix of classic and new and works great. I think that part of the reason for this is that each issue is standalone, with only an occasional story thread linking them together. Also, there is no (as of yet) Marvel Adventure X-Men, so Wolverine and Storm have not been overused. There is little, if any, connection with any of the other Marvel Adventure titles, so MATA is pleasantly an island unto itself. And since there is no connection with the regular 616 Marvel U, then you donâ€™t have to know anything about Civil War, Secret Invasion, or any sort of crossover event.
In this particular issue, we start out with the Avengers participating in an old comic book tradition, the superhero vs. superhero fight. Why are they fighting each other? They arenâ€™t even sure, they originally were trying to find a place to eat. But here is a novel idea: They actually get punished for the damage they cause. The Mayor gives them public service duty to make up for the damage! Yes, finally a more acceptable role model for kids!
Back at Avengers headquarters, Stark Tower, we see that the Avengers and their support staff have initiated a work release programs for criminals, and the lack of seating in the cafeteria is the reason that they left the tower for lunch in the first place. We meet one of these criminals, Karl, and see that these are not major evil-masterminds, but their henchmen that are being rehabilitated.
The Avengers sit down and eat (Wolverine with tater tots on his claws, PRICELESS!) while trying to figure out what caused their earlier fight. Guess what? Another fight starts! After this one is over, Giant Girl decides to call in an expert on rage – Bruce Banner! But Banner refuses to come in (he just bought a new purple suit) and refers them to Doc Samson. There, the fun starts and you can get a little Watchmen reference if you keep your eyes open.
The adventure continues, and you have more conflict, a surprise villain, and a resolution. Everything you need is wrapped up neatly in one issue, and a satisfying little issue it is. Even without an Iron Man appearance, and only a quick Banner cameo, this issue feels complete.
Jeff Parker (Agents Of Atlas, X-Men: First Class) has big fan following in the Marvel Adventures line, as well as the rest of the Marvel U, and after reading this I can see why. While I was impressed by his Agents Of Atlas series a few years back, itâ€™s nice to see a writer who is diverse enough to write for more than one audience. Leonard Kirk (JSA, Captain Britain And MI:13) gives us a cover that is fun and funny, and the interiors by Ig Guara and Jay Leisten are a treat to view. Their style and designs fit the story, and Captain America eating corn-on-the-cob is great!
This title, while intended for younger readers, will entertain adults as well. This is one of those titles you could give a kid just discovering comics and not worry about inappropriate content. The stories entertain, and the art is clean and easy to understand. Based on their target audience, I give this issue of Marvel Adventures The Avengers 4 out of 5 stars.