REVIEW: ‘Avengers: War Across Time,’ Issue #1

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Avengers: War Across Time #1

Avengers: War Across Time #1 is written by Paul Levitz, illustrated by Alan Davis, colored by Rachelle Rosenberg, and lettered by VC’s Cory Petit. Marvel Comics publishes it. Taking place after the events of Avengers (1963) #11, the Avengers have returned to New York after their second battle with Kang the Conqueror. Swearing vengeance, Kang sends another one of his lifelike robots after Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. This one may be tougher to defeat, as it’s modeled after one of their founding members —The Incredible Hulk!

What makes War Across Time #1 a standout issue is the creative talent involved, particularly Levitz and Davis. Levitz is well known for his work at DC, penning the Legion of Super-Heroes and hiring creative talent such as Marv Wolfman (The New Teen TitansCrisis on Infinite Earths) and Karen Berger, who’d oversee the Vertigo line of comics that gave birth to The Sandman. In a way, he’s just as part of DC’s history as Stan Lee is of Marvel’s.

In fact, the work that Lee did on the original Avengers with Jack Kirby & Don Heck inspired Levitz’s story for War Across Time. “I learned much of my writing craft from The Avengers, and it’s been a delight to pay homage to my old friends Stan, Jack, and Don by trying to do something that might have been an extended issue #11.1,” Levitz said when the series was first announced. Indeed, his script hews extremely close to the character dynamics that shaped those early issues: Captain America is still adjusting to the (then) modern-day, Giant-Man and Wasp have a pull-and-push relationship, and Thor is a proud warrior. Levitz even manages to play off continuity, referencing how Spider-Man helped the Avengers beat Kang and Iron Man’s battle with the Mandarin in Tales of Suspense #62.

Davis is also a living legend himself, having co-created the mutant superhero team Excalibur and crafting the Elseworlds tale JLA: The Nail for DC. War Across Time #1 features plenty of Davis’ bombastic action sequences, as over half of it is dedicated to the battle between the Hulk-robot and the Avengers. Thor sends the Hulkbot flying with a well-placed throw from Mjolnir. Iron Man wraps it in metal. And Cap leaps nimbly around it, delivering blow after blow with his shield.

It is given an apocalyptic flair by Rosenberg, who wraps the scenery in dark reds and oranges that give off a hellish glow. In contrast, she depicts Kang’s empire as a shining, pristine utopia that contrasts his warlike nature. Rounding out the creative team is Petit, who perfectly replicates the lettering style of the classic Avengers comics. If it weren’t for the release date, one would be fooled into thinking that this actually was an old Avengers comic, and that’s how good his work is.

Avengers: War Across Time #1 is both a well-crafted throwback to the Avengers’ glory days and a reminder of the menace Kang the Conqueror poses. With Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania set to position Kang as a significant threat in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this series is an excellent introduction to his character.

Avengers: War Across Time #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.


Avengers: War Across Time #1
4.5

TL;DR

Avengers: War Across Time #1 is both a well-crafted throwback to the Avengers’ glory days and a reminder of the menace Kang the Conqueror poses. With Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania set to position Kang as a significant threat in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this series is an excellent introduction to his character.

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