In 2013, Marvel decided to re-launch their Original Graphic Novels. Set in current continuity, Warren Ellis crafts a tale about how war changes over time and questions if it ever really ends or just evolves into another war. Mike McKone provides the pencils, and captures the essence of the heroes and brings his “A game” to the fighting sequences and villains. The title suggests that war is endless and Ellis creates a narrative that asks exactly that as well as the cost of war. He uses the characters to show what it takes to stop a war and defeat your enemy. And as you imagine, it’s a line that some Avengers do not want to cross.
A recurring element in comics is that the past often comes back to take revenge on the heroes. The story starts in World War II where Captain America is after a villainous group that was developing artificial intelligence super-weapons. He destroyed the weapons in question before his infamous dip in the Artic Ocean. At the same time, Thor was facing off against a Nordic creature that had escaped from the mythological World Tree. He destroyed the creature, and thought that was that.
Flash forward many years and there are A.I. demons spawning from where the original battles took place. It seems that the blast and destruction fused them together. The Avengers figure that the US military is using them as a sort of drone warfare and sets and set out to stop them and destroy the tech as well. Since this is an unofficial mission, the Avengers covertly infiltrate and use their considerable powers to engage the enemy.
The current team of Avengers, including all from the movie, plus Captain Marvel and Wolverine, team up to defeat these organic robotic demons that are rampaging throughout the Ellis’ characterization of the team is a bit off since he has to change some long-standing beliefs in order for his story to make sense. Reducing Hawkeye to comic relief and having Wolverine only be the killer is a bit simplistic. Ellis usually mixes the military-industrial complex with superheroics, so it’s a shame that he doesn’t hit it out of the park here.
It’s a good start for the OGN, but ultimately doesn’t really have the impact of The Death of Captain Marvel or God Loves, Man Kills from the classic OGN run. If you like Ellis and the Avengers you are in for a good read. If you are hoping for a ground breaking story, this may not be it for you.