As a comic franchise that is entering its 50th plus year, there are going to be some
stellar stories and some that are better left unmentioned. Avengers Forever was a
twelve issue maxi-series that attempted to answer ALL the strange continuity
questions and abandoned plot points. Kurt Busiek and Roger Stern write the series,
and it really is a love letter to the Avengers in every respect. Joined with Carlos
Pacheco and Jesus Merino on pencils, they craft a tale about time travel that is fairly
simple to follow.
The villain Immortus has become one of the Time Keepers, and sets about
eliminating alternate timelines where humanity wrecks the universe. Since
humanity seems to be the cause of such unending trouble, he decides to eliminate
the threat – Rick Jones, who wields the Destiny Force. But the Avengers aren’t going
to let that happen. And they are joined by longtime foes the Supreme Intelligence,
Kang the Conqueror and Libra. Together they assemble a team of Avengers (Captain
America, Hawkeye, Wasp, Giant Man, Yellowjacket, Captain Marvel and Songbird)
from past, present, and future to defeat Immortus.
I have to admit that there might be a high barrier to enjoy this series if you aren’t
familiar with the history of the Avengers – comics version, not cinematic. Because
Busiek was dealing with so much continuity, there are plenty of blink and you’ll miss
it cameos and easter eggs for long time fans to spot. But I really do think that a
causal reader can enjoy the series without knowing the minutia of Avengers trivia.
There are plenty of enjoyable aspects for the readers. There are events that already
have happened that they can’t interfere with for fear of altering history. Some events
that are slightly similar but from an alternate universe. Different takes on characters
and stories that allow the writer to explore some interesting “what if” scenarios.
The artwork is beautiful and is easy to follow. Busiek gives the artists a lot to do and
they handle the demands easily. For example, in one panel they may have to depict
an event from one major Avengers story and then the very next panel is a
completely different version of events. A bit jarring to see at first, but taking a
second look you can really see the genius there. The composition and technique
makes all the difference.
I first read this as it was coming out, and then again a few weeks ago. Some of the
dialogue is a bit of the moment and dated, but the entire series does hold up quite
well, even if the Avengers stories that follow don’t quite map out like it was
Overall, this is a solid read and enjoyable too. Pick it up if you are a fan of
classic Avengers. Pick it up if you are a fan of time travel and alternate universe
stories. Pick it up if you love all things Marvel. Pick it up if you want a interesting,
cerebral take on Avengers and their stories.