Sunday, January 6, 2013

365 Comics...6: The Avengers & The Infinity Gauntlet tpb

Firstly, what is the title of this book.  The logo itself insinuates it's called "The Avengers Infinity Gauntlet", and you could theoretically extrapolate that to be "The Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet", but the spine reads "Avengers & The Infinity Gauntlet" as does the copyright info.  This shouldn't be that big of a deal, but as a long-time comics reviewer I get particularly annoyed when I don't know what to call the thing I'm writing about.

Secondly, the Avengers?  This is a team comprised of Ms. Marvel, The Hulk (or is it just "Hulk", I get confused about these things), Spider-Man, Wolverine, Dr. Doom and U.S.1.  I mean I guess they are technically the Avengers but when I think of THE Avengers they're not who I thi....wait a second.  U.S. 1?  This book is fucknuts, but not in the good way.

I bought this for my kid about a year ago in hopes of giving him something a little more... superhero-y than Tiny Titans (though great) and Archie Comics.  I thought back to my youth and how cool it was seeing the gaggle of George Perez-illustrated superheroes in The Infinity Gauntlet, and was expecting the same for him out of this, but in a more self-contained story.  I obviously did that stupid parent thing (TM) where I a) bought him something he didn't as for and didn't want (and didn't read until this week) and b) didn't bother to check it out for myself first to see what it was really like.

It's a kids book, to be sure.  Writers Brian Clevenger and Lee Black are going for a lighthearted romp with (largely) recognizable, popular heroes, in the vein of the old Giffen-DeMatteis Justice League.  Unfortunately, the focus is set too squarely on the goofiness and laughs and there's barely any semblance of threat as Thanos has wiped away half the population of the universe (which, really, should be a bigger deal).  That Ulyssyes Soloman Ace, Space Trucker, features so prominently in this series should be a pretty key indication of how goofballs this book is.  As I said, it's a kids, book, but when I was 10, I was reading the regular Batman and Superman comics, I wasn't being... patronized... quite like this (although I was reading Peter Porker: Spider Ham and Heathcliffe comics too, so maybe I was).

The first issue of the Jim Starlin/Perez Infinity Gauntlet is reprinted in the back of this volume.  I'm sure any kid reading the preceding story would have their mind blown a little, if only by crazy differences between George Perez's dense, hyper-detailed artwork and Brian Churilla's expressive and loose cartooning (I like Churilla, but this isn't his strongest work).

For a better all-ages Avengers/Infinity Gauntlet adventure, check out the first Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers trade.

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