Avengers: endless wartime
Avengers: Endless Wartime is the first in a series of original graphic novels showcasing major Marvel characters. Hardcover and oversized, with exquisite book design by Rian Hughes, everything about it says “serious” and “event”. And it is a big deal, if only because it represents the return of über-scribe Warren Ellis to mainstream comics after a lengthy absence.
That said, Endless Wartime is a rather dour affair that often threatens to buckle under the weight of its worthiness. The plot centres on drone strikes being carried out against made-up Middle Eastern nation Slorenia and the first half of the book consists mostly of the Avengers discussing the rights and wrongs of outside intervention in the affairs of a sovereign state and the ethicality of big corporations becoming involved in war. All very topical, but vacillation and soul-searching ill befits the characters. These are Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, not Earth’s Mimsiest.
Ellis’s dialogue crackles as always, but he’s let down by McKone, who seems able to do only two facial expressions – grim or smiling – which undermines the sly, snarky wit in the speech-bubble captions. The mix of sombreness and superheroics doesn’t quite gel, and one finds oneself pining for the jaunty, screwyou attitude that characterised Ellis’s runs on The Authority and Nextwave.