Book Review - Avengers: War Across Time (2023) #1
Released today, Avengers: War Across Time is just what I wanted after coming off of Captain America's: The Ghost Army. Where that graphic novel could never spend time with any moment, War Across Time spends nearly all its time on one single action sequence. And what an action sequence it is! You can almost hear the shots, wails and sirens that blare on each page.
War Across Time's premise is simple. Kang sends out a Robot Hulk to cause utter destruction against The Avengers. It seems Kang has obtained relics from The Avengers' past, and one of those items is The Hulk's green glowing heart. (What that means for The Hulk is anyone's guess.) Robot Hulk's destruction follows the events of Avengers issue #11 involving Robot Spider-Man's destruction, but don't worry if you never read that, there's enough background information and asides to fill you in on those events.
I'm new to the world of comics, but what's clear is there's a throwback to the comics of yesteryear. The style is more vintage and we learn more about the characters by what they do rather than lengthy expositions. You have your staple Avengers here: Iron-Man, Thor, Captain America, Ant-Man and Wasp. Each one getting enough page time that you're genuinely invested in them. The only character who might catch readers off guard is Wasp, who is played liked a vampy vixen. You can almost hear the Eartha Kitt / Mae West amalgamation. On one level, it seems too extreme, but on another it provides a level of camp that readers (new and old) might not see too often.
For an issue #1, War Across Time feels full. Spanning 44 pages, this feels big but also tightly constructed. Writer Paul Levitz was smart to contain the action to one elongated sequence. But just because it's one long action sequence, doesn't mean we're confined to one area. The comic book wisely changes the setting a few times that I'd rather not spoil here, but it's just enough to add a bit of gravitas and even humor to what otherwise might feel like a bunch of punching and kicking. Again, maybe because my knowledge is limited, but the sequence came with vibes similar to Iron Man vs. Hulk in Avengers 2: Age of Ultron.
At some point, I'll get over the action of War Across Time. Maybe it's because the action is so visceral. Both the line work and frames all show impact, and the coloring makes each explosion have motion. The characters don't just exist within the world but use it at every moment. Because of this, there's a heightened sense of danger, and it makes you linger on every page.
The only scenes outside of the action involve Kang, and the few scenes we do get of Kang lay the groundwork for the future issues; but I honestly have no idea where we will actually end up. What I do know is that I'm excited to take that journey. If it's been a minute (or you would like to take a leap into something fresh and new), I can't recommend War Across Time enough. I know it will be getting at least one re-read before issue #2 is released in February.
Avengers: War Across Time (2023) #1
Release Date: January 11th, 2023
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