Current Reviews


Marvel Adventures: Avengers #2

Posted: Saturday, June 24, 2006
By: Ray Tate

"The Leader Has a Big Head"

Writer: Jeff Parker (cranium)
Artists: Manuel Garcia(hypthalmus), Scott Koblish(Corpus Callosum), Val Staples(Colorhead)
Publisher: Marvel (no duh)

Jeff Parker explores Marvel history to entertain with another fun, intelligently plotted issue of Marvel Adventures Avengers. You can see the Leader and the Abomination on the cover, but seeing those two villains does not mean that you now know all there is to know about what lies in the pages.

I always considered the Leader to be a mighty boring antagonist. Not this Leader. Parker rewrites the Leader as a hilarious and dangerous lunatic. He makes the Leader a joy to watch. The Leader gloats. He gets wrapped up in himself, and though a genius, he badly miscalculates.

Garcia and Koblish make the Leader a grinning, preening jackass who picks out the most ludicrous hat for his dream crown. Thus, the Leader reinforces Tate’s Theorem of Outlandish Headgear: there is an inverse proportion between the size and design of a hat and the sanity of its bearer; the more outlandish the hat, the nuttier the wearer.

The Leader’s aims are wacky indeed, but they may have worked with regard to the traditional Hulk seen in early issues of The Avengers. Parker highlights the differences between his Hulk and the traditional Hulk. The plot hinges on these differences, and these differences lend impact to the ending that most will find surprisingly, given all ages audience intent, mature.

Before Parker leads reader to the main plot, he opens the story with an intriguing biological disaster that lets the readers get to know the Avengers. Every one of the heroes is likeable in some way. Sometimes the incarnations in these pages differ strongly from the source material. Iron Man for instance is not the douchebag from Civil War. In the Marvel Adventureverse, he’s still shiny. Wolverine isn’t a wanton killer in the Adventureverse. He does not mind killing, but Avengers by-laws stop him from being a homicidal maniac. In fact Wolverine uses his brain this issue, and that’s a rare treat. Storm once again displays a sense of humor that she never had but fits her like a thigh high boot. Janet Van Dyne, presumably, is a lot more active and amusing as Giant Woman than in her traditional Wasp disguise. Spidey lacking the bad, seriously, bad continuity and the even worse costume foisted upon him gets to crack-wise, display his intellect and subtly express his responsible nature.

You like these characters. You can follow the plot. The plot has a beginning, middle and end. The story has a point. Marvel Adventures Avengers is simply brilliant tight writing.

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