Graphic Novel Review: Avengers: No Surrender

Avengers: No Surrender

Avengers: No Surrender - Credit: Archant

Every Avenger, ever, against a threat which might just destroy the Earth...

(Panini Books)

“And there came a day unlike any other, when earth’s mightiest heroes were united against a common threat! On that day the Avengers were born! -- To fight the foes no single hero could withstand!”

Remember how Voyager came up with the team’s name, and then stuck around when the rest of the original members called it quits? What about when she welcomed the Vision with the immortal acknowledgement that “Even an android can cry…”

Of course, Valerie Vector hasn’t been seen in the series since issue #70 of the original run, when she was apparently disintegrated by Victory the Electromagnetic Man as part of a contest between the Grandmaster and Kang the Conqueror. Well now she’s back, in what might be the team’s hour of greatest need.

Assorted Avengers teams are brought together when our world is ripped from its place in the cosmos, unleashing global catastrophes as a consequence, and requiring the intervention of every hero who has ever stepped into the ranks of Earth’s Mightiest…

To compound the crisis, the Avengers’ butler Jarvis has been critically injured saving a child during the chaos, and a growing number of heroes are frozen in some sort of suspended animation, which makes it the perfect time for the Black Order and Lethal Legion to join the fray.

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So the return of Voyager for the first time since November 1969 (our time, but years for the Avengers in their own continuity as well) is the ray of hope needed on this darkest of days. But can even the return of one of the team’s arguably greatest members be enough to turn the tide in their favour?

Of course, there was never an Avenger called Voyager, or was there? This wouldn’t be the first time Marvel has retroactively inserted a lost hero into continuity, with the likes of The Sentry and The Blue Marvel enjoying a lost history which was only later revealed to the world at large. Don’t expect any spoilers here mind, as Val’s secrets are best discovered by reading this massive 16-part epic.

The current line-up of Avengers books – Mighty, Occupy, US, Uncanny – go out in style as writers Mark Waid, Al Ewing and Jim Zub wrap up their runs and set up a host of events for the future of the Marvel Universe in the process.

One of these is the resurrection of Bruce Banner, better known as the Hulk, after his apparent execution during the events of Civil War II. The Avengers’ clash with the green goliath was actually mapped out by artist Paco Medina for added realism, as he rampages through the Avengers’ underground bunker.

Unlike the Avengers: Disassembled epic, which this storyline was compared to in previews, at the heart of No Surrender is a message of triumph over overwhelming adversity, and an affirmation of what it actually means to be an Avenger.