Graphic Novels Review: Avengers World: Ascension, Avengers: Infinite Avengers

Avengers: Infinite Avengers

Avengers: Infinite Avengers - Credit: Archant

Secrets are revealed for the Avengers, and nothing will ever be the same again...

Avengers World: Ascension

Avengers World: Ascension - Credit: Archant

(Panini Books)

Never before in the history of the Avengers has anyone attempted to tell a story so vast, so extensive, that it will take almost 100 issues of three different series, plus assorted spin-offs, to reach its epic conclusion.

Yet what Marvel creative architect Jonathan Hickman is attempting to produce, aided by Nick Spencer here on Avengers World, is a multi-dimensional, character-rich epic which will not only change the Marvel Universe for all time, but may very well spell its ultimate finale.

The Avengers he writes about are flawed, unsure of themselves, and yet determined in their resolve to protect their planet against any threat, no matter the scale, no matter the consequences.

Incursions between different realities are taking place across the multiverse, with the merging of parallel Earths resulting in the utter destruction of one version, leaving the other with a momentary reprieve before the next incursion begins. On our own world, a covert team of Avengers have prevented several incursions already, but at a cost.

Determined to always take the moral high ground, Captain America (Steve Rogers) refused to support his allies’ efforts to preserve our own world, believing its continued existence didn’t justify the destruction of another parallel Earth. His memories were therefore wiped by Doctor Strange, and he was left unaware of the terrible threat which his teammates were left to face…

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But the events of Original Sin, in which the Watcher’s secrets were unleashed on the superhero population, have restored Cap’s missing memories, and he is less than pleased, leading to a confrontation with his brother in arms Tony Stark, aka Iron Man.

The sudden appearance of the Time Gem, part of the all-powerful Infinity Gauntlet, cuts things short, as Stark, Rogers and a team of Avengers catapulting into the future, jumping progressively forwards and losing their comrades in the process, with only Steve left to learn the hidden truths at the end of time…

Meanwhile, the events of Ascension reveal how the organisation of terrorist scientists known as AIM (Advanced Ideas Mechanics) have developed into a powerful sovereign nation, while ancient magical forces are awoken beneath many of our major cities, and the Avengers’ future sons and daughters are plucked from the future to help in the present. All plot threads which will have their resolution further down the line…

The sheer scope of the story being told across multiple Avengers titles – including New Avengers, unfortunately not being reprinted in the UK by Panini – is all heading towards the forthcoming summer blockbuster Secret Wars, which promises the end of the Marvel Universe as we know it, and is the conclusion of Hickman’s long-running storylines.

Not since the golden days of Roy Thomas, Steve Englehart and Roger Stern have the Avengers been so epic in their scope, and it’s reassuring to see Marvel’s Mightiest Heroes at the very top of their game once more.

If you’re not already reading these outstanding books, you need to get on board with them now to ensure you’re fully briefed for what’s to come, probably the biggest storyline in more than half a century of Marvel Comics… Not just highly recommended, but must-have reading for any discerning comics fan.