What is ‘I am an Avenger’?

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You come in expecting Spartacus but you end up with something closer to Brian of Nazareth this is the rallying cry of the ages for ………………………….

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A little different than most of the comics I review, this five issue mini series from early 2011 is instead a collection of mini stories about the Avengers themselves. Each told and drawn by different people and focusing on one person or team to fight under the name. I won’t be discussing all of them of course for fear of spoiling stuff for you but also because some are really really short and others won’t make much sense if you aren’t already a fan of said character. Squirrel Girl gets about two pages and one line of dialogue while Stingray gets four pages to explain to us who that guy always hanging around the back of group shots actually is and what his “gimmick” is. Some are funny such as Wolverine finding the one team to turn him down while others are truly heart felt moments such as Steve Rogers down time from issue two. Some are catch ups with old friends like Justice and Firestar the only one who had a story important enough to stretch past one book, while others are desperate pleas from Marvels higher ups to please read and or like certain characters, aka Nova.

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In fact interestingly enough the series seems mis-branded. I mean sure they’re all Avengers but each story focuses on the person in question sometimes in becoming an Avenger and in others in their lives outside. Such as Danny Rand and Misty Knight in a short and sombre storyline dealing with the end of their relationship that feels like a must for fans of the two but too short and without any direct connection to the Avengers series.

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A lot of other writers clearly held the post it note style directive in higher esteem, focusing on their connection to said team with the Young Avengers coming for their first meeting at the mansion; a rather dull story with a rather shaky end attempting to instil a believe in yourself mentality. Eric O’Grady scoping out the mansion before his first visit to see whether it is worth turning up for his first day on the job or if he should just quit now and Nova discussing his upcoming membership with Spiderman while desperately pimping his own series.

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I would argue that all of them are decent, well except for the Young Avengers very shaky start to the series and Nova whining that nobody thinks he is cool even though he is totally best friends with Spider-man who every one likes and he has been on totally cool adventures which are plastered over two pages not once but twice for little to no reason.

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In fact perhaps the biggest problem is that despite calling themselves “I am an Avenger” it should have been called “Now that’s what I call Avengers 2011”. Some of the stories will stand despite being set in the here and now like Ben Grimm choosing who comes first ‘The Avengers’ or the ‘FF’. Yet you can’t help but wonder what being an Avenger meant for the first five before Captain America dropped by to spechify or who will be bearing the title of Earth’s Mightiest Hero in several years time.

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Now granted there’s nothing stating when some of these stories take place and Hulks anger management or Luke Cage’s fabulous Pimp hat could have happened at any time but it all feels very here and now and that starts to hurt even now a mere five years on, lord only knows how this will look to the Marvel reader in another five. Had this been a regular thing I might have let it slide but for a one off its now quite dated and that’s a shame because there is some stuff here you should really see. Bucky’s short outing as Cap as seen from the eyes of a young kid is a touching message that doesn’t feel too ham fisted. Stingray looks interesting for the first time I can recall when he goes one on one with a giant Robo-Hydra Shark and even Jarvis gets a tale; though he has to share it with Logan in a rather clumsy attempt at sentimentality.

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The series isn’t perfect and if your go to Avengers haven’t made the cut I would give it a miss. Heck even if they have there’s the feeling that you should be hunting down that issue rather than the whole run. Well unless you’re after Justice and Firestar who get issues two three and four and by that point you might as well finish up and get the last two books.

Due to the decent nature of most of the stories but the hap hazard nature and the time locked structure I would say that this is one for Avengers fans only and should be sort in discount bins and long boxes behind the counter.

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