No one ever stays dead in comics for very long. Of course, when you have the very embodiment of Chaos trying to return the universe back to its dormant state before life, there’s more death and despair than usual, which by extension would mean there are more characters returning from the dead, right? Naturally, that would then lead to a title (or more than one) featuring fan-favorite characters that have long since been absent from the new comics shelves.
Except this collection of fallen Avengers is not the set that comes to my mind when I say “fan favorite.” Mar-Vell could be a favorite, sure. Vision too, maybe. Doctor Druid, Yellowjacket, Swordsman, and Deathcry, not so much. Nonetheless, Van Lente presses this team into action. Led by Mar-Vell, they assess the situation and attempt to do what Avengers do: save people and beat the bad guys. The bad guys are unlike anything any of these characters fought prior to their deaths, and in this state, they are fighting against the bad guys, each other, and the situation around them. Van Lente works some back story in with a pair of these characters, giving them some additional depth and definition.
When I saw this solicited with Tom Grummett on art, I started looking forward to this story. Grummett’s art is solid, weighing in as classic comic fare, but it isn’t his best work. There are a large amount of unbalanced panels and open spaces throughout this issue, something I don’t recall seeing much in Grummett’s past work, but Grummett’s work is still welcome here. Andy Troy’s colors, while on target, seem faded or pale. Perhaps that’s intentional as a play upon the less-than-vibrant life light of these selected characters, but it makes the book less impactful. It’s great to see Captain Mar-Vell again; I would prefer to see his costume in all its bright red and deep, rich blue glory.
This is a supplemental tale to the main story and it feels like it. It is not diminished to a “Red Skies” type of tie-in, but it certainly seems more self-important than impactful to the grander tale. Knock “Chaos War” off of the cover and this story might very easily stand on its own merit. The foe introduced here plays nicely against the selected not-so-dead Avengers. Van Lente and Grummett have a fun concept here, but with the cast of characters assembled it is a very tightly focused, small target audience buying into the concept.