War Of The Realms Strikeforce: The War Avengers #1

by Charles Martin on May 15, 2019

War Of The Realms Strikeforce: The War Avengers #1
Writer: Dennis "Hopeless" Hallum
Artists: Kim Jacinto & Ario Anindito
Colourists: Java Tartaglia & Felipe Sobreiro
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Check out this issue's solicit. Look how they bury Deadpool in the middle of the cast like he's just an ensemble player.

The Mighty Misguided Marvel Marketing Machine strikes again!

Deadpool kicks this story off by accidentally dragging the War of the Realms to Namor's doorstep. He sticks firmly to center stage for most of the rest of the book, dancing close to the line between constructive comic relief and destructive trivialization.

He stays on the positive side of that line thanks to talented writing. Dennis Hallum has an adroit grip on the Merc with the Mouth. He wields Deadpool like a scalpel rather than a cudgel.

Captain Marvel occupies the rest of the story's protagonist spotlight. She's firmly in command of this ad-hoc team, calling the shots and strategically dictating the plot. She also binds meaning onto the story by mirroring plots developments with her own character development.

Carol initially quashes the idea of throwing the War Avengers into a quick, easy, cape-y winner-take-all battle. But she yields to temptation as the story develops, and the last act sees her leading the team straight at Malekith.

A glance at the cover of War of the Realms #4 makes it clear how well that turns out for the War Avengers. The fallout from the fight challenges Carol to swallow some of her own bitter "it's not our job to be the big heroes this time" medicine. 

I'm usually leery of comics that split up their art duties, but Kim Jacinto and Ario Anindito make a remarkable match here. The art shift comes at a perfect moment in the script: time, setting, and tone all change gears as the pencil changes hands.

Kim Jacinto's angular, strongly-shaded work guides the team through its espionage-heavy military adventures at the start with big-budget élan. Java Tartaglia's hard-edged colours complement the art nicely, putting the finishing three-dimensional touch on the characters.

Ario Anindito takes over for the later, more magical adventures. Here too, there's a fine match between subject and style; his rounder, more organic lines brighten up the tone without feeling like a disconnect. Felipe Sobreiro fits the palette to the art, delivering softer, blended colours in lighter hues. But with Carol's final scenes, this art team also proves more than capable of handling torment and dark emotions.

Sadly, there's not space to give all the characters the level of attention Deadpool and Carol get. This is a shame because Mr. Hallum builds tons of potential into some tantalizingly brief relationships. I'd love to see more of these unlikely pairings: Namor + Carol, Captain Marvel + Captain Britain, the Black Knight + Spitfire + Union Jack team, and, furthest off the wall, Deadpool + Sif.

Unfortunately, some of the characters don't make it as far as tantalizing. Weapon H is poorly served by the laconic tough-guy clichés he gets for dialogue, and Venom is even further out of focus. This seems unfair given the wringer the plot puts him through. Black Widow and the Winter Soldier get one solid scene, but the script has little more for them. At least Mr. Jacinto and Mr. Anindito orchestrate some memorable fight-scene love for all these scrappers. 

War Of The Realms Strikeforce: The War Avengers #1 succeeds in its mission to throw tough Avengers into tough fights. It's also got some heart thanks to Captain Marvel and a surprising amount of humour thanks to Deadpool. It doesn't disappoint, but it's a little too safe to force its way into must-read territory. This could easily wait for a post-event discount roundup, particularly for budget-conscious readers.

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Charles Martin's picture
"Shell-shocked soldier fighting on a forgotten front" is the same shtick handed to Carol in Secret Empire. Given what past events have done to her, though, it could be much worse.