100th Anniversary Special: The Avengers #1 (Marvel)

Avengers 100thAnn
CREDIT: Marvel Comics

Rating: 5/5 – James Stokoe’s Incredibly Detailed Art on the Avengers!
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

A few months back Marvel announced a series of specials that would take either a single hero or a team book and tell their story forty to fifty years in the future. So far we’ve had Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. So far I have not enjoyed these 100th Anniversary issues as the idea that spawned them. Until the 100th Anniversary Avengers issue. James Stokoe, whose amazingly detailed art can be seen on previous series such as Orc Stain and Godzilla: Half Century War, gets the opportunity to offer up his take on Marvel’s “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”. This issue is by far my favorite of the bunch, but not only for Stokoe’s art, for the story as well.

Eight days after the Badoon invasion, New York City is no longer the place it once was. The city is now overrun with alien biological growth and Badoon technology. A small group of Avengers that includes Doctor Strange, Rogue, Beta Ray Bill and a very different Iron Man attempt to clean up the earth and rid the world of any remaining Badoon forces. As they make their patrols, a small bomb squad attempting to disarm a leftover Badoon weapon awaken the Mole Man and his endless army of moloids, adding another layer of complexity in the Avengers attempts to set things right. Stokoe chooses an unlikely group to tell the story, but it works. Doctor Strange is a new incarnation of the hero, and seeing how Stokoe explains how the original Iron Man and Rogue are still alive is both clever and fun.

The story Stokoe tells is a perfect match for his art style. A world overrun by biological growths and an infinite army of moloids attacking New York City is exactly the kind of story that Stokoe needs to draw. You can spend so much time appreciating each and every detail that he puts on the page. Nothing looks out of place, nor does anything ever look messy even though each page has thousands of pencil lines. The opening double page splash that shows Stark Tower sitting over a broken city is fascinating in its detail, and that’s just the beginning. Page after page, each more detailed than the last, fill this issue until an ending that’s both satisfying and touching.

This is by far the my favorite of the 100th Anniversary issues, and it’s something that you should experience. If you’re not familiar with Stokoe’s independent work, this is the perfect entry point into his art with characters that you already are likely to know and enjoy. Stokoe proves that he’s a modern legend in the field, and it’s exciting to see him back working on Marvel again (he did a story in Strange Tales II in 2010). Stokoe’s work isn’t plentiful considering the amount of detail that goes into each page, so do yourself a favor and become familiar with his work here. Then seek out his other comics if you like it.  You will not regret it.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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