I don’t quite know where to begin with Avengers: Endless Wartime. A large part of me was jazzed when this was first announced: I get to see Warren Ellis tackle writing some of these Avengers characters again, and the thought of Mike McKone on art duties is enough of a sell for me, but I can’t help but feel confused and disappointed. For a story that takes place in the Marvel 616 continuity, it sure didn’t have the feeling it belonged.

Ellis is one of my favorite writers, always bringing thought-provoking, often satirical and socially aware elements to his work and the characters he writes, but this story was all over the place. I had a hard time believing any of these characters would speak or react in the way that Ellis depicted them to, especially Tony Stark. The voices for the characters just seemed off from the Marvel 616 universe and more in line with the Marvel cinematic universe. That would be a fine tool to use to bring in new readers who are solely familiar with the Marvel Avengers-related movies, but Avengers: Endless Wartime wasn’t marketed that way. I am not even a stickler about continuity in the least, I just had a troublesome time sorting through the characterization in my own head, which in turn caused even more confusion. I also found the pacing to be jarring and had to re-read some panels and pages over again a few times because I was certain I has missed something when in fact I didn’t. The plot was overly-convoluted for the page count. This would have been a much smoother read had there been an extra 20 pages to flesh out the story and fill in the slight gaps. But alas, there weren’t.

Mike McKone’s art was not up to par with his previous work. I can’t perceive it being due to deadline issues, but I don’t know. Once again the pacing was off, and the art’s sequential story telling was choppy. This could be due in part to either page count or just the script Warren Ellis provided, but it still took its toll on the story. The artwork started off strong in the first quarter of the book, but I cannot make sense of where it went wrong or why. There were many gaps in between panels, where normally easy to fill in the blanks, that came off as missed opportunity in the narrative’s fluidity (or lack there of). Colorist Jason Keith did a great job keeping the art together, really nailing it on the coloring duties, but that’s the best part about the art.

I can’t fully endorse this as a book that can be a nice stepping stone for new readers to sink their teeth into, and I can’t convincingly say this is a must-read story for the die-hard continuity freaks either.

-Rob Pettinato


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