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This review is from: Avengers vs. Thanos (Paperback)
This is a fun book, collecting all of Thanos' original run of stories (pre-resurrection), mostly written by his original creator, Jim Stalin. Be warned, however, that they are very, very old, and it shows. This was written during a time when the target audience for comics were children, who wouldn't have had the disposable income to purchase every consecutive issue of their favourite series, or every tie-in issue of this early example of a Marvel "crossover" event. Likewise, this was way before the advent of recap pages and TPB collections of complete story arcs. As such, in-story recaps abound, with characters going out of their way to explain the same things over and over again in every single issue. The dialogue too, while awesome in a purely nostalgic/retro kind of way, is extremely overblown and melodramatic. The fact that stories weren't written to eventually be collected, as comic book story arcs almost always are now, also means that this is a very disjointed read, where plot threads from one title are never resolved, and another series begins in the middle of a story that seems totally unrelated. These may seem like minor quibbles to some, especially those who are used to the style of old comics, but many people will be drawn to this book from seeing the post-credits sequence of `Avengers Assemble', or in the run-up to the next Avengers movie, and those people may not quite be prepared for what this book actually is. Be warned!
That said, if you can get through the often tedious dialogue, and abundance of repetition, you'll find that this is good dumb fun, with some absolutely stunning, weird and sometimes almost psychedelic artwork from the likes of comics legend, Jim Stalin. The story is also surprisingly deep and philosophical for such an old comic (relatively so, at least), which was basically, in those days, disposable children's reading. My only other problem (and this one really is a "minor quibble") is that this isn't really an Avengers book, despite the title. The main protagonist is mostly Captain Marvel, followed by Adam Warlock, and neither of these two were ever official Avengers. The Avengers themselves only star in one or two issues. The title, `The Avengers vs. Thanos', was blatantly used to lure fans of the movie.
In the end, I was conflicted as to whether I should rate this book a three or a four. As an item of curious retro nostalgia, it's pretty awesome, and excellent value for money as it contains high quality reprints of many rare and important (in the Marvel continuity) comics. The incredible art in itself is almost enough to make me want to give it a four. But, considering that this book was basically put together to lure fans of the movies to the comics, I have to be pragmatic and stand it up to today's standards. And, on that note, I yawned a lot, I struggled to get through many pages, and the age is crystal clear for anyone to see, so I have to give it a three. But it's still great fun.