Avengers: Endless Wartime, the new original graphic novel written by Warren Ellis with art by Mike McKone, is, for all intents and purposes, an effective sequel or side tale about The Avengers from the Joss Whedon movie. It is a sequel to The Avengers that, unlike Marvel Studios, has no rights issues or special effects budget constraints to deal with, and therefore can include fan favorite characters, like Wolverine and Captain Marvel, that the movies can’t. And it is a sequel that is printed on really shitty paper.
Seriously: I got my copy shrinkwrapped and therefore never opened before I got it back to the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office, and the pages in the front and back third of the book were wrinkled to hell and back. And on top of that, a couple of panels had printing errors that smudged the shit out of the lettering. It’s not the worst thing in the world – it doesn’t make the book unreadable or anything, and I lost all my resale value, defects or not, the minute I stripped the shrink wrap to read the thing – but when you’re dropping $25 clams on a piece of shelf porn, you expect the thing to be printed at least as well as it would have been had it been broken into a six-issue miniseries. Your mileage may vary, and God knows you won’t spend the full $25 if you buy the thing off of Amazon or something, but I bought it at my local comic store, where they know me by name and ask me to stop threatening to demand $25 if they don’t let me strip off my shrink wrap for a close inspection.
But let’s forget about the printing issues and go back to the story, which takes place pretty much outside of current Avengers continuity, includes all the players from the Avengers movie – and they are far more recognizable as the characters from the movies than they are most modern versions of the characters in the comics – and has the global scale of a major motion picture. And while it feels like there are a couple of stories jammed together that make things a little confusing now and again, it’s packed with familiar character notes, catchphrases, and Warren Ellis dialogue. Dialogue that would jeopardize a PG-13 rating if it actually was a movie.