Avengers of the Wastelands – Ed Brisson, Jonas Scharf & Neeraj Menon (Marvel)

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The Age of Heroes died fifty years ago. Beaten into dust by Doctor Doom, the Red Skull and their cabal of major league villains, America has become an almost feudal society in which each village and settlement has a hero to protect them. For five decades this hand to mouth existence has been the status quo. And then, Doom’s forces started to march again. Laying siege to towns and old allies, the former Lord of Latveria’s thirst for conquest has been renewed and with his greatest enemies nothing but fading memories, America’s transition to the United States of Doom seem inevitable. Or at least it would have been, if a rag-tag bunch of heroes, who having assumed the mantles and identities of their fallen ancestors hadn’t risen up to take the fight to Victor in his own arena. And that call to arms, is the path Avengers of the Wastelands rides down in glorious, unfettered four colour fashion.

A thoughtful analogy of the societal and cultural crises in which the Western world is mired, Avengers examines and explores the consequences of tyranny and autocratic rule for the common-man while wearing its political heart on its sleeve. Avengers of the Wastelands enforces the idea that freedom and equality are more than just words on a piece of paper. They are a fundamental part of who we are, and should always aspire to be and as such are worth fighting for and Ed Brisson, within the confines of the Avengers pages, gently espouses the ideology that when those who would willingly strip both from you for their own benefit use any means they can to trample you under foot, sometimes you have no choice but to play by their rules and get bloody and dirty to take back what is yours.

Beautifully illustrated by Jonas Scharf and given a sense of period by the sublimely washed out colours of Neeraj Menon, Avengers of the Wastelands is a futuristic spaghetti western in which an unlikely band of crusaders reclaim their world from the poisonous hubris of a selfish, narcissistic old man. It’s the Avengers book that so many of us need right now  and serves as a reminder that while there’s life and the will to do the right thing, there’s always hope and that we can, and must, write our own future… Tim Cundle

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