Avengers: World Tour – Jason Aaron, Sara Pichelli, David Marquez, Ed McGuinness, Frazer Irving, Adam Kubert & Andrea Sorrentino (Marvel)

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The trouble with saving the world is, it never stays saved. It’s an ongoing, largely thankless, Sisyphean endeavour that’ll either break your heart, your body or your soul, or in most cases all three. Which is why the Avengers go through so many members as, in an ironically reminiscent of Hydra sort of way, when one falls, two spring up to take their place. Thankfully, during their seemingly unwinnable war against the Dark Celestials in which the fate of the world was ultimately decided by the Spirit of Vengeance, Ghost Rider, and the origin of all life on Earth was finally revealed, none of the Avengers newest recruits perished and so in World Tour Earth’s Mightiest Heroes stumble into another day and another crisis that could, potentially, end civilisation as they know it.

This time around, the threat is far closer to home as having decided to become a neutral power and global citizens as far as world politics are concerned, the Avengers not only have to face to the wrath of Namor and an Atlantis ravaged by the Dark Celestials affair, they also have to contend with the formation of both American and Russian super-teams whose sole purpose is to defend and guard their national interests before all others.  Having elected Black Panther as their new chairman and set up a multi-national network of agents, the Avengers become the de facto defenders of Earth, a role that in future will no doubt see them not only protecting the planet from all manner of galactic threats, but also from itself and those deluded and deranged souls who would seek to subvert and threaten it from within.

While the idea of the fate of billions being held in the grip of a select few, in this case the Avengers, is slightly terrifying, Aaron uses it and the secret networks, intelligence gathering and the skirmishes between superhero teams that are intrinsic to the plot as a way of highlighting, and illustrating, how geo-political arguments and differences in opinion between superpowers are usually resolved. Through proxy conflict and an ever escalating game of international one-upmanship. Effortlessly intertwining the incredibly personal stories of the latest heroes to join the ranks of the Avengers with the grandiose and nigh on impossible to defeat dangers they willingly face in a tale which mirrors the gradual erosion of trust between nation states that the real world is slowly being consumed by, World Tour also begins to explore the fragmented, and surprisingly ancient, history of the Avengers and the Ghost Rider and teases a particularly vicious heel turn by a much beloved character. It’s a lot to take in and even more to pack in to a single volume but Jason Aaron and his staggeringly huge team of artistic comrades in arms, who push World Tour into previously undreamt of realms of jaw dropping detail, defy the odds and manage to deliver a story that changes everything about, and for, The Avengers. The future starts here… Tim Cundle

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