Spinning out of Jonathan Hickman’s epic Avengers/New Avengers run was Avengers World, a title focusing on the heroes of the “Avengers Machine” in (relatively) smaller missions than the multiversal events in Hickman’s main sister titles. Avengers World: The Complete Collection lives up to its title, printing all 21 issues of Avengers World as well as Avengers #34.1 and #34.2 in a single volume.
The volume opens with the expanded Avengers roster in full swing, and Nick Spencer (joined by Jonathan Hickman in the first five issues) deftly juggles multiple storylines as different groups of heroes investigate various happenings. While Hickman’s Avengers built up the idea of the “Avengers Machine,” it’s here in this volume that readers really get to see how it works as the heroes split into task forces that are capable of handling threats around the world simultaneously.
Nick Spencer doesn’t stop there, however, introducing readers to new international teams of heroes such as China’s The Ascendant. Spencer and his art teams of Stefano Caselli and Marco Checchetto balance all these characters through dynamic staging and characterization through dialogue.
Caselli and Checchetto are joined by colorists Frank Martin and Andres Mossa, resulting in a visually stunning read throughout. Mossa’s saturated color palette works beautifully with the line art of both Caselli and Checchetto, giving the book a lively atmosphere with lush imagery that is sure to grab readers on every page.
Also included in this volume are Avengers #34.1 and #34.2. These two issues, which tell standalone stories focusing on different heroes provide nice breaks between the different arcs of the Avengers World issues. This is a smart integration into the volume, with neither issue feeling intrusive on the overall story. The first of these issues, written by Al Ewing with pencils by Dale Keown, inks by Norman Lee, and colors by Jason Keith is a fantastic one-shot focused on Hyperion. Ewing makes full use of Hyperion’s powerset and fractured history to tell a compelling story about heroism and responsibility. The second issue centers on Star-Brand, and while it doesn’t leave as much an impact, writer Sam Humphries and artist Bengal nicely capture the odd day-to-day of a teenager who is also a planetary defense system.
The collection begins to fall a bit flat towards the end with the “Before Time Runs Out” arc. This arc is well crafted, following parallel storylines with Sunspot and Namor as the multiverse continues to collapse. Frank Barbiere pens this arc, and it’s cool to see his swaggering Sunspot execute a corporate takeover of sorts, but without the context of the larger story, it’s hard to really understand the stakes of what’s occurring here. If Avengers World was ever a supplemental title to Hickman’s Avengers and New Avengers, it’s here. For readers who know that story, this will still work, but others may want to seek out those handy Omnibuses referenced on the inside front and back covers.
Is It Good?
Avengers World: The Complete Collection is an entertaining, but uneven volume. While the opening chapters provide strong character moments and scintillating action sequences, the plot spirals a bit. The final issues by Frank Barbiere and Nick Spencer provide emotional resonance to the “Time Runs Out” storyline, but without the context of that larger epic, readers may be a bit lost. Still, what is here is a lot of fun, and gorgeous to boot.