Published on May 21st, 2012 | by Mike Harding0
SONIC BOOM!! ~ Avengers Assembled
So, as you may have seen on the site, this morning BOOM Studios released a particularly eye-catching advert for the Avengers using such lines as “The Original Avengers” and “The Original Hellfire Club”. Of course this was just another marketing ploy as the book they are advertising has nothing to do with Marvel’s Avengers movie or indeed the comics. This is an advert for Mark Waid’s upcoming Avengers book that is based on the hit TV series. Now currently BOOM are publishing another Avenger’s book entitled Steed & Mrs Peel by Grant Morrison, so I thought it prudent to review this as it will be sure to link into the upcoming title.
So who/what are the Avengers?? In 1961 ABC Studios in conjunction with ITV created a british spy series, the first series focused on a Dr David Keel, and his then assistant John Steed (played by Patrick Macnee). After the first series Keel was written out and Steed became the main focus, along with a series of female assistants.
Steed’s assistants included Venus Smith, Kathy Gale (played by a pre Bond Honor Blackman), Emma Peel (played by Mrs Bond, Diana Rigg), and finally Tara King. During Emma Peels tenure the series became more science fiction driven with the duo facing Robots and even alien plants. Peel also famously wore that catsuit that so many people love. Eventually when Tara King took over the programme only lasted for one series. During the final series Mother was introduced, the true power behind Steed and his lovely assistants.
This new Steed and Mrs Peel series picks up where the series finishes, the new series is six issues long, and as previously mentioned, is written by Grant Morrison, with Ian Gibson providing the artwork.
So far there have been five issue released, and so its time for a quick catch up. The story starts with Tara King meeting with an Admiral Fanshawe to discuss a mole in his organisation. Fanshawe ends up dead and Tara is missing, we cut to Steed being told to investigate both Tara’s disappearance and Fanshawe’s death, but to trust no-one. Steed breaks this rule and recruits his former assistant Emma Peel. The issue continues with Emma following up on leads found at Fanshawe’s house, only to have the person she wants to speak to get killed, but not before uttering the words “Rooks and Ravens”.
The second issue continues this theme with more deaths, and Steed realising that the killer has sent him a message in the form of a book. There is also a nice moment when the duo are trying to work everything out (bizarrely whilst having a picnic) during which the game of Crowns and Anchors is mentioned (the game is played with dice featuring a Crown, an anchor, a diamond, a heart, a club, and a spade) which leads them to work out the deaths. They then attend another funeral at which for some reason Mrs Peel decides it is appropriate to wear a catsuit to, where they encounter a man with a Spade (clever eh).
The third issue finds Steel coming face to face with the Palamedes group (who invent games, all of the victims have been part of this group) , things don’t go quite how he plans as Steed finds himself playing the game of his life mwhahahahaha. Meanwhile Mrs Peel sits around working out more clues before realising she has to save Steed.
The story finishes on a bizarre issue that involves a large game of Hangman with Tara King’s life in the balance, ultimately Steed and Mrs Peel win and everyone goes home (well except the dead villain). the current issue reunites Mrs Peel with her husband for a second honeymoon only to be captured by Incas, in a small english village, with only one issue left, I’m guessing Steed will turn up just in time.
There is one massive flaw with this book, and that’s the artwork, when your drawing well-known character from TV, try to make them look like the actors, or don’t. What Gibson does here is a mix of the two which doesn’t work, in addition to that there are moments that the book resembles the Beano or the Dandy. In addition to that, this book should have been black and white, I feel it would have worked better that way. Considering this is a re-issue from the 90′s when Morrison was working with Eclipse Comics, this isnt too bad, although the second story, actually takes place before the first story. In fact it takes place immediately after Peel’s departure at the end of series five, so its a bit confusing.
In summary, bring on Mark Waid.