"Avengers Halloween Special #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Marvel Comics
Written by Rob Fee, Gerry Duggan, Jen and Sylvia Soska, Jay Baruchel, and Robbie Thompson
Illustrated by Eoin Marron, Laura Brag, Jonas Scharf, Luca Pizzari, and Bob Quinn
Colored by Mike Spicer, Arif Prianto, Jordan Boyd, Micahel Garland, and Cris Peter
Lettered by Travis Lanham
2018, 33 Pages, $4.99
Comic released on October 31st, 2018
Horror invades the Marvel Universe in the Avengers Halloween Special anthology. Five stories are collected here, providing a spooky spin on characters from Daredevil to Doctor Doom. These are very much alternate takes on popular heroes and villains, looking at what horrors could be unleashed in this world.
Every story in this collection has a solid hook. That cannot be denied. They take an existing Marvel character and put them in a scary situation or time period. For example, “The Eyes Have It” follows Matt Murdock after he gets an eye transplant, curing his blindness once and for all, only for him to see horrific visions that end in real life bloodshed. “Punisher of the Opera” reimagines Frank Castle as the Phantom of the Opera.
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While the premises are so very satisfying, they fall short on the execution. They all stop just when they're getting going, leaving unresolved conflicts and great evils free in the world. Every time I saw the words “The End” pop up on the page, I became a little more frustrated, as I wanted to see these stories explored further. Granted, that's tough to do in an anthology of shorts, but there are ways to reach a conclusion that doesn't serve as a cliffhanger.
The most promising – and horrifying – tale in the Avengers Halloween Special is “The Thing from Another Time,” written by Jen and Sylvia Soska (American Mary), illustrated by Jonas Scharf, and colored by Jordan Boyd. It has Tony Stark finding one of his father's projects frozen in the ice in the form of the super soldier, Captain America. He quickly learns that he should have left this alone, as Cap is a Lovecraftian monster who feeds on human flesh.
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This twisting of a pop culture icon made up of truth, justice, and the American Way is so very creepy. Cap has this unsettling look in his eyes as he tears apart his adversaries without a lick of emotion. To give you an idea of what this looks like, there's a scene where Cap's stomach has opened up and various tentacles have burst forth to consume his opponent. The next panel shows the face of the person he just ate, sticking out like some morbid post card of meals past.
I'm all for horror in super hero comics and the Avengers Halloween Special is a good first step in getting into the spookier side of the Marvel Universe. I would love to see these stories expanded upon, as each one is presented with so many possibilities. As mentioned above, they stop just when they're really getting started, so the comic leaves something to be desired. Hopefully that means we can get a sequel to this next year with some follow-ups or maybe even a spinoff one-shot or mini-series. Fingers crossed.