- Posted by Johanna on January 6, 2014 at 7:23 pm
- Category: Superhero Reviews
- CREDITS: written by Kathryn Immonen; art by David LaFuente
- PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics; $4.99 US
I like Christmas stories. It’s nice to be reminded of the positive elements of the holiday, of good feelings and helping others. (Which is why superheroes are well-suited for Christmas.) It’s particularly nice when someone does a great job with the genre, capturing the high points of the season in a fresh way, creating a feeling of goodwill without descending to cliche’.
Kathryn Immonen succeeds in that way, telling a funny, suspenseful, action-packed Avengers story in this Annual. Shang-Chi is leading a student field trip through the team headquarters, where the kids get lessons from Tony Stark, Captain America, Dr. Banner, and the Black Widow, each in their own unique style. Their banter is sparkling, entertaining and creative. Then the team members set out to spend the holidays in their own individual ways.
Best of all is the new character Zamira. She’s got a unique power — the ability to make duplicates that mimic other people — and thankfully, she’s not white and blonde. She stays behind in the HQ, and since she’s nervous to be sneaking around, her power goes into overdrive. (“When I get anxious, the voices in my head come out!”) Combined with Tony’s idea to goof around with the verbal command system, the result is wonderful.
Art is by David LaFuente, who does a great job with both the quiet character moments and the bigger superhero elements. His teen-girl versions of the heroes are particularly fun.
The classic cast and no involvement of weird continuity elements makes this a timeless read, one I’ll be happy to revisit seasonally. It’s even got inspiring, heroic messages, such as Black Widow’s summation: “You think you’re the only one who ever had to figure out how to turn a liability into an asset? That’s the entire history of super heroing… Heroes fix their own problems.”