The classic Avengers battle Hulk on the streets of New York as Kang the Conqueror sets his plans in motion in Avengers: War Across Time #1.
The Avengers: War Across Time #1
- Paul Levitz
- Alan Davis
- VC’s Cory Petit
- Cover Artist:
- Alan Davis, Matt Hollingsworth
- Release Date:
- Rachelle Rosenberg
The classic Avengers roster — consisting of Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Hank Pym, and Janet van Dyne — returns to the pages of Marvel Comics. In a story set just after the events of Avengers #11, first published October 8th, 1964, the Avengers find themselves battling a rampaging Hulk. The heroes just defeated a robotic Spider-Man sent by Kang the Conqueror, and they assume this unhinged Hulk is another of the villain’s machinations. Written by Paul Levitz with art by Alan Davis, colors by Rachelle Rosenberg, and letters by Cory Petit, Avengers: War Across Time #1 is a wonderfully crafted love letter to classic Avengers comics.
This issue is fairly straightforward. Returning to New York after a battle with the robotic Spider-Man, the Avengers barely have time to relax before Kang sends the Hulk after them. The first portion of the story introduces the members of the team and their typical interactions with each other. As soon as Hulk attacks, the issue kicks into high gear with non-stop action. Each character gets a handful of moments to shine, and readers get a strong sense of how the team works together.
Levitz does a spectacular job of capturing the essence of each character from this time period. It’s likely many readers won’t have read the classic Avengers stories before reading this. The similarities and differences in each character compared to their present-day counterparts are immediately clear. Hank and Janet are particular standouts. Their romantic chemistry practically heats up the pages. The banter between the heroes in combat with Hulk is entertaining, often comedic, and consistently informative to both characters and the story.
Davis’ art is a marvel from cover to cover. The heroes are depicted in their original costumes and rendered in incredible detail. Locations are given just as much care as pedal-to-the-metal action tears through the streets of New York. The Avengers feel like they’re running a tag team gauntlet as they take on the Hulk. There’s a tremendous sense of movement across the pages, and every beat leads clearly into the next. The art is expressive and emotive. Davis’ work feels like a brilliant representation of the classic Avengers stories.
Rosenberg’s colors bring the characters of this era to life. Costumes are saturated with smooth, vibrant hues. The lighting throughout is dynamic, matching the action in any given scene. Explosions are particularly stunning, leading to gradients of multicolored energy. Petit’s lettering is era-appropriate, with simple speech bubbles and narration boxes that blend into the art well. Sound effects add an extra layer of noise to the atmosphere, further immersing readers in the experience.
This issue plants itself firmly in the Avengers’ past and exemplifies the campy fun that comes with it. This team dynamic is something a lot of readers won’t be familiar with, and it feels refreshing and classic all at once. The inclusion of Kang opens up the door to endless possibilities, but this issue keeps things simple and to the point to start. The Avengers taking down the Hulk is a classic trope, and it’s just as entertaining as ever. With Avengers: War Across Time #1, Levitz and the rest of the creative team deliver an excellent homage to classic Avengers stories.