Short Box: Avengers: War Across Time


Avengers: War Across Time

Release: Aug 09, 2023

Cover: Oct 2023


WriterPaul Levitz
ArtistAlan Davis
Cover ArtistAlan Davis
Cover ColoristMatt Hollingsworth
ColoristRachelle Rosenberg
LettererCory Petit
EditorAnnalise Bissa, Tom Brevoort
Editor in ChiefC.B. Cebulski

I did a double-take when I learned that Paul Levitz was writing a comic for Marvel, given how inextricably linked he is to their Distinguished Competition after spending more than 35 years there as a Writer, Editor, and ultimately President and Publisher.

And if that weren’t intriguing enough, I saw that Alan Davis, one of my all-time favorites, would be handling the art chores. It was a no-brainer that I would be picking it up when it hit the stands.

The problem is that even though I apparently have no brain I still promptly forgot about it until a few issues in, at which point I decided to just wait for the trade, which I then immediately forgot about as well.

But I did eventually remember it and acquire it, and, as is relevant to this post, I read it.

I’ve seen it described as a love letter to Avengers history, but it’s more than that; it reads like something straight out of the era in which it’s set.

After all, this story set early in the history of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes doesn’t involve the sliding timescale and very much takes place in the swinging sixties.

And with a few exceptions – such as the benefit of hindsight that’s used, among other things, to give the Avengers a glimpse into their future – it’s almost as if the comic itself existed in that era. Obviously, the art from Davis is a bit more modern, making some of the setting look retro rather than authentic, but that only adds to the charm. Similarly, Levitz doesn’t really try to mimic the style of Stan Lee’s dialogue, but he does capture some of the essence.

The real authenticity is in the story beats and the way the narrative unfolds. We see Jan flirting with everyone, Hank getting mad about it – which is part of the reason Jan does it – Iron Man keeping up the pretense of being Tony Stark’s bodyguard, Cap still coming to terms with the modern world, and Thor having to ensure that Mjolnir is never out of his grasp for too long. (My one quibble – in the times when it is out of his grasp for too long and he turns into Donald Blake, Mjolnir doesn’t turn back into a walking stick.)

What really adds to the authenticity, though, is that despite being the villain of the story, Kang doesn’t square off against the team until the story is almost over, with each issue that leads up to the confrontation building up the hype – and the desire to plunk down your hard-earned allowance money to pick up the next issue – and making you think, “Surely, they’ll fight Kang in the next issue.”

Nope. Not until the end. And don’t call Paul Levitz Shirley.

Anyway, the key point is that it’s a fun little story from Peerless Paul Levitz, ably assisted by the Amazing Alan Davis, that never veers into parody (despite how easily it could) and has the extra novelty of being a Marvel comic written by Mr. DC himself.

Born and raised in the sparsely populated Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Jon Maki developed an enduring love for comics at an early age.

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