Review by Frank Plowright
This ties in with Chaos War, in which the Chaos King wants to the return the universe to the state it was before infested by life. As part of this he’s invaded the worlds of the dead and released them on Earth. In practical terms it means that the several Avengers who’ve died are back.
As with Hulk: Chaos War, the Avengers portion of this collection benefits from having a co-writer of the parent series on board, in this case Fred Van Lente, but his efforts appear to have been concentrated elsewhere. He supplies a very ordinary story of the revived Avengers first puzzling where they are, fighting some other, less civic-minded returnees from the dead, before some dead Avengers foes show up as well. Tom Grummett’s art is fine, but the most interesting elements are the cast members reflecting on their pasts. There’s uncertainty about the ending as well. Have some characters been permanently returned or not?
The Thor section is written by J.M. DeMatteis and takes a long time to say very little. In the midst of battling the Chaos King, Thor is dumped back on Earth in his civilian identity as Donald Blake, but lacking his memory. Luckily he’s deposited near a woman looking for answers, as most folk are in a DeMatteis story, who brings him inside. There’s much soul-searching, a villain arrives, and there’s an inevitability the answer will be Blake recovering his memory and Thor’s power. Considering this is a script heavy on narrative tedium Brian Ching’s art is far better than might be expected.
By far and away the most interesting chapter concerns Ares, God of War. Michael Avon Oeming’s script begins with Ares bemoaning how he was killed by a mortal as his Uncle Pluto, God of the Underworld, relishes the chance to bring him to heel. There’s an encounter with Nightmare, in what’s a deliberately nasty story well drawn by artists only credited as Segovia and Rodriguez. Ares plays an active part in the parent series after this tale.