An opening chapter in which Voyager gathers a grouping of Avengers may seem familiar, and that’s because it’s roughly what happened when Al Ewing, Mark Waid and Jim introduced her in Avengers: No Surrender. There was a secret to Voyager, accounting for her knowledge and technology, but it’s presumed readers of No Road Home will know that, so read the earlier work first if you’d like the surprise. It’s flawed, though, and this is far more entertaining.

This time round Voyager has gathered the second string Avengers rather than the obscurities, and presumably just because he’s fun, Rocket Raccoon also. Hercules is the most affected by a tragedy Voyager has witnessed, which is the gods of Olympus murdered by Nyx, the long-exiled goddess of the night. It’s a far smaller selection of Avengers this time, and they don’t all muck along, serious issues between the Hulk and Hawkeye for starters, and divisions between them and the fears they have are cleverly exploited by Nyx and her allies. They’re good villains, powerful, motivated and a match for the Avengers, while the way Nyx’s story is told raises some sympathy, and the writers also mix in a worthwhile secondary threat, a devious character not normally associated with the Avengers.

Also raising this considerably above No Surrender is the art. Paco Medina was the star turn then, and he draws about half of No Road Home, utilising his cinematic page layouts and first rate action choreography (sample spread left). Sean Izaakse is responsible for a further four of the ten chapters (sample right), and it’s under his watch that the big shock arrives. It’s a complete change of scenery and Izaakse’s designs for the monsters that accompany it are great.

Anyone unaware that No Road Home is what permits the subsequent Savage Avengers has a real surprise on reaching the halfway stage, and even those who do know ought to find the surprise well handled. It’s the mixing of two different worlds that mesh surprisingly effectively given the selected Avengers. There are some startling action moments, and Ewing, Waid and Zub make amends for their previous collaboration. If there’s a quibble it’s that Voyager is the means of bringing assorted heroes together, but is otherwise relegated to the background. Never mind, though, as this is an Avengers slugfest to cherish. The characters are decently chosen and respond well against the threat they’re up against, and while their survival is never really in doubt, the writers throw in some great twists. The final chapter even echoes a classic Avengers finale, providing a nice nod to the past, but inflating it to incorporate Marvel’s mythology, requiring Medina to draw almost every Marvel hero.

No Road Home can be read with no reference to No Surrender. In fact, that’s probably advised.