The Avengers: History’s Mightiest Heroes

The Avengers: History’s Mightiest Heroes
Avengers History's Mightiest Heroes review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Marvel - 978-1-3029-2885-8
  • Volume No.: 11
  • Release date: 2023
  • UPC: 9781302928858
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes
  • CATEGORIES: Superhero

Almost every volume of Jason Aaron’s Avengers has opened with a chapter set in the past. It’s usually been millions of years in the past, but this time it’s World War II, with the era’s Sorcerer Supreme beset by a demon. Regular readers won’t be surprised at who that is, but they and everyone else will experience the joys of a supernatural intrusion into a period action sequence, and as drawn by Javier Garrón, it’s spectacular.

Garrón draws half the book, so there’s also the joy of seeing his jaw-dropping versions of Avengers in samurai-era Japan and the American Wild West. It’s because, although continuing from The Death Hunters, History’s Mightiest Heroes involves the Avengers protecting the heroes of earlier eras from demonic threats. Those earlier heroes are newly created by Aaron, and all are interesting, allowing for their being modifications of existing heroes, and Aaron throws in a lot of these creative alternatives in passing. Anyone with long memories of Avengers stories will recall they’ve intervened in the Wild West before, but to cite that as a negative would be the equivalent of pointing out they’ve fought Kang or Ultron before. Aaron’s version is different for mixing history and horror.

Aaron’s story is interrupted by a tie-in to 2022’s A.X.E.: Judgement Day crossover, which otherwise receives short shrift in The Avengers due to ongoing concerns. With the main team travelling in time, Mark Russell and Greg Land look in on Hawkeye being given 24 hours to justify his existence. It’s clever, it’s fun, and there’s no exploitative art from Land, so while not what expected here, it makes for a pleasing interlude.

When we return to the main story it’s Starbrand’s time in the spotlight, and despite Aaron pointing the way a little too obviously via the narrative captions, it’s quite the revealing character study. Although there’s a lot going on in passing, Starbrand remains the focus, and there’s more impressive art to accompany her thoughts, with Ivan Fiorelli coming on board for the final two chapters.

The last here returns to pre-history and a pontification on humanity offering assorted pessimistic views. There’s a reason Aaron’s been featuring what for want of a better term could be the Prehistoric Avengers, and that eventually clarified on the final page, which is where History’s Mightiest Heroes ends to make way for the completion of Aaron’s run in Avengers Assemble.

This has been a thrilling ride. You want wonder and battles against the odds that no single hero could cope with, and with the Hawkeye chapter an exception, that’s the very definition of this selection. And it’s just an appetiser!