Review by Frank Plowright
For starters, isn’t it nice to see a relatively simple cover to The Age of Khonshu rather than the repetitive and sometimes messy compositions on the front of almost every volume to date?
Most collections of Jason Aaron’s Avengers begin with a chapter set a million years in the past, which is where Tony Stark now finds himself, told he’s been summoned. Mephisto has been a continuing tempting presence during this run, usually behind the scenes, but he emerges into full prominence over the opening two chapters in the past and in the present. They feature very few Avengers as Aaron sets the stage for future plots, teasing effectively, and the longest actual Avengers scene, a pep talk for Blade, doesn’t play very convincingly. Blade has never come across a man with the slightest doubt about his purpose.
The title story features Moon Knight, for those who know the character pleasingly seen in all his assorted costumes. However, it’s divisive. You can either view it as Aaron unleashing the potential that Moon Knight always had to step up to a major player, or you can view it as a series of fudges requiring disclosure of recently conceived information about people and objects that have been around for decades. Either way, the world is reshaped under the vision of Moon Knight’s god Khonshu. He claims to be acting for the greater good, but the reality is dealing with one potential tyrant by replacing them with another.
Javier Garrón draws the entire main epic very nicely indeed, never stinting on detail, bringing the characters to life and delivering full-throttle action. No art problems here. Unusually, though, neither are there with five artists each drawing portions of the opening chapter, which is constructed to accommodate difference.
The complication of having to protect a baby acquired during Starbrand Reborn supplies comedy moments contrasting the overall desperation. A couple more fudges/continuity implants are required toward the end, but they’re minor with the real problem being the lack of closure, as Khonshu’s endgame is never clarified. Is he as nutty as Moon-Knight, so just went too far? It’s never explained, and as Khonshu seems to have played his part in the series it’s a flaw. However, overall, Khonshu’s done his bit in stimulating a thrilling Avengers epic. When there’s such a radical change to the superhero world, even temporarily, it’s usually in the form of a sprawling crossover, so it’s nice to see it confined to the single graphic novel, although look to JSA: Stealing Thunder for much the same.
An epilogue provides reminders of the threats the Avengers still have to deal with during a skim through the major battles they’ve won, and the hovering Phoenix entity provides the doorway into Enter the Phoenix.