Review by Frank Plowright
There’s quite the infusion of horror into the Avengers from Jason Aaron, exemplified by the idea of the brightest superheroes on the planet taking on vampires, but also over the more human experience of the opening chapter. It’s another visit to a million years into the past, this time to reveal the Iron Fist of the era. As was the chapter opener for World Tour, it’s fantasy, not superheroics, and it’s a worthwhile example, nicely drawn by Andrea Sorrentino moving away from his exceptionally detailed style to something simpler. Does fantasy belong in the Avengers? Does the supernatural?
Too bad if you’re of the opinion the supernatural doesn’t. For centuries Dracula and his followers have ruled the vampire world, but there’s been a successful revolution, and the former elite are on the defensive and their desperate flight has resulted in an explosion of major incidents around the world. Dracula’s absent for the first couple of chapters, but when he does turn up he’s beautifully characterised by Aaron, arrogant, manipulative, and appearances to the contrary, surely still very dangerous.
After a couple of volumes of channelling the comedy Thor from the movies, Aaron restores the personality of the Thor he wrote so successfully for several years, someone with presence and power. Even modified vampires wouldn’t be able to hold off the Avengers and their technology for too long, so an extra level of threat is needed and duly provided. Along with that, what’s going on with the restoration of the Winter Guard in Russia is no passing fancy, and their mysterious new leader is revealed as utterly without mercy.
On World Tour David Marquez employed a neat, detailed style suitable to the flashy superheroics it supplied, but here the art is more a kinetic action style, looser like snapshots caught in a flashlight with colour supplying the backgrounds. For the type of story War of the Vampires is, it’s equally effective.
As he has done from the beginning, Aaron switches between assorted characters narrating via the captions, and in addition to characterising people, villains included, it’s intended to drop a few hints about what’s to come. Overall, it makes for a very satisfying Avengers outing if allowing for one character in particular seemingly not the person one might expect them to be beneath everything. That, though, leads to a fine final few pages offering a different perspective, which is starting to become a trademark for Aaron’s Avengers. War of the Realms is next.