The characters from the hit 1960’s TV show The Avengers are back as John Steed reunites with his partner Emma Peel after his newest partner, Tara King, is kidnapped by a shady organization. There are disguises, puzzles, mind control, and a whole lot of classic spy-fi elements to bring the characters from the small screen to the printed panel. All of it wrapped up in a story that only Grant Morrison himself could craft.
Morrison was an excellent choice for this book. If there’s anyone who is more in touch with British spy-fi culture on the planet than I challenge him to sit down at a table with Mr. Morrison and match wits. The dialogue, pacing, and plot all feel like an actual episode of The Avengers. Its charm and flare are very inviting for new readers, though the characterizations may not be. I admit that I had never seen The Avengers up until I read this book, realized it was a tie-in, and then sought out some footage. Steed and Mrs. Peel are already established characters in the TV show, so there’s no need from a writer’s standpoint to explain them. But new readers might feel a little in the dark as to who these characters are and what their motivations might be. That being the only glaring flaw that I found, it’s not a very big one. It’s meant to be fun spy-fi romp and it does exactly what it should.
The art by Ian Gibson feels so authentic to the time period that I honestly think I could be tricked into thinking it’s a reprint of an actual comic book from that era. All of the lines depict the same design qualities that pop artists of the time would use, and the coloring is spot on, including the pallet choice. The characters all resemble their TV counterparts with great precision, but still have a bit of Gibson’s originality in their tone and features. It’s great to see something adapted but still feel the influence of the creative team and their vision on the project.
The bottom line for this book is that it’s for a niche audience. If you’re a fan of The Avengers TV series or if you like the James Bond films than this is a great book for you and it’s a really tasteful tribute to the spy-fi genre. If you prefer your comic books in the modern style, or have that hyper-violent 90’s feel to them, then you might want to look elsewhere.