09th Mar2015

Book Review: ‘The Avengers Vault’

by Paul Metcalf

Written by Peter A. David | Published by Aurum Press | Format: Hardback, 176pp


It’s hard not to notice that a new Avengers film is on its way.  Avengers: Age of Ultron brings in more characters from the Marvel Universe, but if you’ve not read the comics you may find yourself wondering just where these characters originated from.  The Avengers Vault by Peter A. David may be the perfect way to find all you need to know about the heroes and villains making their way to the big screen.

The Avengers we see in the movies are based on some of the most popular characters from Marvel but there have been quite a few superheroes on the roster that we’ve yet to see, and yes that includes Spider-man who we now know is on his way (though he won’t make much of an impact on the next movie).  In The Avengers Vault Peter A. David introduces us to who the Avengers were originally, why they were created and how they relate to the movie versions, which do actually differ from the comics at times.  As an actual writer of Marvel comics (including twelve years on The Incredible Hulk) he is a fount of knowledge who knows the characters very well.  Even though he may not have written stories about all of the Avengers, he still has to know how they connect to the ones he focuses on.  In The Avengers Vault he writes about the characters in a way as to not lose the casual reader in the detail but still keeping to a level detailed enough for those who want to delve deeper.

It is noticeable when reading The Avengers Vault that there is plenty of extra reading to be done outside of what is in the book.  We are introduced to the characters and there are plenty of comics mentioned which allow us to go off to read.  As well as giving an introduction to who the Avengers are the book focuses on the four more famous of the group, that being Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and The Incredible Hulk.  I do admit that I’d have liked to have seen a section for Black Widow and Hawkeye at least, but they don’t go ignored.  Their histories are delved into in the sections where they made their impact in the stories of the main heroes.  I’m sure that some people will feel disappointed by this, but in truth it doesn’t detract from the fact that this is a very good book about the history of one of the greatest superhero teams put to paper and screen.

As well as a delving into the history of the characters each section also comes with posters and artwork samples for each characters.  These are fun to look at and add to the novelty of the book, giving it a deluxe feeling.  It’s nice to see that the time has been given to create little surprises like these, especially with the focus being on the older artwork for the characters.  This helps to emphasise that The Avengers Vault is not only about the group but about the history of Marvel and origins of the characters.  The Avengers is a group that has had a huge impact on the Marvel Universe, for good and bad reasons which are both examined in the book.  For those wondering about other groups that were formed, these are also briefly looked at though it should be noted this is a book that focuses on the history of the Avengers, not the history of every superhero the company has created so only groups that have connected to the actual Avengers make an appearance.

When looking at who The Avengers Vault by Peter A. David is aimed at I do think it is more for fans of the film who want to delve into the comics and the more casual reader.  More hardcore comic fans probably won’t read anything they don’t already know, but The Avengers Vault does work as a good reference for the main characters from the comic book series.  The books focus is on the characters that have been chosen as the main heroes, so fans of the comics may question why more of the group weren’t included, but maybe these are being saved for a second or even third volume of the book? Whether this is the case or not it is a fact that it is what is missing that will disappoint people and not the quality of the book that is on show.  The Avengers Vault by Peter A. David is a well written introduction to the Avengers that fans will love, but it will leave them wanting more, especially based on their own expectations.

****½  4.5/5

The Avengers Vault by Peter A. David is available in the UK now.

To order The Avengers Vault at the special offer price of £20 including UK P&P, telephone 01903 828503 or email mailorders@lbsltd.co.uk, quoting the offer code APG302 and the book ISBN 9781781313985.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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