What If Syndrome.

Remember back in April, when I did a post on What If…?

And remember how I mentioned that later stories had a tendency to devolve into a game of “let’s kill everyone we can, in really mean ways”? This is one of those stories…

The Last Avengers Story. The name implies death, certainly, but it implies awesome, heroic death. One expects Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man all going down in blazes of glory. But alas, The Last Avengers Story is not a legendary tale of Marvel’s premiere superheroes last stand. It’s a “let’s kill everyone we can in really mean ways” story. It suffers from What If Syndrome.

Thor, Iron Man, Captain America? They’re not your main characters. Hell, they’re not really even in the book; the deaths of Cap and Thor are mentioned in passing, and Iron Man just makes a token appearance at Cap’s funeral. Even the second string Avengers get screwed royally in this. Tigra? The Hulk turns evil and rips her in half. Quicksilver accidentally runs over the Scarlet Witch at super speed, and runs off a cliff in despair. Wonder Man gets ripped open by the Hulk and blows them both up, with the resulting explosion blinding Hawkeye. And all that is FLASHBACKS. Who actually assembles to fight our uber villain combo of Grim Reaper, Kang, and an army of Ultrons in the main plot? A fat Hank Pym, a Wasp who’s losing an inch of height a year, The Human Torch (you know, the Fantastic Four guy), Cannonball (you know, the New Mutants guy), and a bunch of next generation schmucks (all the villains were rounded up and killed by the government, so all the young superheroes are bored d-bags). Yeah. To say it’s a massacre is putting it lightly.

Worth a read, mainly because the Ariel Olivetti art is incredible, but man did I expect better from Peter David. It’s not that it’s poorly written, it’s just that it’s so much more like the usual What If it was the end of the Marvel Universe story; the characters you expect to read about in an Avengers story don’t even show up, and instead of finding out what happened to them, we get peeks at what happened to people like Reed Richards, Doctor Doom, and Spider Man instead. And even then, they’re all miserable. In large part it reads like Kingdom Come without the epic scope.

Frickin’ What If Syndrome. It affects even the best.

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