A mysterious figure enters the planet Earth through a teleportation portal completely undetected. He then seeks a private audience with the most dangerous super villains on the planet. His goal is not only to completely annihilate the Avengers, but every superhero on Earth and he has put together the perfect plan. Who is this man, and will his plan actually work? -summary
For those out there who believe Marvel had been overkill with the massive crossovers to run through the titles during the early 2000's on to the present. Well, this actually began around 20 years earlier. The beginnings of these large company wide crossovers can be traced to Secret Wars II. In order to sell more books that crossover stretched through quite a few main characters titles. Apparently, Marvel enjoyed some success, and they decided to get even froggier with this money grabbing technique, by introducing an even larger crossover that may have stretched into every last one of their titles. This crossover is the Acts of Vengeance, in which this story follows a group of super villains that are coerced into pooling their resources to wipe out Earth's heroes. However, there's a twist to this, since certain villains had been defeated by their nemesis time and time again, they decide to do each other big favors and swap enemies, by pitting opponents against the heroes whom they fought maybe once or never before; for example, instead of sending Graviton after the Avengers, whom he has lost to and they know his powers. They send him after Spider-Man who doesn't know him at all creating a terrible mismatch. There are developing and previous storylines here that keep it from being just a huge versus book that proved to still be quite entertaining for me.
This book features more than 35 issues with writers such as Dwayne McDuffie, Mark Gruenwald, Ron Frenz, Tom DeFalco, Howard Mackie and others, along with various artist such as Al Milgrom, Collen Doran, Herb Trimpe, and just so many others. This book collects Avengers 311 - 313 and Annual 19, Avengers Spotlight 26 - 29, Avengers West Coast 53 - 55, Captain America 365 - 367, Iron Man 251 - 252, Quasar 5 - 7, Thor 411 - 413, Cloak and Dagger 9, Amazing Spider-Man 326 - 329, Web of Spider-Man 59 - 61, and Spectacular Spider-Man 158 - 160.
The plot follows the super villains assembly made up of Dr. Doom, Red Skull, Kingpin, Magneto, Wizard, and Mandarin, as they conduct various plots to kill their enemies by using lesser but very powerful villains. There's a sub plot going on between them whether all these egos can even function in the same room, plus some of them already hate each other enough to kill on the spot; such as Magneto harboring a serious hatred towards the Red Skull for being a World War II Nazi, and he being a holocaust survivor. Various times there's this feel they're going to self-destruct on each other, but the true mystery is who their benefactor is. Putting that aside though, the book has many fun moments with some very interesting match ups. Thor goes one on one with the Juggernaut only familiar with his reputation, and Iron Man takes on the Wrecker of the Wrecking Crew, just to name a few.
Despite the fact these attacks are primarily aimed against the Avengers, it's Spider-Man who shines the brightest with his storyline. This is the time period where Spider-Man gained cosmic powers, and he developed abilities such as flight, very powerful energy projection, highly increased strength and other powers. He's very disturbed about these abilities, because he believes that he now has complete control over life and death. These new powers play a great role in effecting his personal life; on the action side, the reader will get a nice taste on how powerful he becomes. This crossover is also especially memorable for storylines that would play a major role years down the road, and even the debut of the newest superhero team being the New Warriors. Even though their first appearance as a team never impressed me, they would go on to play major roles in the Marvel U.
Since I read these stories in original form, and I mean every last one of them. While they go on to make characters like Quasar who feels like Marvel's Green Lantern very interesting and cool, it's the choice of stories that actually works against this book. Now the Acts of Vengeance Omnibus is broken up into two different books, with this being the main storyline, and the other book titled as the crossovers. The problem here, is that this book tells the stories somewhat out of order, since it contains the actual ending and the aftermath, which results in one big fat spoiler on who the main culprit is and how he's defeated. I think the book should have been broken up into two volumes, with the final stories capping everything off in volume two as well as a really good mix-up between the books. Personally, I think the crossover book is worthless to someone who wants immediate closure and to save money. Unless you're a hardcore Marvel fan, you may not even care for the next book. Marvel's editors really should have been watched with a closer eye on this project.
Now the artwork, it's a revolving door of artist and it would take forever to give every book its due. So I'll keep this part short and mention that on many, many occasions the action is fun and imaginative. The comic geek looking for that versus plot will love this. Thor vs. Juggernaut, Cosmic Spider-Man vs. Goliath and later the Hulk, Captain America vs. Controller, Avengers vs. U-Foes, and many others that will keep hardcore readers entertained and trying to finish the book.
Now the quality of the book itself actually amazes me. It's over 700 pages, kind of heavy if you try to hold and read it as opposed to sitting it down on a table, but when you sit it down flat there's very little to no gutter loss. Unfortunately, although the remastering coloring can be very pretty. On very rare occasions some of the words aren't properly or completely written. I found myself having to re-read passages because I thought a G was a probably a B or something, or some times just some of the word was missing. You can still make out what is being said so this is a minor gripe. The binding feels pretty strong, but I still recommend treating the book with care.
In closing, it was nice to re-read these stories again despite the book feeling a little dated. I recommend this mainly to hardcore comic readers and only to newbies who have developed some type of interest in the genre. I cannot recommend a casual fan shelling out this type of cash for a comic book. Their interest may not be as high in this stuff like myself or others like me. I advise those folks to run through several dozen more stories of many different characters to develop their interest.
-Great batch of stories, quality of book is good
-Quality could have been better, mainly for hardcore fans
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