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KID FRIENDLY: The Avengers

Written by: Kevin Hunter, Special to CC2K

Marvel Comics “The Avengers” is expected to be one of the biggest movies of the year and may be the one to finally take down those incredibly brutal snotty-nose brats in “The Hunger Games” when it’s released next month. “The Avengers” comics have been flying off shelves in various titles since 1963. In 2010 the television show “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” made its debut and has been a big hit giving the 12 and under crowd a friendlier version of the famed superhero group.

Now comes a kid-friendly version of the comic book in “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” #1 by Christopher Yost. This new Marvel title features the same lineup from the TV series that includes, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, The Wasp, Black Panther, Ant-Man and Hawkeye. Issue number one comes through with three very good short stories that cater to all of us with short attention spans.

The first story titled “Enter The Mandarin” opens with a fire-breathing dragon attacking Stark Tower in New York City in what Iron Man, a.k.a Tony Stark would call a typical day. Turns out that the serpent was sent by none other than an old foe of Iron Man’s – The Mandarin (hence the title). The Avengers manage to slay the dragon by releasing it from The Mandarin’s mind control mojo and once again bringing order to New York City, and saving Stark and Stark Tower a bunch of money in higher insurance rates.

In “The Fury Files Subject: Iron Fist,” Nick Fury, head of S.H.I.E.L.D. opens the dossier on Danny Rand, a.k.a. Iron Fist. It gives a Reader’s Digest version on the origins of one of Fury’s many operatives and Avengers from around the world and the galaxy who want nothing more to do than to take orders and do Fury’s will.

And finally, in “Assembly Line,” Maria Hill takes over as Acting Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.  She examines The Avengers in action over the past few years to determine its potential and how much of a threat The Avengers could be to mankind. Hill determines that the team is indeed a group made up of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and as good as they are, she will make sure that whatever they do to save the world they will do so under S.H.I.E.L.D.’s control whether it be her or Fury in control.

“The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” #1 has some great snappy dialog, great action and great artwork by Christopher Jones and Victor Olazaba that’s just like the TV series. And for a book that’s geared to all ages, it’s not as campy and childlike as you might think. Oh sure, The Hunk smashes, Captain American barks out orders, Thor uses his hammer to get what he wants, and Iron Man delivers clever quips and puns, but that’s just part of the character of any team of superheroes whose egos are as big as the worlds they protect.

Bottom line is that if  you think the upcoming “The Avengers” movie and regular monthly comics may be a bit much for your little ones, then treat them to this new version of The Avengers in “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” #1 as well as the TV series as an introduction until they’re ready for the more mature titles and maybe the live action movie.