Continuing the Marvel Origins picture book series for kids (previously reviewed here and here), The Mighty Avengers: an origin story brings together these characters in a new book released to coincide with the release of The Avengers movie.
Our story opens by setting up the competition between Loki and Thor. Raised on Asgard (described as “a place called Asgard”) as princes, Thor is destined to be the next king. Loki becomes consumed by jealousy and keeps scheming to disgrace Thor so he will no longer be next in line. Knowing that Thor likes to live on Earth in disguise, Loki frames The Hulk so that Thor will fight him. But many superheroes come to help – Iron Man, Ant Man, The Wasp – and quickly realize that Loki is to blame. This is the first gathering of the group later to be known as the Avengers.
Well, as a fan of superheroes and of The Avengers movie, I am disappointed at the changes made in the plot. While it is great that Marvel is working with Disney to bring superheroes to a younger audience, I do wish they didn’t talk down to their audience. Simplifying is one thing, dumbing down is another. These characters already have known back-stories, making up a new one for kids was unnecessary.
Also, the characters introduced are not main characters and are not given any context. They are just introduced as existing without explaining anything about them. And since they are not popular characters, they are characters whose back story/origin story is not well known.
With all that I was disappointed with in these books, I will still recommend them. More picture books than actual graphic novels, this series none the less still conveys the dynamism of the marvel universe. There is still a hole in the literature available for children on superheroes. Enthusiastic parents wanting to share their love of superheroes with their children, and librarians and educators searching for age appropriate superhero materials for their students, will be thrilled to find something they can safely offer their littlest students.
Good for ages 4 and up. (some fighting but no injuries)
The Mighty Avengers: An Origin Story
by Rich Thomas
Art by Pat Olliffe
Marvel Press, 2012
Publisher Age Rating: Age 7 and up