Avengers: Tech-On | Review
Writer: Jim Zub
Artist: Jeffrey “Chamba” Cruz
Marvel Entertainment; $17.99
Rated T for Teen
What if instead of a string of successful blockbuster movies, Marvel instead made a Japanese sentai show? Well, the results would probably be pretty similar to writer Jim Zub and artist Jeffrey Cruz’s Avengers: Tech-On, a sentai-inspired comic produced in partnership with Japan’s Bandai Namco.
Now if you’re wondering what a sentai show is, well, the easiest answer is probably “You know, like the Power Rangers.” It’s a genre of live-action Japanese television featuring a group of costumed superheroes. One need not be familiar with the genre to enjoy Avengers: Tech-On, of course.
Sometime in the recent past, The Avengers defeated Thanos and destroyed the Infinity stones that powered his Infinity Gauntlet, thus ending the threat of those reality-warping maguffins forever…or so it seemed.
The Red Skull, given a dramatic new redesign, has found a way to gather the residue of the stones—here called “Infinity Mirror Shards”, or IMS—to power himself up. Using this newfound power, he’s able to strip every superhero in the world of their super-powers.
Is this the end of the Avengers?
Of course not. Iron Man Tony Stark also gathers up IMS to power up his latest inventions, sleek robot power suits for each of his teammates that replicate their superpowers and, obviously, look pretty cool, in the process (These are designed by Eiichi Shimizu, while the new villain designs come courtesy of Kenji Anooh and Jun Goshima.)
The Avengers—Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Wolverine and Spider-Man—thus begin a campaign against the now Japan-based Red Skull and his various powered-up, monstrous versions of such familiar villains like Loki, Venom, Ultron and Scream.
There’s a somewhat repetitive, almost episodic feel to the action, perhaps appropriate given its TV genre inspiration, with the Avengers repeatedly finding themselves on the ropes until Tony pulls out a new power-up or secret plan. Zub still manages to weave an overall narrative throughout, however, and one that stays true to the characters while also allowing plenty of space to showcase the novel aspects of the premise. Whether you know the Avengers from the movies or from the comics, you’ll recognize them as themselves throughout this adventure, no matter what they might be wearing.
Cruz’s artwork is bright and glossy, with a slight haziness in the colors that’s suggestive of high-quality Japanese animation. It’s the designs that are the real stars of the show, though, and Cruz manages to show them off well while still managing a coherent visual narrative; unlike sentai television, the comic never devolves into a pose-off.
So what if Marvel made a sentai show? Well, if the results are anything like Avengers: Tech-On, it would probably be pretty cool.
Filed under: Reviews
About J. Caleb Mozzocco
J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.
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