Writer: C.B. Bebulski
Art: João Lemos (Peter Pan), Nuno Plati (Created Equal), Takeshi Miyazawa (Alice in Wonderland), Ricardo Tercio (The Wizard of Oz and Off the Beaten Path), Kyle Baker (The Friendship of the Tortoise and the Eagle)
Colours: Christina Strain (Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland)
Letterer: Dave Lanphear (Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, off the Beaten Path), Artmonkeys (Pinocchio), Dave Sharpe (The Friendship of the Tortoise and the Eagle)
What's it about?
Much like Spider-Man Fairy Tales this book contains versions of Pinocchio, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and the Wizard of Oz using characters from the Marvel superteam, The Avengers. Also included is Off the Beaten path, a version of Red Riding Hood from the Spider-Man Fairy Tales collection, and The Friendship of the Tortoise and the Eagle from X-Men Fairy Tales.
In the Marvel universe, The Avengers are a superteam much like the X-Men or the Fantastic Four. Unlike the X-Men they are generally liked by the in universe inhabitants. They are not related to each other as the Fantastic Four are.
Some stories closely follow the original tales, some fiddle about with characters' motivation, agency and attitude. This leads to a book that is more about reinterpreting familiar stories, rather than giving a straight retelling. A brief explanation of the Avengers' stories are as follows:
Peter Pan - Wanda becomes Wendy and with her brother Pietro she gets whisked off to Neverland. Incidentally, Wanda and Pietro are the children off Magneto, but that is irrelevant to this story. Once there, Wanda comes into magic powers and meets the rest of the Lost Boys (fellow Avengers). Captain America takes the role of Peter Pan, and together they fight the evil Klaw, or Captain Hook as he's known to the rest of us.
Created Equal (Pinocchio) - Vision, a robot, becomes the little puppet boy, created by Hank Pym whilst grieving for his wife, Janet Pym. An evil schoolmaster tries to turn Vision against his father, but in the end, family prevails.
Alice In Wonderland - A teenaged girl named Cassie falls down the rabbit hole and discovers a wonderland where her body grows and shrinks according to her stress levels, there is a bizarre tea party with an angry green man, a frantic rabbit and a strange royal court. Cassie walks throughout the land searching for friendship, and in the end everyone learns a valuable lesson.
The Wizard of Oz - She-Hulk (exactly what she sounds like) finds herself in the Land of Oz and follows in Dorothy's footsteps, only to discover that Oz is not quite who he is supposed to be.
(This choice of picture isn't meant to insinuate Oz is a witch)
What's good about it?
The reinterpretation aspect gives a feeling of freshness to the book. As each story is worked around the personalities of the characters the book also serves as an introduction to members of The Avengers. I myself am not terribly familiar with this team, being more of a Spider-Man and X-Men fan, but nonetheless each story was quite captivating and charming, albeit in different ways.
The four Avengers tales are fun and carefree, with Pinocchio having the darkest centre, but even this has a happy ending. The Spider-Man story becomes about Mary-Jane (playing Red Riding Hood) as she considers the meaning of independence and relationships, whilst outwitting the wolf.
The Friendship of the Tortoise and the Eagle is an old African tale and is in a very different vein to the others. The art is chaotic (see the art section below) creating a forbidding and suspicious mood within the story. It explains Charles Xavier's and Magneto's relationship succinctly and clearly, and examines feeling of prejudice and hate alongside hope and trust. It is probably the most mature story in this book, but is still suitable for children, as all the stories are.
What's bad about it?
As for Spider-Man fairy tales, the varied art may annoy some people, especially if you aren't keen on a certain style. Speaking of which..
We come to the art..
In line with the themes of the stories and the positive message each gives, the art is on the whole sweet, bright and welcoming.
The art in Off the Beaten Path is more unconventional, (just like the story), you can see some examples on our review here. The X-Men's art is downright chaotic, violent and dirty. The smudged and irregular shapes induce a feeling of foreboding and panic within the reader - they seem to hint at some awful future event and leave you with an unsettled, gnawing feeling in your gut.
Regular readers of this blog may recognise some of the artists names: Takeshi Miyazawa and Christina Strain have both worked on the Runways book Rock Zombies. Christina Strain, Ricardo Tercio and Dave Lanphear all worked on the Spider-Man Fairy Tales book.
If you enjoyed this you might want to try Spider-Man Fairy Tales and X-Men Fairy Tales. Or use the labels below this post to find other books featuring the characters.