WITH the majority of the Avengers’ members finding their genesis in the more simplistic era of the early 1960s, some of their origins stories have dated over the course of time, even though the characters themselves have thrived into the modern era.

Stories characterised by alien monsters and the Communist threat were typical of the early Marvel age of comics, and such elements are still found in these modernised stories, albeit with a contemporary twist which pays reverence to the source material while adding a sense of realism and depth of character lacking in those earlier tales.

Surprisingly for a book which looks to have been released to tie in with the Avengers movie, the only character featured in the film who has a slot here is Thor, who appears on the cover and in the final story in this volume.

The rest of the cast are Ant-Man and the Wasp, The Vision, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, and Luke Cage, whose 1970s blaxploitation origin was no less in need of updating.

Hindsight is used sparingly to expand upon stories where appropriate, such as the retconned decision for mutant terrorist Magneto to be the father of Wanda and Pietro (the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver), but it never feels as though the creative teams are forcing the issue.

The stand-out stories are probably those featuring Cage and the insectoid duo of Ant-Man and the Wasp, with the former drawing on influences from TV shows like The Wire and the latter taking some incredibly far-fetched concepts and bringing them down to earth with a focus on characterisation and the science behind the superheroes.

The artwork varies between stories, but maintains a consistent quality which is occasionally let down by some lacklustre printing which bleaches out some of the colour from a handful of pages.

With so many other Avengers’ origins in dire need of updating – including the likes of Hawkeye, the Black Widow and the Black Knight – let’s hope this isn’t the only such volume focusing on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.