The Avengers team that is assembled seems random and mismatched. A disillusioned Captain America, a misogynist Yellowjacket, a shirtless Hawkeye, future versions of Captain Marvel and Songbird, a gentle Giant-Man, and a kickass Wasp. And this team is tasked with protecting Rick Jones, the most boring character in all of Marvel Comics but who inexplicably has a major role to play in every Marvel event from the 60 through the 90s and up to today. Of all the confusing things in this comic, this might be the most confusing thing of all. Together with the help of Libra – a former villain who wears monk’s robes and VR goggles and has powers of prognostication akin to shaking a magic 8-ball – they must navigate various periods of history and piece together the mystery of what the Kings want with Rick Jones, what power could he be concealing, and what terrible future could be waiting if nothing is done.
Along the way we encounter cowboys, dinosaurs, space phantoms, the war of the worlds, Richard Nixon, aliens, and gods, and every Avenger that ever existed or possibly could exist in all realities.
Avengers Forever is a complicated story. It is confusing, sometimes perplexing, and relies on having at least a passing knowledge of Marvel’s history – but it is also a fun romp. Busiek does an outstanding job explaining that convoluted and often contradictory history while moving the plot forward and telling an entertaining story, and adding a few twists of his own. And Pacheco makes every panel dynamic and interesting with splash pages that will take your breath away. This is a dense story with lots of lore and Easter eggs and you’re probably not going to understand everything that’s going on. But just strap in and let yourself take the ride and you will not be disappointed. And you still might be asking, “What the hell is going on?” But when the ride is this much fun, it might not matter.