This is the latest of a series of Marvel "Poster Books". With the proliferation of variant covers these days, and the relentless hype that shuffles from title to character and back again, it's not too hard for Marvel to turn their gaze on whatever of their properties is currently "anointed" and assemble a collection of 36 "poster-ready" images.
In this case, The 2010 New/Secret/Ajectiveless Avengers gets the treatment.
With three core "Avengers" titles launching at the same time, accompanied by a veritable flotilla of mini-series and a barely-countable swarm of variant covers, the months of July 2010 and August 2010 alone provided more than enough fodder for this product.
Showing at least some sense of selectivity, the actual sampling of covers stretches over a few more months. There's a heavy focus on issues #1 and #2 of the various titles, but some covers from issues as high as #5 and #6 of Secret Avengers are included.
John Romita, Jr. features heavily, along with Stuart Immonen and Marko Djurdjevic to make up the lion's share of the covers. I will (somewhat bravely perhaps) confess that I'm not a huge fan of JR JR, and I can't really identify any major favorites among the rest of the issues. I'm not going to reproduce the list of covers.
But basically, if there's an image you love from the first few issues of the 2010 New Avengers, Secret Avengers or Plain Old Avengers, then there's a pretty decent chance you'll find it in here.
I couldn't feel any love out of this book. It feels like Marvel produced it "because that's what we do these days".
In some of the earlier Marvel Poster books, the editors were sampling from decades of Marvel art. They had the freedom to pick and choose, showing a fascinating cross section, and selecting both "beloved classics" and lesser-known "hidden gems".
But this time around, hands were tied. The team had a suite of probably around sixty to eighty covers to pick from, including all the variants. Throw away the patently unsuitable options, and w're looking at maybe fifty covers by a small pool of artists over a short period of time. Not really a plethora, plethora or pantheon. Just a pitiful pile of pictures from which you can discard one in three.
Sure, these artists are hot right now. But making classic art takes time to contemplate, and it takes selectivity to discriminate. Both of these things are unavoidably absent in this book.
I would also suggest that many of these artists (Djurdjevic excepted) clearly draw for the small format comic book cover. When magnified, the details start to show, and are not always so pretty under the microscope. JR JR in particular is clearly a busy man. Certainly, many of these posters would look better on a wall, viewed from a distance. Close-up zoom is not the best way to view them.
These titles had their moment in the sun, and the myriad variants have had their moment on eBay. Only time will tell if this book of captured covers will still seem quite so wonderful ten years from now.
If I'm being purely objective, I have a nasty suspicion that hindsight may show this book to be a hastily-assembled snapshot of one of the most bloated periods of Marvel's history. Two webs.