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Marvel Action: Avengers: Off The Clock | Review

Marvel Action: Avengers: Off The ClockMarvel Action: Avengers: Off The Clock (Book Five)
Writer: Katie Cook
Artist: Butch Mapa
IDW Publishing; All Ages

The previous four collections of IDW’s kid-friendly Marvel Action: Avengers series all dealt with the evil organization Advanced Idea Mechanics’ ongoing plans to conquer the world and the heroes’ efforts to stop them. After all that work, the Avengers could use some time off, but do superheroes even get days off? Their attempts to take a day for themselves, and villains refusing to similarly cut all the villainy out for a day, is the premise of Katie Cook and Buch Mapa’s new iteration of the series, collected as Marvel Action: Avengers: Off The Clock.

Unlike the earlier collections, which all told a single, epic-length story, this book consists of three short, interlocking team-ups, and thus offers a nice jumping-on point for those curious about IDW’s take on Marvel’s heroes, a take that is generally lighter, funnier, and less melodramatic than those published by Marvel proper (and this volume is the lightest of the series so far).

The first issue begins with a meeting in which Black Widow tells this version of the Avengers, which basically consists of all of the heroes from the movies, that their human resources department has insisted that they all take a day off from superheroics.

As the heroes all go their separate ways for the day, Thor accidentally breaks a Hummel-like figurine of Black Widow’s, and Ant-Man’s attempts to fix it with super-glue only make things worse. So the pair go antiquing for a replacement. There they meet Loki, who uses his mischievous magic to grow a small army of figurines to giant size and bring them to life.

In the second story, Captain America heads to a local school for career day, and there he meets a much younger hero who is much better at talking to little kids than he is: Squirrel Girl. Fortunately for the kids, what starts out as a pretty boring presentation on safety—even if it does include plenty of squirrels—turns into a superhero battle when fifth-grade teacher Mr. Petruski dons a costume and attacks the heroes. See, before going into teaching, Petruski was the villainous Paste Pot Pete, AKA The Trapster (Though the kids all keep calling him “Mr. Petruski,” and Squirrel Girl calls him Glue Stick Pete since, as she says, “I don’t think these kids even know what a paste post is”).

Finally, in the third story, Captain Marvel finds her food truck lunch interrupted by minor Spider-Man villain The White Rabbit, who has stolen Doctor Strange’s cloak of levitation and taken it for a joyride, the Sorcerer Supreme following on foot.

In the course of the action, they meet up with most of the other heroes, who have decided to join Captain America for career day, and Cook’s plot comes full circle; though it consists of three shorter stories, they all add up to a complete story.

Given the lower-stakes conflicts and shorter, more discrete stories, this fifth Marvel Action: Avengers collection is a pretty sharp departure from the previous ones, but then superhero fans, like superheroes themselves, can use a bit of a breather every now and then.

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J. Caleb Mozzocco 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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