Avengers: The Ultimate Guide

 ATUG   (DK, 2012)

™ and © 2005 Marvel Characters Inc.

While still a useful guide to Marvel’s largest non-mutant team, this volume suffers from shortcomings that keep it from being quite “ultimate.”

First, rather than separate characters into “Avengers,” “allies,” “enemies,” etc., this work divides them by decade. Namor, who appeared as a villain early in the series, is listed in the 1960s. His entry includes information about his membership, which occurred decades later. This sort of thing can be confusing.

As with any such work, readers can pick nits. For example, isn’t Kelsey Leigh best known as “Lionheart”? Her “Captain Britain” entry doesn’t mention that name. (Most grievous sin: revealing Ronin’s identity before the comic!)

There’s a lot in here to love, from The Forgotten One to The Legion of The Unliving and The Ultimates. But what’s really lacking is a simple list of Avengers. One page dedicated to a membership roster would have been appreciated. Instead, there are two-page art spreads before every section. Sure, they’re attractive, but The Avengers arguably need a little more text space than Spider-Man or The Fantastic Four.

— Jack Abramowitz

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ca. 2012Tom DeFalco