COMIC REVIEW: Steed and Mrs Peel: A Very Civil Armageddon

A new graphic novel for the Original Avengers!

The official blurb: “Saving the world in style! The British icon THE AVENGERS, one of the longest running TV shows in history, returns in comic-book form with all-new adventures!  John Steed and Emma Peel face off against a reformed Hellfire Club, led by the children of their past antagonists. This new incarnation does not look to the past, but instead seeks to warp the British Isles to fit their idea of what “the future” should look like. Eisner Award winning writer Mark Waid (IRREDEEMABLE, DAREDEVIL) begins a new era of Spy-Fi action alongside Caleb Monroe (BATMAN), and artists Steve Bryant (ATHENA VOLTAIRE) & Will Sliney (FEARLESS DEFENDERS)!

Growing up in the 70s, I was an absolute mega-fan of The Avengers. When The New Avengers arrived in the 80s with Purdy and Gambit, the show concept had lost its sheen a little, but Steed and Mrs Peel – they were bad-ass (in a very ‘kinky boots’ way)! So I was thrilled to get a copy of The Avengers: A Very Civil Armageddon to review for GS.

The story is a good one: starting with a prologue, we are introduced to the original Hellfire Club back in the 60’s. They are trying to trick agents into revealing confidential information by making them believe they are years older and living in the year 2000. They even have a go at Steed, but enter Mrs Peel to put a stop to their plan and save the day. Now comes the main story. A nuclear attack renders London a radioactive wasteland. Steed & Mrs are trapped below the surface in a nuclear bunker with government officials and MPs, and are forced to go-above the surface when a fire threatens to suffocate them by destroying their oxygen supply. When they reach the surface, they find the only other survivors (apart from deadly radioactive mutants) are the new Hellfire Club – equally resourced and prepared for such an event. The two sides must work together in order to survive and assess what happened. But not all is what it seems…

This story was right out of the TV show, and I’m sure it was very much the intention to give it that 60’s feel & vibe – sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. The comic doesn’t fully transport you back to the 60’s and some of the references don’t completely work, for example the kitsch radiation suits. The HellFire Club are definitely in keeping with the type of villains that the original Avengers were up against – very British, very proper, very swinging-60’s and always with a convoluted over-the-top elaborate plan to get what they want. The prologue brought to mind an episode of the TV show where Peter Bowles tricked people into believing they had travelled back in the past by assuming the identity of his ancestors. What did work, most of the time, was the dialogue and banter that Steed & Peel enjoyed in the TV show – the script is full of  tasteful innuendo that captures the very gentle sexual chemistry between the two chief protagonists. The artwork is first class, and not just in the cover artwork – it really is Steed & Peel in those panels, especially Mrs Peel’s fighting ability.

Steed and Mrs Peel: A Very Civil Armageddon reads more like an extended comic rather than a mini-series and I was little a hungry for more by the end. Overall it’s worth a read, but try to get it for at least a third off the asking price.

GS Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Boom! Studios / Titan Books

GS Reviewer: SilverFox

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