First Impressions – STEED AND MRS PEEL #1

This one I bought on a whim, not really expecting to follow along after the first issue. Then I read the issue, and was completely dumbfounded by it. It’s STEED AND MRS PEEL #1, written by Mark Waid and published by Boom Studios.

When I searched through Boom’s catalog of upcoming books, I noticed this curious addition to the ongoing circuit: STEED AND MRS PEEL #1. As stated, I decided to try it out on a whim. My ignorance of the property deepened upon reading, as it started in medias rez just as a bunch of terrorists hijack some missiles and nuke London.

This is getting ahead of myself, but just know London gets nuked in the first five pages of this comic. Worse than that Nazi Zombie invasion that destroyed all of London. A bitch to clean up, I’ll tell you that.

So in preparation to actually talk about this thing, I did a simple wikipedia search of “Steed and Mrs Peel”, something I really ought to do more often now that I think of it. Luckily I was enlightened as to why I hadn’t heard of this sooner despite it being obvious from the context of the issue that this continued from something. It turns out I hadn’t heard of it because while the property refers to protagonists John Steed and Emma Peel in the title in the comics, this is because it’s based on the British TV show The Avengers.

Do I need to explain why the comics needed an alternate monicker?

So The Avengers then. I’d at least heard of the show prior to this comic, but other than the name (and the lackluster 1998 film) I knew – still know – nearly nothing about it. I’m the world’s hindmost authority on The Avengers television series. What I have gathered from my Wikipedia search is that it’s some kind of crime/mystery/spy fiction show, though apparently later seasons added more science fiction elements to the mix. What I got away from STEED AND MRS PEEL #1 is that Mark Waid is going for a 60s spy thriller deal with it.

So as previously mentioned, London gets nuked at the outset. For some reason John Steed and Mrs Emma Peel (Steed’s second assistant from the show) are in a bunker with the remaining lords and magistrates of the British government. Fire breaks out, forcing the lot of them to go topside despite the radiation. It’s not outright stated, but there might be saboutage involved.

Also there’s something about the Hellfire Club, a malignant group that wanted to take over Britain in some previous adventure we’re only told about in a brief introductory paragraph. And no, these guys have nothing to do with the Hellfire Club from the X-Men comics.

Although there are plenty of mutants running around the post-nuclear landscape. The group fights them. It’s awesome.

In fact this book works very well at what it tries to accomplish. The biggest thing hindering my enjoyment of the issue is simply my general ignorance of The Avengers, either the TV show or the previous comics. And given how many other irons I have in the fire, I need to stick with stuff I know well. Don’t by any means let that stop you personally from reading it. The dialogue is great, Steed is witty as all hell, and nothing beats good spy fiction.

Well, except maybe spy fiction where one fights Frankenstein Hitler.

What do you think? Are you a fan of The Avengers? Should I take every opportunity to watch the old show? Should I keep reading this series? Do you trust Mark Waid to do justice to the franchise? Leave your comment below.

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