Ricardo Lane's Reviews > The Avengers and Philosophy: Earth's Mightiest Thinkers

The Avengers and Philosophy by Mark D. White
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's review
May 28, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: philosophy, pop-culture
Read from May 28 to 29, 2012

I always enjoyed the college classes where the professor was easy going and cool enough to entertain side discussions about how his field could be applied to more mundane interests. Not only did those discussions break up the monotony of daily lectures, they often helped build a more solid understanding of the subject because you could see how the theories really worked. This book reminds me a lot of those types of off-topic, yet fascinating, talks.

The book is a collection of essays applying philosophy 101 to the various heroes of the Avengers. It should be noted that the Avengers in question are the comic book versions, not the movie ones, and I was duly impressed by how much detail and depth of story the essayists went into. These folks know their Avengers lore, and they aren't afraid to let their nerd flag fly as they discuss things like the three philosophical stances represented by Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America, whether Hank Pym can be held accountable for the destruction caused by his creation Ultron, or the if the Avengers had the moral right to participate in the Kree/Skrull War. More, I was also surprised at how current the information from the comics is. They reference storylines and events that aren't more than a few months to a year or so old. Discussions include information about the Dark Avengers, the Skrull Invasion, and the Avengers Academy, and all comics are scrupulously referenced in the footnotes at the end of each chapter.

I know my comics, and I know the rudiments of philosophy. I was worried going in that this would be a simple glossing over of both. While I wouldn't say that they go in depth into the seven or eight schools of thought they cover, they apply them effectively to the subject in a way that makes the essays very entertaining. Perhaps the highest compliment I can pay this work is that when I finished it, I was left pondering the validity of the ideas discussed. That's something I couldn't say about all my college classes.
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