Excerpt – “William Shakespeare’s Avengers: The Complete Works” by Ian Doescher

The Avengers
Illustration by Danny Schlitz. © 2021 MARVEL.

Remember William Shakespeare’s Star Wars? Author Ian Doescher has given the Shakespeare treatment to another hit movie franchise. The result: William Shakespeare’s Avengers: The Complete Works, which covers all four Avengers films. Enjoy an excerpt below from the iconic Battle of New York scene in the first Avengers film (2012).



BARTON [to Rogers:] Civilians roost within the buildings here,
In danger, wholly trapp’d, and sore afeard.

ROGERS ’Twas Loki who hath just pass’d by our way,
And threateneth the people, who are stuck
Like fish caught in a barrel for the slaughter.
See how the numerous Chitauri come?

ROMANOFF We shall stand off against the wicked beings—
Go thou and save the citizenry, Cap’n.

ROGERS Shall ye two hold them off? Are you both sure?

BARTON ’Twill be our pleasure genuine. Take wing!
[Rogers runs toward Loki as Romanoff
and Barton engage the Chitauri.

ROMANOFF [to Barton:] ’Tis like bleak Budapest hath come again!

BARTON Ha! Thou and I remember Budapest
As diff’rent as an ostrich to a starling.

ROGERS [aside:] My partners, skill’d with arrows, blades,
and guns,
Shall keep the aliens from further mischief,
Whilst rescuing civilians from grave harm.
I’ll venture forth to aid more helpless people,
Who are within these buildings undefended,
Whilst war is o’er the city like a plague
That comes to cast a population down.
Go, Rogers, earn the title thou wert giv’n!


POLICE 1 ’Twill be an hour until the Guard arrives
To give us aid.

POLICE 2 —Yet doth the army know
What matter here occurreth?

POLICE 1 —Sir, do we?

ROGERS [approaching:] Sirs, hear: you need policemen in these
For many people still are stuck within
And shall run swiftly into danger great.
Take them unto the basements or the subway,
Yet keep them off the avenues, I bid ye.
As far behind as Thirty-ninth, we must
Create a firm perimeter. You see?

POLICE 2 What reason have we to take orders from you?
[Three Chitauri rush toward Rogers,
and he subdues them quickly.
[Aside:] A-ha, the reason now is evident!
[To other police:] I need policemen in these buildings fast,
Lead people down, away from th’avenues.
As far behind as Thirty-ninth, we must
Create a firm perimeter, forsooth!
[Stark flies near the leviathan and shoots at it, and it
begins to chase him.

STARK If nothing else, I’ve garner’d its attention.
Step one is easily fulfill’d thereby,
Yet what, I pray, was my step two? Alas!
It seemeth Tony Stark is out of step.

ROMANOFF A parry, dodge, and swipe—another drops!
These horrid creatures fall before our prowess.

BARTON We are as agile as flamingos, friend,
And better suited for a fight than roosters.
[Rogers and Thor join the other Avengers.

ROGERS [to Thor:] How doth the struggle go within Stark Tower?

THOR Impenetrable is the power that
Surrounds the Tesseract—’twill not be stopp’d.

STARK [into radio:] Indeed, Thor is correct. We must defeat
This legion.

ROMANOFF —How shall the dark task be done?

ROGERS United, as a team.

THOR —Unfinish’d is
My work with Loki.

BARTON —Take thy place within
The pecking order—I would peck him first.

ROGERS Save it—we all shall have our chance anon.
He shall keep this fight focus’d upon us,
Which is precisely what we need. Without him,
These aliens would run wild o’er the city.
Stark is above us—height is his advantage.


BANNER Holla, friends. What words of great pith and moment
May I declare but these: ’tis horrible.

ROMANOFF Yet I’ve seen bleaker still.

BANNER —Apologies,
The hefty green guy was not kind to thee.

ROMANOFF Nay, in this instance we have need of bleaker.

ROGERS Stark, thou didst ask for a report: he’s here.

STARK [into radio:] Is’t Banner?

ROGERS —Even as thou saidst.

STARK [into radio:] —I prithee,
Bid Banner suit up in a trice, whilst I
Deliver unto ye the party swiftly.
[Stark flies once again toward the Avengers, with the
leviathan still following him.

ROMANOFF His view of parties dimmer is than mine.

ROGERS Tough Doctor Banner, if there were a time
When thou shouldst angry grow, methinks ’tis now.

BANNER ’Tis my great secret—I am ever angry.


STARK I’ll strike the final blow and end the beast!
[Stark lands near the others and shoots the leviathan,
destroying it. Various Chitauri scream.
HULK Rawr!
ROGERS —Stand we at the ready: your Avengers!

Excerpted from William Shakespeare’s Avengers: The Complete Works by Ian Doescher. © 2021 MARVEL. Reprinted with permission from Quirk Books.