Here we go again, another Avengers #1! I’m not one to be overly dramatic about there being constant reboots and shuffles, but I understand why people are growing tired of it. And this is the latest in a crop of books that clearly take place after the still ongoing Civil War II, which is what I find to be more annoying than reading yet another #1.
The kids have abandoned the Avengers team to form Champions, and whatever else is going to happen in CWII has left Sam Wilson, Thor, and the all-new Wasp alone to start anew. Peter Parker goes all-in on being Tony Stark, offering to fund and house the new Avengers team. After recruiting Hercules and meeting with Parker, the group finds Vision battling two Kang The Conquerors. They join forces and send Kang² into the time stream where they seemingly attack all the child versions of the Avengers.
At 28 years old, I’ve read my fair share of Avengers #1’s. Mark Waid wastes no time getting the gang together in this issue, but if you were expecting something fun like the opening to Mighty Ducks 2 you will be disappointed. While I think most of the problems with this book were simply created by releasing before Civil War II concludes, Waid doesn’t really buy himself much leeway. Nothing feels earned whatsoever about this group of heroes coming together to carry on the Avengers name. Everyone stumbles upon each other, does something heroic, shares a handshake, and now there’s a team. Remember how amazing it was to watch an unlikely team emerge from the rubble in Bendis’ New Avengers?
It’s not all bad and I’m totally ready for Sam Wilson to actually step up into a true leadership role. The All-New, All-Different Avengers team was too loaded to allow him to have any spotlight, and this is a much more manageable roster. Hercules is a character I have never cared about, but having him be the muscle on this team could be the first chance for many readers to open up to him. Plus, it’s interesting that on such a small Avengers lineup, there are two god-like heroes, so hopefully that pays off in some way. This series might also be the tipping point for most fans on Peter Parker being the fill-in Tony Stark. Personally, I don’t hate it at the moment, but it needs to be handled delicately and if this issue’s sloppiness is any indication, we may be in for some rough copy and paste development.
As far as the overall visuals in the issue, I find myself torn. The art style has it’s pros and cons, sometimes coming off strikingly beautiful and other times like a confusing mess of unfinished business. There are definitely some wonderful panels in here, and now that Marvel-ites are more settled in to the current look and identity of these heroes, it’s healthy to see different interpretations. I’m sure there are more than enough people who will love this kind of artistic approach in an Avengers titles, but I just don’t know if it’s the best direction for trying to draw in already frustrated Marvel readers. All that being said, when it’s working the panels explode with color and action and are extremely satisfying.
Marvel NOW’s Avengers #1 may not be a perfect comic book by any means, but there is plenty to look forward to. I’m willing to cut Mark Waid a break (but he’s on a short leash). The Kang story arc could be pretty cool with him seemingly murdering the children versions of the Avengers. However, if that doesn’t do anything for you, the best part of this comic is the preview section in the back which provides readers with a sneak peek at a handful of future stories to come. Despite this lackluster introduction, I’m still really into this lineup of Avengers and will most definitely be reading this series.