THE AVENGERS (2023) #1 / Script by JED MACKAY / Art by C.F. VILLA / Colors by FEDERICO BLEE / Letters by VC’S CORY PETIT / Covers by STUART IMMONEN, DANIEL ACUNA, DERRICK CHEW, JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER, KAEL NGU, MARCO CHECCHETTO & FRANK MARTIN, MARK BROOKS, PAUL SMITH & JASON KEITH, & SKOTTIE YOUNG / Published by MARVEL COMICS
Before I discuss The Avengers (2023) #1, a quick aside regarding Marvel Comics in general.
Astute readers might have noticed that I’ve been covering Marvel Comics less and less in recent months. The chief reason for that is an ironic one. In recent years, Marvel has employed more and more creative teams, with titles changing and renumbering on an annual basis to keep things fresh. While this does make it easier for casual readers to jump in on a new series, it also makes it hard as heck for a librarian to figure out which Captain Marvel Vol. 1 they need to order to complete a collection. This is further complicated by how quickly the trade paperbacks go out of print.
And therein lies the irony. Since I am one of those librarians bold enough to keep graphic novels on the shelves and I read what goes into my collection, it has been harder and harder for me to keep up with Marvel. And while the books may offer more entry points and more #1 issues, series like X-Men are as insular and difficult to get into as ever. And yet, everything is becoming more and more like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with less acknowledgment of Marvel’s history. Given that, it would take a miracle for Marvel to publish a book that acknowledges past continuity while presenting takes on characters that are not in-line with the MCU.
Behold the miracle book!
The new Avengers title does not shy away from past stories merely to justify having all of the most popular heroes on one team together. Indeed, it makes several deep cuts into the team’s history, such as Tony Stark being Carol Danvers’ Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor and the fact that the two led the rival factions in the regrettable Civil War II. And here’s a bit more irony – this somehow makes the characters more accessible than the generic, vaguely resembling the MCU takes I’ve seen in too many Marvel titles of late. Certainly they’re more interesting!
Jed MacKay’s script places the emphasis on characterization, as he cuts between Captain Marvel recruiting the heroes she wants on her Avengers team and a classic big monster fight. The action is thrilling, with a side-helping of humor and a running gag involving the phrase “Would you like to hear the good news first? Or the bad?” Where this issue sings, however, is in the one-on-one moments between Carol and her colleagues, as MacKay subtly catches us up on recent events in their solo books, such as why Thor seems more serious and why things are so tense between Captain America and Black Panther.
The artwork boasts equal complexity. C.F. Villa utilizes a dynamic style with a continual sense of motion in play. Even the static scenes of two characters talking suggest movement, with the camera angles constantly shifting but the continuity between panels consistent. The colors by Federico Blee are suitably vibrant, in the Mighty Marvel fashion and the letters by VC’s Cory Petit bold as brass.
This is the best Avengers title I’ve read in recent memory. If this first issue is only a taste of what is to come, I think it a safe prediction that this will go down as one of the greatest runs in Avengers history. Whether you’re a fan of the movies who has yet to get into the comics, or a fan of Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Black Panther, The Vision, Scarlet Witch, Captain America and Thor, you will want to check this out.