Mark Waid (W), Mahmud Asrar (A), Dave McCaig (CA)
Cover By: Alex Ross
Publisher: Marvel Comics
So, like Captain America: Sam Wilson, this was another fairly controversial title when it was first announced and for the same reasons. I’m not really going to go into that again, as I think I made my opinion quite clear in the review for Captain America: Sam Wilson.
This title had me really excited when it was first announced. A small Avengers team written by Mark Waid? Hot on the heels of his legendary Daredevil run and Jonathan Hickman’s strong but enormous Avengers team? Sign me up!
I’m an Avengers guy. I’ve loved them ever since I started reading comic books. Bendis’ Initiative/Dark Reign-era New Avengers lineup will probably always be my favorite, but I still go into every new Avengers creative team with excitement and curiosity.
I’ll go ahead and tilt my hand with this one. This book is great. If you haven’t checked it out, you should. The characters have good chemistry. The pacing is really well. Mark Waid balances the character moments with the action like the pro that he is. It reads very much like a classic Avengers title.
So, onto the story thus far. Captain America and Iron Man meet up while the former is trying to save some people from a collapsing bridge. Tony pulls Sam out of a very awkward publicity moment, and the two begin to discuss the fact that there isn’t a “true” Avengers team, with the Uncanny Avengers technically being the Unity Squad and Sunspot’s outfit being under the umbrella of A.I.M. The two go to the former Avengers Tower, now owned by the enigmatic Gryphon, who is currently trying to negotiate an alliance there with the Chitauri warlord, Warbringer. Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man, is there listening in on this. A fight ensues between Warbringer and Captain America, Iron Man, and Spider-Man, which Warbringer quickly wins.
Next, he goes to the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey to recover a piece of a Chitauri artifact. He is faced there by Sam Alexander, the current Nova and Kamala Khan, the new Ms. Marvel. He is able to distract them by endangering civilians, and he escapes to continue to search for the artifact pieces.
The heroes track him down again and are joined by the Vision and the new Thor (Jane Foster). A fight ensues, but Warbringer is able to escape yet again when Gryphon teleports Thor’s hammer in mid-throw so that it breaks a water main and floods the heroes.
The Avengers recover, and they continue to track Warbringer. His plot becomes apparent when a rift begins opening in the sky over New York with Chitauri warriors on the other side. Vision, Nova, Iron Man, and Thor take on Warbringer while Captain America and Spider-Man attempt to deal with Gryphon, whom begins raising the dead to stop them. The Avengers are able to at last defeat Warbringer and send him through the rift while Gryphon escapes. Spider-Man destroys the artifact so that Warbringer is trapped on the other side of the portal. The Chitauri warlord quickly learns that he was betrayed by Gryphon, as his kin on the other side of the portal are violent primitives from the past.
The adventure concludes with the Vision revealing to Nova that he knows that Warbringer was on Earth to kill the young hero, and that he will keep the secret so long as Nova does as he says.
The Avengers set up a base of operations at an airfield still owned by Tony Stark. They respond to a threat caused by the supervillain, Cyclone. The rogue reveals that he was ordered to cause chaos. The mystery thickens when the Vision creates a hologram of Ms. Marvel recklessly endangering civilians and claims it to be a recording. Ms. Marvel is thrown of the team, and Nova challenges the elder members of the Avengers. This results in him being quickly thrown of the Avengers as well.
They next run into Equinox, whom, during the fight, begins multiplying. Different versions of him from different points in time begin teaming up on the remaining Avengers. Then the Vision turns on the remaining Avengers. He was turned on them by Gryphon, who is revealed to be an aspect of Kang the Conqueror. Kang has been split into multiple beings by the splintering of time, and Gryphon is one of those beings. Ms. Marvel and Nova come to the aid of the rest of the Avengers.
Spider-Man defeats Equinox. The rest of the Avengers defeat Kang and turn Vision back over to their side, and Ms. Marvel and Nova are reinstated. The Avengers are made whole again.
The next story ties into Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill, and The Uncanny Avengers. Since I do not generally read The Uncanny Avengers, I didn’t really get the full story. I do know that Kobik lured both teams to Pleasant Hill and altered their identities. They were able to come out of the brainwashing and teamed up to stop the ensuing prison break.
This brings us finally to the current issue. To tilt my hand yet again, this is probably my favorite issue of the series so far. If you haven’t gleaned it from reviews here yet, I really like “breather” issues. Big, climactic battles are great, and they are a part of what make super hero comics what they are. However, I really enjoy when a comic stops and takes the time to establish the characters outside of dangerous situations.
This issue does this by setting the story at the airfield and telling the events from the perspective of the Avengers’ beleaguered butler, Edwin Jarvis. A new hero claiming to be the Wasp appears on site, and the Vision is going haywire again due to some aftereffects of Kang’s control.
This issue really worked for me. It’s a slower story, but it gives the story time to build up the proper drama. The new Wasp seems to be a pretty likable character, and her suit is a nice callback to Janet Van Dyne’s original uniform. It’s nice having Jarvis function as a main character in this issue. The Vision threat seems a little ad-libbed, but it gives the new Wasp a chance to prove her worth and her intelligence.
The art is really good and shows the characters’ expressions very well. Kubert’s art in the previous issues was very good, but, if he is off the book, I hope that Asrar stays.
This book is very good and deserves support. Each character is depicted well. You can really get a feel for how each member gets along with everyone else on the team. It’s also just a really fun book. Give it try if you like the classic Avengers stories. It may have new faces, but I promise you it will give you the same wonder and joy those old stories provided.
Issue Score: 9/10
Series Score: 9/10