A Kangucopia, an Immortusbord, a Rama-Tutnami
Mark Waid (W), Mike del Mundo (A, CA), Marco D’alfonso (CA)
Cover by Alex Ross
Publisher: Marvel Comics
So, here we are with another Avengers #1. I know I’ve gone on this tangent before, but Marvel really needs to get past its self-conscious need to reboot every title every year or so. I really liked All-New, All-Different Marvel. I know it had a lot of critics, but I enjoyed the new direction and slate of titles. In a way, it was almost a return to form, giving a lot of characters that haven’t had their own books new titles, bringing out some cool, new characters, and pursuing that upbeat and wild Mighty Marvel Manner. Now we have Marvel NOW version 4 or 5 or whatever, and we’re doing this weird darkish divide between the hero community that only seems to be exemplified by the Avengers and Champions splitting off from the All-New, All-Different Avengers book. We have a lot of new titles again and a “new direction” for Marvel Comics that I’m sure will be abandoned in about another year.
Also, if I can go on the price soapbox again, I get the compulsion to jack up the price on a #1, but I think it shows some arrogance that is unearned. Why set up a price wall for a new book? You’re selling the book to the reader, not the other way around. Even if it’s a few pages longer like Avengers #1, use that extra length as a show of good faith. You want to convince the reader that this book will be worth reading beyond the first issue, but you make the first issue harder to buy. It’s not a given that it will sell. Not even the Avengers can guarantee that. You’re already refusing to price any of your books under four-dollars, Marvel. Why do you make it so hard to love you?
Anyway, now that I have that out of my system, let’s get to the book itself.
Avengers #1 continues off of the Kang the Conqueror stories from All-New, All-Different Avengers with Kang returning to track down the infant version of himself which the Vision stole from the future in the hopes of preventing his tyrannical reign. Unfortunately, the Avengers are a few members short due to Ms. Marvel, Nova, and Spider-Man having left the team to form the Champions. Hercules arrives to bolster the team’s ranks, and Peter Parker of Parker Industries offers to fund the team and provide them with a new base in the Baxter Building. Kang arrives to sour these proceedings.
Naturally, a fight ensues between the Avengers and Kang the Conqueror. The battle is complicated when Kang splinters off from himself once again (something he showed happens from time-to-time in the previous series due to some form of time distortion), and, as a result, the Avengers and the original Spider-Man have to contend with both Kang and the Scarlet Centurion.
The Kangs attempt to determine the location of their young self from the Vison. However, he has wiped the memory from himself as a precaution, and they leave to pursue a different tactic. Afterwards, the Avengers offer membership to Spider-Man, which he accepts. The Vision is forced to reveal to the Avengers that he took the infant Kang, and they show frustration with this as well as the fact that he kept it a secret.
Meanwhile, Kang and the Centurion locate the crystal in which the Vision offloads his memory banks. They use it to determine the identities of these Avengers and kill them in the cradle. The comic ends with the Avengers dissipating.
This is a solid Avengers story with a classic villain. I like this current lineup quite a bit, and I’m interested in seeing how the members will interact with one another in the future. The joining of Hercules seemed a little abrupt, but I’m never going to complain about the Prince of Power showing up.
Kang is in full form of course, and he offers a great threat with which to inaugurate this new Avengers team. His endgame in this issue does seem a little incongruous with the problem he is attempting to solve. If the Avengers simply disappear when Kang kills their young selves, why has he not become a different person due to the Vison kidnapping his infant self? Maybe they’ll explain that later, but it does seem a bit odd here.
Mike del Mundo’s art will likely make or break this book with a lot of people. While it looks good, it is a lot more stylized and distorted than most art used in Avengers series. I like the art well enough, and it is very unique. However, I’m not sure it quite fits the tone and style of the Avengers.
This isn’t exactly the most daring or radical take on the Avengers. It’s not really doing anything I haven’t seen before. That being said, it is still a fun book that does feel like an Avengers comic the art aside. I have been a huge fan of the Avengers for quite some time, and I look forward to Mark Waid’s continued work on the team.
Final Score: 7.5/10