The last few years have been unkind to the Avengers. First Civil War tore every one apart, then Invasion and Seige left everyone wondering who to trust. Now Marvel has entered the Heroic Age and I for one could not be happier. The Avenger books are being re-launched and that means new squads and new story arcs.
The Avengers -Written by Michael Bendis-Art By John Romita Jr.
If writer Bendis is trying to take the Avengers back to their roots, picking the classic trio of Captain America, Thor, and Iron man was a good start. Hawkeye and Spiderwoman were also good choices for the new team, however I’m a bit perplexed by the use of Wolverine and Spider Man. Sure this makes for a interesting mix of new and old Avengers, but where are the Vision or the Black Panther? This would have been a great time to go with a more classic line up. They did try to recruit Wonder Man, but he declined due to the recent dark history of the Team. He even alluded to possibly battling the Avengers if necessary, which could make for a nice twist. Right after the team has formed up, the Avengers find their headquarters invaded. It’s none other than longtime Nemesis, Kang the Conqueror. The blue faced, time travel terrorist has come back with a warning, claiming the Avengers own children will someday destroy the world. To convince the Avengers to help him avert this, he has stolen a doomsday device that Iron Man had invented in the future, and threatens to use it. Kang informs the Avengers that their next member holds the key to their time travel. Kang was a excellent choice to start the series off with and Bendis truly leaves you with a cliffhanger. And boy do you want more.
The New Avengers-Written by Michael Bendis-Art by Stuart Immonen
The New Avengers feels just like it’s named, a new begining. Luke Cage has been given this team along with Avengers mansion to go back to doing what Avengers do best, saving the world. Cage then went about building a team of his family and friends. His wife Jewel, long time partner Iron Fist, and old buddy the Thing were brought on board. Spider Man, Hawkeye, and Wolverine will be in both books and all have worked with Cage plenty as Avengers. Mockingbird and Ms. Marvel are the final pieces of the squad. The feeling you get as you read this book is this is a close knit group. There is a great scene where they are all sitting around eating and it’s hard to make such a scene interesting but Bendis and Immonen pull it off. The action in this issue comes from the developing plot involving Doctor strange and problems on the Astral plane. We never get the whole story but it’s enough to whet the appetite. This series has potential to really pull in the reader with a eclectic but great mix of personalities.
So far the only complaint I can lay on these books is the cross over of characters. I know I’m in the minority but Marvel needs to ease up on the use of Wolverine and Spiderman. It’s the same reason no body watches All Star games anymore when you see someone every day, it just gets old. There is a lot to like here and if you ever were an Avengers fan or would like to be, now is a great time to get on board.