Review: Avengers #1

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Following in Brian Michael Bendis’ footsteps is no easy task.  But if anyone is up to the task, it would be Jonathan Hickman.  If #1 is any indication, it’s going to be a good run.

The main thing to take away from Avengers #1 is this: bigger.  When you start with the origin of the universe and relate it to the Avengers, you can’t do anything but big.  Hickman uses the last line of Bendis’ run on the title as a jumping off point for his entire run.  The villains have a massive scope, and the Avengers need to adapt more.  In a  nice way to justify the team direction, the movie team can’t handle these new villains.  Too often, writers like to change the status quo, and have a character explain why.  But those tone changes never last, as readers can’t accept that the change was needed.  These new villains share a lot in common with the Ultimate Future Foundation, but this could be Hickman finishing up his run on that title.  Hickman has said he has planned out 64 issues so far, so I have complete faith in Hickman writing the title.

Fantastic Four and FF had a decent dose of big character moments.  Avengers is completely devoid of that.  Given that this book is going to have a roster of up to two dozen, these character moments might be few and far between.  But Avengers is suppose to be the big spectacle title, and there is spectacle in spades.  Those small character moments might be more plentiful in New Avengers when that launches next month. While this is the first issue, Hickman only gives lines to a few Avengers.  He uses each panel and page expertly though.  A character doesn’t say a line just to justify having them in the title.  Their voice is needed at that specific time.  I’m interested to see how Hickman explains each character’s need in the series.  Why do we need Cannonball and Spider-Man this particular mission?

Jerome Opena is on artwork, and all I can do is give him a standing ovation.  His skill as a story teller has only improved since his time on Uncanny X-Force.  The new villains have a good look to them.  So far, I haven’t been a big fan of Captain America’s new costume.  Cassaday’s version of it made the chain-male look odd.  Opena negates this, making it look more like bulletproof armor instead.  It takes the basic design from the Avengers movie and improves on it.  The constantly changing artists (Opea, Mike Deodato, Dustin Weaver, and Andy Kubert) all have vastly different styles.  It’s going to be interesting to see if this book can keep the same artistic look each arc.  Amazing Spider-Man had a hard time of it during the “Brand New Day” period.  Dean White’s amazing colors compliment Opena’s pencils perfectly.  They have a brighter tone to them, making the spandex costumes pop.  The color of the Hulk is the perfect green tone for him.

Avengers is off to a good start, but I never doubted that for a second.  Marvel NOW! keeps bringing more hits.

Avengers #1 gets 4/5.

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