Thursday, 20 May 2010

Avengers #1 review

Wow. This comic really does lack the 'wow!' factor. It's positioned as the beginning of a bold new age for the Marvel Universe, the Heroic Age, but it feels like just another Brian Bendis Avengers book. Admitedly, the stakes are higher than has often been the case, as Kang the Conqueror warns of a threat to the future. And there are no ninjas (unless there are, but they're actually competent ones who can't be seen), but other than that its endless chatter between heroes, very much a case of 'where we came in' for anyone who read Bendis' debut story, Avengers Disassembled, six years ago.

That's not to say it isn't entertaining. I like banter, and God knows it's good to see Clint Barton as a happy Hawkeye, the Beast back in the throng and the Avengers recognised as a force for good. But Spider-Man still seems weird among the Avengers, and slash-happy Wolverine doesn't fit my idea of a shining hero. And after Dan Slott's thorough rehabilitation of founding Avenger Hank Pym in Mighty Avengers it'd be nice if the new Wasp had more than one, rather pathetic, line.

But it seems Avengers Academy will be his home title, with this one hosting Iron Man, Thor, Wolverine, Spider-Man and Woman, Hawkeye, Captain Bucky and A.N.Other. Wonder Man is also offered a place but turns Earth's 'top cop' (I'm sick of that already) Steve Rogers down, having a surprising, but interesting, perspective on the last few years. Former S.H.I.E.L.D. director Maria Hill is given the job of running the team, and as she never fails to bore, that's a few demerits. But Kang was nicely portrayed and I laughed at the Avengers segways - ooh, sexy!

John Romita Jr's cover is horrendous - did you even spot Spidey hiding in the middle? - but the art's a mite better inside, the main weak spot being Thor. It seems Romita is trying to honour Olivier Coipel's wide-browed Norse god, and it just doesn't suit his style. As Coipel has been drawing the same character created by Kirby, and drawn by Romita himself, I say he should relax and go his own way.

Not that I think Romita is the best fit for the Avengers. I've always been a fan of Romita teamed with inker Klaus Janson, on Marvel's grit operas, but on this showing, they don't suit a shiny team book. The work looks uncomfortable, and while some panels are great, as many are awkward.

Really, there's nothing awful about this comic, it's simply average to good. And given Marvel's months-long hype, I was expecting better.

5 comments:

  1. That about sums it up! Well said. :-)

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  2. Hey Mart,

    You're right - this issue was underwhelming and there's something juvenile about Spider-Man joking while the other Avengers are... erm... standing around being threatened by a doomsday device. Heroically standing around being threatened by a doomsday device, I mean.

    But the worst part was the text piece in the back. With your recent analysis of the captions in JL: Generation Lost, I'd love your take on some of the clunkers in this. Phrases like "not only a collection of diverse selfless heroes" and "Having been often told, the story is now well known". And just what the heck is "The Avengers gathered WAS NOT by plan" supposed to mean in English?

    Anyway, wake me up if something happens in this title.

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  3. Cheers, Felicity!

    Ah Krusty, I have to admit to not having read the text piece. I skimmed and decided life is too short. But now you have me intrigued, the examples you give are indeed pish. Wonder if Marvel wants a cheap sub-editor?

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  4. I skimmed that text piece. Bendis is bad enough when he has to leave space for the drawings. To think they actually announce those "Verbal history of the Avengers" as a selling point in the Marvel Previews each month. Or maybe it's genius. I should try one out. Bendis just never ceases to make me feel sick when he characterizes certain characters. Really, actually ill.

    Glad to be aware of your review site Mart. Sheesh you are really working over here!!!

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  5. I don't think it's genius ;)

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