Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Avengers Assemble #9 review


They're both scientific geniuses, but Tony Stark and Bruce Banner are poles apart. Tony is a futurist, believing that technological breakthroughs can only make things better, while Bruce is wary of unfettered change. Tony's also a gamesplayer, and he suggests that he and Banner race to Antarctica to check on some scientists cut off by a scheming colleague - Iron Man vs the Hulk, hi-tech vs old-school science.

Spider-Woman takes Bruce's side, while Thor flies alongside Tony. They get to the cold region around the same time, and there things quickly take a turn for the serious.

If there's the Mighty Avengers and the New Avengers - which there are - this would be the Inessential Avengers, begging to be ignored by the continuity-mad hordes because it doesn't reference a dozen current storylines. Even the original USP of the book - a team mirroring the movie Avengers - is no more, with the Black Widow relegated to a one-panel cameo and Hawkeye nowhere to be seen. Instead, Spider-Woman and Captain Marvel are front and centre, alongside the aforementioned Iron Man and Thor, and Captain America.
This is fun, though, as writer Kelly Sue DeConnick fires zingers by the dozen in an easy-to-digest story (click on image to enlarge). I like that the heroes can add a fun element to a mission - it's been years since the Marvel Universe felt like a place where people would take the time to enjoy themselves, maybe actually pause and marvel at things. There are perhaps too many pages devoted to Brian Bendis-like banter, making the issue feel just that little bit too light, but this is her debut - a writer as smart as DeConnick will soon work out any pacing issues. As for the tone, the general flightiness underlines the seriousness of the final page.

Stefano Caselli's illustrations are a delight - strong and characterful, with facial 'acting' better than you'll find in 94 per cent of superhero comics (I checked). His Hulk and Iron Man leap off the page, full of power and charisma. Making things look even better is Rain Beredo, whose colours pick out bone structure and skin texture without ever falling into blotchiness. The overall feel is brighter than in most of the line, making Avengers Assemble seem more like a Marvel Adventures all-ages book than your average comic from the company. Not a bad thing.

I can't see Avengers fans rushing to buy this comic, but likewise, I can't see any Avengers fan who buys this comic not enjoying it - it's old school superhero fun with a modern twist.

8 comments:

  1. Bonus: DeConnick does "Bendis-like banter" far better than Bendis does...

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have not been following Avengers Assemble because, well, after all these years I am still not inot Bendis' work on Avengers. I think he works much better doing solo books and crime-related series than team superheroes. But after reading your review for this issue, though, I think I'll pick up #9 to see how Kelly Sue DeConnick handles Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I reckon you may enjoy it, Ben. I hope the book stays around awhile.

      Delete
  3. This was an impulse buy yesterday based solely on my trust in Kelly Sue DeConnick. I am a DC guy, and my Marvel dabbling is rarely Avengers based.

    I am so glad I got this book. It was an absolute delight, fun and entertaining. I laughed out loud at some places!

    Comics are supposed to be the fun aspect of my life. This issue reminded me of that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's excellent, Anj. I still regret that we never got a Supergirl run from Kelly Sue. Maybe one day.

      Delete
  4. I decided to read this when I saw it in the store when I was doing my Christmas shopping (Getting comics for my cousins this time). It isn't going to set the world on fire, but it certainly delightfully enjoyable. It sort of reminds me of Detective Comics in a way. The company took a below average book and gave it new life with putting a very talented writer on it who knows how to make reading a comic fun (in Detective's case, it was John Layman). I may not buy the single issues, but if it continues to improve, then I am for sure buying the trades.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that's a good policy, I can see a collection being a real treat.

      Delete