It's the year 20XX and the Avengers are in trouble. Those who aren't dead, that is. Reality warping member Demiurge - nee Wiccan, nee Asgardian - is possessed by the wizard Moridun and killing his friends as a warm-up for the end of the world. Survivors Marvel Woman, Iron Mariner, King Hulk, Collapsar and Captain America make a desperate leap to 2016, arriving just as the New Avengers test their time machine.
Superheroes from the future go back to our present to prevent disaster in their own time. It's not the most original plotline, but it can be great fun in the right hands. And writer Al Ewing looks to be the man for the job, having proven over the past couple of years that if a new spin is possible on a superhero trope, he'll find it. This issue is set-up, but as a fan of his Loki and Mighty Avengers runs, I know the fun is only beginning.
The fun here includes the civilian identities of the Avengers of 20XX (is that 2020 or somewhere farther away?); Power Man's attempt to amp up his powers with AIM tech; and the New Avengers' tiniest engineer.
Tippy-Toe doing the wiring? That's not going to end well...
It's impressive that Ewing can plug the silliness of Squirrel Girl into a very serious story and make it seem natural. I cannot wait to see the reaction of future Billy Kaplan to our bushy heroine - I doubt she'll have as easy a time of it as she might in her own delightfully daft series. And the interactions between the others members of the two groups promise to be interesting, to say the least.
Gerardo Sandoval's art is growing on me. Actually, I think he's getting better, dialing down the spikiness of previous issues and working on his storytelling. His 20XX hero designs are appealing, and there's no denying the dynamism of his pages. Plus, future Billy is seriously creepy.
The colours of Dono Sánchez Almara help a lot, being intense but not overwhelming, though he could usefully give AIM scientist Toni Ho, whose pink hair makes her look confusingly like the so-far underused Songbird, a colour rinse. Or perhaps Sandoval could just redesign Ms Ho and, while he's at it, the ridiculous Evil Reed Richards, the Maker. I mean, look at this leftover from the Ultimate line.
Letterer Chris Eliopoulos does his usual fine job, while Oscar Jimenez smartly flips New Avengers #1's cover design.
Can Al Ewing and friends outdo Days of Future Past so far as time-twisting stories go? I heartily recommend you jump onto this story and find out.