Review: ‘New Avengers’ #1
The ‘Secret Wars’ are over. Well, they’re not REALLY over yet, but according to the release schedule of Marvel’s next big thing, ‘All-New All-Different Marvel’, the blockbuster comic book event of the Summer is sort of over. Just ignore the facts that there are two more issues of the event left to be released, most of the tie-ins haven’t wrapped yet, and these debut issues of Marvel’s newest status quo, at least to some extent, spoil an event that’s still on-going! I’m not sure I understand this release strategy, but I digress. Out of the handful of ‘All-New All-Different’ debut titles I’ve read, most of them have been quite good despite the out-of-order storytelling, and ‘New Avengers’ #1 is absolutely no different.
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While the ‘All-New All-Different’ moniker is certainly fitting for this debut issue of ‘New Avengers’, there’s a lot of familiar, pre-‘Secret Wars’ plot-lines carried over. Roberto ‘Sunspot’ Da Costa, a billionaire mutant who purchased the super-sciencey, and traditionally evil, Advanced Idea Mechanics to help solve the problem of the Incursions that eventually lead to the ‘Secret Wars’ story-line way back on the last volume of this series, continues to own A.I.M. in the form of what’s been dubbed ‘Avengers Idea Mechanics’. This carryover from Hickman’s run on the last volume was such a terrific idea in both form and function, and I’m happy writer Al Ewing is going to explore this compelling facet of the last status quo in Marvel’s new one.
Ewing pulls together a lot of aspects of a team series in this first issue, and does so with expert skill. Team introductions were solid and interesting with a creative and diverse lineup that includes both fan-favorites and B-Listers. The team’s base of operation, A.I.M. Island, is a scientific utopia full of some of the world’s best and brightest scientists, is splendid in both its inclusion and delivery, adding a layer to this series that has the potential to lift it above your typical team series. A surprise inspection from S.H.I.E.L.D. smoothly establishes A.I.M.’s place in the world, setting up the potential for future plot-lines, while bringing the solid addition of Hawkeye to an already robust cast of teammates. The choice of using Ultimate Reed Richards, A.K.A. The Maker, as the villain for, at least, this first arc only reinforces the overall scientific slant of the series, and while I love The Maker as a character, I really wish this series was dropping after ‘Secret Wars’ (see below). Al Ewing brings all of these elements together to stress a focus, and does so skillfully. The story is so well-crafted and delivered so expertly that it’s impossible not to enjoy.
Gerardo Sandoval’s art style is quite unique, and it’s fun to see his take on this cast of diverse characters. There’s a ton of detail on every page, the panel work is marvelous, and Sandoval’s work is, in a word, fun. His unique style and fun take on the artwork is easily worth the cover price of this book.
The biggest problem I have with this debut issue of ‘New Avengers’ is how it spoils things going on in the currently ongoing event ‘Secret Wars’. The Maker is a HUGE part of that event, and has been for some time, and knowing that he’s going to get out of things seemingly unscathed makes a part of my brain itch, and I just can’t scratch it. Maybe I’m old school, but knowing what happens before it actually happens to any extent just bothers me. But that’s not my only beef.
The overarching focus of Al Ewing’s story in this first issue puts a lot of attention on the advanced science that A.I.M., and this New Avengers team, utilize to get their work done. A snazzy new quinjet that can get anywhere in 20 minutes by traveling halfway to space, anti-gravity belts for each Avengers member (We can all fly now!), even stealth tech and super sensors that rendered our team of heroes invisible and all-seeing, but half of it didn’t even work! No one’s ever really cared how our heroes get into the fight, while invisible Avengers were anything but to a group of villains who were also immune to sensors. What was the point of pushing all of this Big Science if half of it doesn’t work work half of the time? I guess technology is great until it doesn’t work, but it stopped working in the very first issue. I’m just not sure where we go from here, and the main focus of the ish seemed nigh useless when it was needed the most.
Despite a couple of huge flaws, Al Ewing’s writing is pretty top-notch in this debut issue. There’s a fun and interesting cast of characters, a truly neat setting, and lots of potential for all kinds of drama, and despite the out-of-order storytelling trying to ruin the fun, ‘New Avengers’ #1 does not fail to entertain. With the book’s main focus being on A.I.M.’s advanced science, however, and the fact that we’ve already seen that science rendered useless so early on in the series, there’s the potential for things to become redundant, formulaic, and obtuse, but I’m hoping Ewing’s direction and skillful writing style avoid this pitfall. Sandoval’s art is a joy, and if he continues to have fun on this series, we’ll continue to get amazing work on the series.
Story: 3.5 Out of 5
Art: 4.5 Out of 5
Overall: 4 Out of 5