Written by: Jonathan Hickman
Art by: Jerome Opena
The new twice a month Avengers book is sort of a flagship title in the Marvel NOW! initiative. The initiative doesn’t recreate the wheel but it does give the wheel a new coating of tread. The idea is to take existing characters in existing comic book continuity and set them on a completely new path starting a completely new story. So if you’re new to the books are a returning lapsed reader you can jump into these now books and as long as you have a passing knowledge of the characters then you’re good to go. In fact even if you don’t know all these characters who they are is being defined in the overall story.
Issue #1 of the Avengers set the path for this new story. The idea is that threats to Earth are getting bigger and not just global but Universal. For the Avengers to properly be able to defend the planet against these new enemies and deal with these more epic, cosmic, situations the team has to grow much bigger and much more powerful. Even if you didn’t read issue #1 of this new series the basic set up is synopsized in the first page of this book. Captain America and Iron Man have devised a list of the “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” and they’ve set off on a recruiting tour bringing in Wolverine, Spider-Man, captain Marvel, and tons of lesser known characters such as Cannonball and Smasher. So the team will have a very familiar (almost movie like?) group of heroes and there will be this huge roster of additional heroes that can be called upon to help deal with a situation where their particular abilities would be a benefit. A perfect example is there is one hero who can easily travel through space and time. Well cap and the boys need to go to Mars to deal with all new enemy. So, this new guy is called in to get them there because waiting on an Avengers plane to be retrofitted for space travel was going to take too long.
The recruiting phase of this book did feel a little been there done that but there are little sprinkles of great dialogue either in Tony Stark’s smartass tone, Captain America’s predictably patriotic approach, and a brief bit with Spidey that’s all him and really funny. So what could have simply been ho hum and simply a required part of this new story to get through is made entertaining by Jonathan Hickman’s true understanding of the characters and clever approach to the writing. The goals of these completely brand new villains are somewhat familiar to fans of Marvel’s cosmic books but again Hickman manages to elevate these bad guys through his writing of them. I’m fascinated by them and can’t wait to learn more about them, and I can’t wait until they have to face off against an Avengers army!
The second installment of this new Avengers book was highly entertaining if a little simplistic. If I were going to complain about anything it feels like Hickman is rushing to get through his initial concept of what these new Avengers are going to be so he can get into the meat of their adventure. So basically Cap and Iron Man came up with a cool idea to blow up the team and suddenly they “make it so”. As much as that might be a complaint I’m glad he’s getting through this part of the story. Most of the time the origin of the story is the most boring part but it is required so that a perspective on who people are and why they make the decisions they do is easily apparent. So we have that now in two issues of Avengers and we can move forward with what looks to be a grand adventure.
Overall the artwork here is fantastic. Jerome Opena gives us distinct and detailed characters, even standing up nicely under the zoomed in digital assisted view of the Marvel Comics app. There are a few instances where the color and character design jump from the visually pleasing cinematic feel to something more traditional in the next panel. Both approaches are good but the artists need to decide which approach they want to use and stick with that one. With that said though generally this book is a visual feast.
Avengers has proven itself with the first and now second installment that it is the most important book in the Marvel NOW! Franchise of books. Go buy it, get ready intended pun coming in 3…..2……1…..go buy it “NOW!”
Overall (Not an Average) 9/10
The Issue 9/10
The Art 8.5/10