The Avengers franchise is Marvel’s premier super team. This is Marvel answer to DC’s Justice League. Or at least it is supposed to be. Unfortunately, the dumpster fire that is known as the All-New All-Different initiative, has lead to the Avengers falling onto hard time. This once proud flagship title has been reduced to a shadow of its former self due to the All-New All-Different initiative.
Well, Marvel is now scrambling like DC did after the New 52 failed in spectacular fashion. Marvel is trying to mimic DC’s massive success with Rebirth. And one way to do that is to bring back the real Avengers. And you cannot have a proper Avengers squad without the Big Three: Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, and Thor.
Jason Aaron is taking over the Avengers and is bringing Ed McGuinness with him. This is a strong creative team. Aaron is a solid writer. Aaron usually does more good than bad when he gets his hands on a title. McGuinness? He is pure gold when it comes to mainstream super hero artwork.
I fully expect Aaron and McGuinness to reverse the tide for the Avengers and return this premier team back to its former glory. Let’s hit this review for Avengers #1 and see if Aaron and McGuinness delivered the goods.
Words: Jason Aaron
Pencils: Ed McGuiness
Inks: Mark Morales
Colors: David Curiel
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin on Earth one million years ago. We see the Prehistoric Avengers assembled. Odin, Phoenix, Agamotto, Black Panther, Iron Fist, Ghost Rider, and a Hulk Starbrand. Odin raises a mug of mead and toasts their good deaths.
Phoenix questions if this is really the proper time to be drinking. Odin replies that given that they are all about to die that this is an excellent time for drinking. Ghost Rider says that they have defeated a Celestial before and they can do so again. Odin says that the Celestial that they had fought before was severely weakened.
Phoenix says that she never would imagine Odin would run from a fight. Odin swears that he will fight until he has spilled every drop of his holy blood. Odin says after their deaths then his spirit shall find Phoenix and he will make love to her in the ashes of infinity for a billion years. (Wow. That is a hell of a pickup line.)
Odin says that the two of them will build creation again. Phoenix replies that Odin has a fine idea. But, perhaps they simply skill anything that dares stand in their way. That they kill it with fire. (Damn. My boy, Odin, got shot out of the saddle.)
Odin says, “Gods. I love that woman.” The prehistoric Avengers then all take off toward the off panel threat. Odin says that they are the mightiest force ever assembled up on the face of this primitive planet.
We then see out heroes charging forward toward five Celestials. These Celestials represent the First Celestial Host. Agamotto comments that they should not be worried about what happens of they fail to save the world. Agamotto says that perhaps they should be worried about what happens if they succeed in saving the world. We see three cavemen battling each other to get to the barrel of Odin’s mead.
We shift to Earth in the present day. We see Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, and Thor meeting together at a bar for drinks. (Steve has a beer, Thor has mead, and Tony has a Shirley Temple.) The men toast to all having returned. Tony toast the future. Steve chimes in a toast for old days and the Avengers.
Tony asks Steve why they couldn’t even go one drink without mentioning the “A-word.” Thor then orders more drinks. Steve says that it feels like a million years since he has said the word “Avengers.” Tony comments how it feels great to not be brain dead anymore. Steve comments that Tony was in a coma for just a few weeks. That Steve was frozen in ice for 40 years. Thor says he remembers when he broke into his father’s cask-house and drank all of his mead. Thor says that he wishes he still had Mjolnir. But, it would not even allow him to lift it now.
Tony says look at them. Hydra Cap, Unworthy Thor, and Coma Tony. That it has been tough for them as of late, but they are all good as new now. Steve says that they need to brink back the Avengers. Tony says that they are not the ones to do that anymore. That it is time for them to step aside. Steve says it is time for them to step up in the way only they can. (Amen to that.)
Tony says that they are not as special as they used to be. Tony says that he could name twenty names off the top of his head who could take what they built and make it something completely new and exciting. (And barely sell 20,000 units a month, too!)
Steve says that sometimes old is new. (Also very true.) Steve says that they will have to do this at some point. They always have to. That they need to be ready.
Tony says that they have tried that before. It was too unwieldy and expensive. Steve says they can be lean with the three of them at the core. Like it was at the beginning. (Ah, good times.)
Thor then interrupts and says that it must be the three of them to start the Avengers. That the three of them need this. Now more than ever. That the three of them need each other. That they cannot run from that. Thor says “My brothers, we must embrace it.”
Tony then asks Steve who he is supposed to be embracing this time around? Steve answers that they will know when they know. Tony then says that he guesses it has been decided. By the two ancient farts. Tony says that all that is left is for them to sit around and wait for some startling new calamity to suddenly arrive.
Suddenly, Tony’s A.I., Motherboard, interrupts and says that satellites are detecting multiple energy fluctuations in near Earth orbit. That they are massive and of an unknown origin.
Steve grabs his shield and says that this settles it. Steve is about to say “Avengers Assemble” but Tony cuts Steve off before he can finish saying it. Tony says if Steve says “Avengers Assemble” then Cap can pick up Thor’s tab. Thor retorts that he always pays his own debts and then asks if the bar takes rune stones.
We then cut to two miles below the plains of South Africa. We see Black Panther and Dr. Strange investigating the deaths of the archeologists who found the Celestial that the prehistoric Avengers defeated. Black Panther shows Dr. Strange the cave drawings of the symbols of Odin, Phoenix, Dr. Strange, Black Panther, Ghost Rider, Starbrand, and Iron Fist.
Dr. Strange then says that he can detect Agamotto’s magic in the area. Dr. Strange says that Agamotto’s magic was used to guard something very large and alive. Dr. Strange says that fear, loneliness and rage still stain the walls of the cave.
Dr. Strange says that they need the Avengers on this. Black Panther responds that there is no Avengers. (Some might say that there has not been an Avengers for several years now.) Black Panther points out the symbols of the various heroes on the cave walls. Black Panther says that they have been there since the Stone Age. That whatever his happening here that they are already involved and have been so for a very long time. Black Panther and Dr. Strange then descend even farther below into the Earth looking for whatever was trapped here in this location.
We slide over to East LA. We see Robbie Reyes talking to Gabe. Robbie tells Gabe that his car has been acting strange and for Gabe to stay away from the car for now. Robbie looks at the hood of the muscle car and sees Ghost Rider staring back at him. (Yeah, Ghost Rider on the Avengers still feels stupid.)
We zip over to the Upper West Side of Manhattan. We see Jennifer Walters walking with her earbuds in her ears. Some stereotypical dirt bag guys are hanging out. One of the stereotypical dirtbag guys sexually propositions Jen. (In the Upper West Side of Manhattan? In an area that is considered one of the wealthiest neighborhood in New York City? In an area that is also considered the cultural and intellectual hub of New York City? Home of Columbia University and Barnard College along with the Lincoln Center fro the Performing Arts? Really?)
Jen momentarily She-Hulk’s out and says “Leave me alone!” The stereotypical dirtbag guy then runs away. Jen whispers to herself to keep it together. To not She-Hulk out. To just keep walking.
We then cut to Alpha Flight Station. (This complete failure of a gimmick is still around? Wow.) We see Carol Danvers flying off to investigate a warp-hole that has appeared near the space station. Carol says she is going to punch whoever comes out of it back to where they came from. (Ummmmm…and if it is a peaceful race of aliens? Carol is just going to attack them without provocation?)
We then see a giant Celestial hand come out of the warp-hole.
We cut to Tony, Steve and Thor in a quinjet. Thor says he is going to fly into space and see what is going on. Tony says that it isn’t necessary for Thor to fly to space. That whatever it is it is already coming down to them.
We hop back to the center of the Earth. Dr. Strange comments how his magic protects him from the massive pressure from being miles below the surface. Dr. Strange asks how Black Panther is not affected by the pressure. Dr. Strange then says “Never mind, I nearly forgot. You’re the Black Panther.” (Huhbutwhat? There is so much stupid to unpack from this. First, why would Dr. Strange forget that T’Challa is the Black Panther. T’Challa is literally dressed in a Black Panther costume! And Dr. Strange has known T’Challa forever. This is not a new gimmick for T’Challa. Second, since when is the Black Panther super powered enough to withstand pressure that would turn a normal human to goo and burn?)
Our heroes see millions of eggs. Some or dormant and some are not.
We hop back to East LA and see Robbie concerned that his Ghost Rider car is making him do crazy things like when it made him fight the Starbrand guy in Africa. (See Marvel Legacy #1)
Suddenly, the ground beneath Robbie bursts open. Weird alien insects come out of the ground and attack Robbie. Robbie turns into Ghost Rider and starts battling the creatures.
We hop back to deep below the surface. We see the same aline insects come out of the eggs. Dr. Strange tells Black Panther that they need to leave now.
We zip back to New York. We see that a dead Celestial has landed in the waterfront. Wee see Carol next to the dead Celestial. Tony, Steve and Thor land the quinjet and check in on Carol. Carol says that she did her best to try and slow the dead Celestial down on its way to hitting Earth. Carol says that hundreds of other portals have just appeared. And dead Celestial bodies are raining out of the portals.
We see dead Celestials landing all over Earth and destroying portions of cities wherever they impact with the Earth.
We cut to Ghost Rider battling the alien insects. We then see Dr. Strange and Black Panther battling the alien insects. We see Carol trying to slow down as many of the falling dead Celestials as she can. We see Jen staring at the dead Celestial in Manhattan.
We shift to Tony, Steve and Thor. Tony says that if the Celestials are so mind-bogglingly all-powerful then what the hell is strong enough to kill them? Steve says that it appears they now have an answer to Tony’s question.
We then see Final Host appear on the scene. We see six Celestials standing before our heroes. One of them looks like a Grim Reaper styled Celestial.
We see Tony Stark getting into his suit of armor. We see Steve putting on his Captain America mask. Thor stands next to them. Tony asks, “Anything else you wanna add before we do this Captain America?” Steve replies, “Only one thing comes to mind, Iron Man.” Thor says, “Aye!” Steve says, “All right.”
We then see our three iconic heroes posing like the badass heroes they are as Captain America yells, “Avengers Assemble!” End of issue.
The Good: Avengers #1 is all about one thing: spotlighting the return of the Holy Trinity. Like it or love it, Tony Stark, Steve Rogers and Thor are the Holy Trinity of the Avengers Universe. They form the foundation for this franchise in both the 616 Universe of the comic books and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Aaron’s number one mission with Avengers #1 and this new relaunch of the Avengers flagship title is to return Marvel’s answer to the Justice League back to their rightful position as the premier super hero team of the 616 Universe. And, much like the Justice League needs Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, the Avengers needs Tony Stark, Steve Rogers and Thor.
The Avengers franchise has been on hard times since Hickman’s departure from this franchise. To be fair, it is all Marvel’s own doing that has caused the Avengers franchise to get run into the ground. There is no excuse for Marvel’s flagship title in the Avengers to not be the best selling team title each and every month. However, due to Marvel’s poor decision making during the ill-fated All-New All-Different initiative, the Avengers flagship title has suffered in terms of sales numbers and popularity.
Marvel, now going through what DC went through after the disastrous New 52 turned into a raging dumpster fire, is quickly and desperately trying to reverse course and win back alienated readers. One way to do that? Bring back the big guns. The icons. The Holy Trinity of the Avengers.
Aaron does an excellent job placing the spotlight directly on Tony, Steve and Thor through out this issue. While Aaron does introduce the entire roster for this new Avengers’ team there is no doubt that Tony, Steve, and Thor are the focus of this issue. The Avengers’ Holy Trinity serve as the foundation of this new team and are the spine that hold this issue’s story together.
Aaron does a nice job with Tony, Steve, and Thor. Each of the three men are well written. Aaron displays a nice feel for the various personalities of each icon. There is no doubt that the Marvel Cinematic Universe versions of these three characters is bleeding into the 616 Universe versions of these characters. It is hard not to hear Robert Downey, Jr’s voice in the quippy humor full of sarcastic humor that Aaron crafts for Tony. It is also hard not to hear Chris Hemsworth in Thor’s more jocular tone reminiscent of Thor Ragnarok that Aaron places into Thor’s dialogue. It is only Aaron’s Steve Rogers that is relatively straight forward in terms of dialogue. Aaron’s Steve just sounds like classic Steve.
Aaron’s strongest dialogue was reserved for Tony, Steve, and Thor. This is where Aaron succeeded in delivering the best dialogue and the most unique external voices. Aaron’s best character work was also reserved for Tony, Steve, and Thor. Aaron delivers each character with plenty fo depth and well fleshed out personalities.
Aaron’s quality character work and dialogue on the Holy Trinity leads to there being excellent chemistry between these three icons. The reader gets a strong sense of the bond that ties these three men together. The friendship forged in battle is palpable in this issue. The strong character work with Tony, Steve, and Thor was the heart of this issue and is what made this issue such an enjoyable read.
We have gone years having to endure the Avengers franchise being torn apart and having to see various Avengers pitted against each other over and over again. That is all we have gotten on the Avengers since Bendis took over with Disassembled. Personally, I have more than enough of it for a lifetime. Therefore, it was absolutely delightful and as refreshing as the cool ocean breeze to see Tony, Steve, and Thor all embracing each other and acting like true loving friends. I am more than ready for this more positive take on the core foundation of the Avengers.
I also loved how Aaron had Tony initially resistant to the formation of the Avengers. It was necessary for Aaron to address the criticisms from a vocal minority about the decision to firmly re-establish Tony, Steve, and Thor as the foundation for the Avengers. Aaron uses Tony to rightly point out the defects in how the Avengers has operated in the past. Also, Aaron has Tony address how sometimes change is good since it keeps things fresh and new.
At this point, Aaron then smartly uses Steve to knock down the criticisms by having Steve point out that often old is what is new again. This is a very true statement that we have seen over and over again through out history. Aaron then effectively uses Steve’s sense of honor and commitment with Thor’s passion and feelings of brotherhood to effectively explain why the Avengers must exist and why it must be Tony, Steve, and Thor who serve as the backbone for any Avengers team.
This impressive work done in the beginning of the issue to effectively explain why Tony, Steve, and Thor must reform the Avengers and embrace their position within the franchise as the Big Three was then brought to a satisfying climax at the end of Avengers #1.
Aaron has Tony resistant to even saying the world “Avengers” or “Avengers Assemble.” By making Tony resistant to it all makes the tension in the reader build up as the reader wants to see the Avengers’ Big Three finally embrace their pivotal roles within the Avengers. Therefore, when we arrive at the conclusion and Aaron has Tony finally ask Cap to say “it” the reader is ready to explode with excitement.
The dramatic final page of this issue with our iconic heroes striking heroic poses with Captain America yelling, “Avengers Assemble!” makes the reader’s heart skip a beat and the hair on the back of their neck stand on end. This is how you deliver a dramatic payoff moment that gets the reader all pumped up for the next issue.
After Tony, Steve, and Thor, the next characters of this new roster that got the most attention would be Dr. Strange and Black Panther. Aaron is already familiar with Dr. Strange after handling his title for a twenty issue run. Having said that, I am not the biggest fan of how Aaron scripts Dr. Strange.
On the other hand, Aaron’s handling of Black Panther’s character was enjoyable. Aaron properly got Black Panther over as a top flight character who has the respect and admiration of his peers. Black Panther has the gravitas and pedigree that makes him a natural fit for the Avengers.
All in all, Aaron has been presented with a good roster to begin this new chapter of the Avengers franchise. With the exception of Ghost Rider, this is a smart and enjoyable collection of characters.
Obviously, returning Tony, Steve, and Thor to their rightful positions as the foundation for the Avengers makes this new roster incredibly strong and compelling. However, the other additions to this roster are also appealing and make sense.
The cynic may point to the additions of Dr. Strange and Black Panther to the roster as editorial decisions driven by the fact that both characters are prominent members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I think this applies far more to Dr. Strange than it does Black Panther. Dr. Strange has zero connection with the Avengers. However, Dr. Strange is part of the Illuminati and is an important cornerstone in the 616 Universe for all things that are magic.
While the addition of Dr. Strange to the Avengers is a bit forced I am actually okay with it. Dr. Strange is increasingly important to the 616 Universe as tentpole character. As he should be. So, it is perfectly logical to have one of your tentpole characters added to the Avengers. Dr. Strange’s addition to the Avengers also gives the team more diversity in terms of style of character and powers. A magic caster always presents the reader with a highly useful literary tool in crafting stories and conflicts for the heroes to tackle.
Black Panther is also an excellent addition to the Avengers. Black Panther has a long history with the Avengers dating all the way back to Avengers #52 in 1968 when Black Panther first joined the Avengers. Black Panther is another tentpole character for the Marvel Universe and is a long-time Avengers. So, this is another wise addition to the team.
She-Hulk is another fantastic addition to the Avengers. She-Hulk has a long history of being Avenger dating all the way back to Avengers #221 in 1982. I love Jen’s character and am looking forward to carrying on the tradition of a Hulk being on the Avengers roster.
Now, I personally not like the mannish re-make of Carol Danvers in her uncreative role as Captain Marvel. And I may not be thrilled that Carol has been morphed from a unique character to an agenda driven caricature. But, there is no doubting Carol’s strong connections to the Avengers. I loved Carol’s character back when she first appeared as Ms. Marvel in Ms. Marvel #1 back in 1977. Carol was an awesome character who truly blossomed in an amazing Avenger that culminated with her leading Dan Slott’s Mighty Avengers. Carol has a long history with the Avengers and it makes perfect sense for her to be on the team.
That leaves Robbie Reyes as the weak link on the team and the only character that does not belong on this roster. But, more on that later.
From a technical standpoint, Avengers #1 is well crafted. Aaron delivers a nicely paced and plotted issue. The story has a good blend of slower dialogue heavy scenes and dynamic action packed scenes. The balanced nature of this issue makes it a pleasant read and offers something for just about any type of reader.
Aaron also impresses with his ability to perform all the necessary tasks of a debut issue of a new title. Aaron quickly introduces each member of the roster. Aaron gives the reader a good sense of each member’s personality in a succinct and effective manner. Aaron also clearly conveys the mission statement for this incarnation of the Avengers and why the various members are going to end up agreeing to join this newest iteration of the Avengers. Aaron then swiftly installs the main conflict in this opening story arc.
I love Aaron’s idea for this opening story arc involving the Celestials and the Final Host. As long time readers know, I am a massive Jack Kirby fan. The Celestials are a fantastic Sci Fi concept that I have always enjoyed. The Celestials are a classic Jack Kirby concept that first appeared in The Eternals #2 back in 1976. Kirby’s Eternals was a phenomenal read. That title was chock full of the dense and high concept Sci Fi mythology that Kirby is well known for.
Kirby explained the Celestials and the Host visits and their purpose in his Eternals. Aaron does a nice job building off of what Kirby created and doing so in a respectful and intelligent fashion. For those who never read Kirby’s Eternals, the Celestials are cosmic god-like beings who travel the universe shaping the evolution of life on various chosen planets which the Celestials have judged having the needed ingredients for an effective “seeding.”
When the Celestials first visit a planet it is called the First Host. This occurs when a planet first develops primitive life. Aaron shows us the First Host that Kirby referenced in the Eternals in Avengers #1 when the Celestials arrive as primitive life has sprouted on Earth and the Prehistoric Avengers gather to deal with those Celestials.
Kirby explained that the First Host collects a number of the primitive natives and being genetic testing on them to determine the during evolution of the primitive natives. The Celestials create three subspecies of the primitive natives. The three sub-species are the Eternals, the Deviants and the majority sub-species considered to be the “normal” strain. This would be regular humans in the case of Earth.
The “normal” strain would have the option to be modified at some point in the future. The First Host on Earth implanted a special code in humans that was revealed to be the source of the ability of select random humans to develop super powers upon expose to dangerous environmental materials. It also allowed for mutations to occur which caused the existence of super powers in mutants.
In the Celestials, Kirby created what would serve as the foundation for the mythology of the 616 Universe, its creation and the very existence of super heroes.
The Celestials return for follow-up visits. Each subsequent visit is called a “Host.” During these Hosts then monitor the planet’s progress and make any modifications that they deem necessary for the planet and the native species. There have been several Hosts in the 616 Universe. There was a Second Host when the Celestials sunk Atlantis. There was a Third Host in the 1980’s. There was a Fourth Host in the early 1990’s.
Aaron takes Kirby’s concept of the Celestials and the Hosts and runs with it in Avengers #1. Aaron is preparing a cool Kirby styled cosmic story that is right with Marvel’s history. However, Aaron is looking to add his own stamp to this concept and evolve Kirby’s concept even further. What I appreciate is the respect that Aaron conveys in handling Kirby’s concept and the respect that Aaron has for Marvel’s rich history.
Yet, at the same time, Aaron is clearly looking to add something new to what Kirby first created. Aaron definitely wants to take this concept and evolve it and create something new and exciting. It is clear that Aaron has done his research. I greatly appreciate this approach that Aaron is taking with this handling of the Final Host.
The moment when the Final Host arrives on Earth is indeed awe inspiring. My jaw was hanging open. This was a dramatic moment that immediately got me incredibly excited for what Aaron has in store for us with this story. The Final Host should be an epic fun ride. I look forward to seeing where Aaron goes from here.
The second threat that Aaron unveils in Avengers #1 are the alien bugs who hatch from the eggs deep under the Earth’s surface. These alien bugs are a bit more generic in nature. I am curious to see how these alien bugs relate to the Celestials and the Final Host.
I also dig Aaron continuing to flesh out his new concept of the Prehistoric Avengers that we first saw in Marvel Legacy #1. I liked how Aaron used the ancient Marvel mantles in the 616 Universe and integrated them into the foundation for the 616 Universe. The mantles of Sorcerer Supreme, Black Panther, Iron Fist, Ghost Rider and Starbrand along with two immortal cosmic characters in Phoenix and Odin all cover pretty much every aspect of the 616 Universe. I also love the concept of these mantles being mystical and eternal and that get passed down from generation to generation.
Aaron takes this new take on the 616 Universe and runs with it even further in Avengers #1. I enjoy these tweaks that Aaron keeps placing on the Marvel Universe. They are all intriguing and I am interested in seeing where Aaron goes from here.
At any rate, Aaron does an incredible job constructing several threats to our heroes that lead to an excellent hook ending. There is no doubt that the reader is brought to the very edge of their seat with this ending and are left clamoring for more. Aaron did his job in hooking the reader and getting them to come back for more.
Aaron most definitely sold the reader on what type of title the Avengers is going to be and what kind of story the reader can expect to get on this title. Aaron’s Avengers is going to be a premier team title with a strong collection of characters who take on grand cosmic threats. The focus of the Avengers is going to be on entertainment and fun. Period. Which is what mainstream super hero comics should be striving for in the first place.
Aaron also engages in some soft tweaking of the 616 Universe’s timeline. Steve mentions how he was on ice during the first 40 Super Bowls. This means that Steve was thawed out of ice by the Avengers in 2007. Honestly, this means very little to me. Marvel is well known for constantly massaging their timelines. A good example is how Warren Ellis massaged Tony’s history so that he went from becoming Iron Man during the Vietnam War to him becoming Iron Man during the Second Gulf War. Therefore, what Aaron does in Avengers #1 is what Marvel has always done in the past.
Ed McGuinness and Mark Morales combine to deliver some absolutely fantastic artwork. Seriously, Avengers #1 is a gorgeous issue. McGuinness’ style of art is a perfect match for the Avengers. McGuinness and Morales deliver classic super hero style art that is slick and detailed. The artwork is incredibly dynamic. The action scenes leap off the page at the reader.
McGuinness is equally talented at delivering dialogue heavy scenes as he is in delivering epic double page splash shots. McGuinness is able to inject so much personality and emotion into the story. Much of that is due to McGuinness doing an excellent job with the characters’ facial expressions.
I also appreciated McGuinness’ panel layouts. The diversity of the styles and sizes of the panels are highly creative. The result are panel layouts that are visually stimulating and exciting.
McGuinness’ art is able to add so much more intensity and emotion to Aaron’s story. McGuinness’ artwork easily matches the grand cosmic scope of Aaron’s story.
The Bad: Avengers #1 was a fun issue, but it was far from perfect. Aaron’s dialogue was a weak point for this issue. While I did enjoy the dialogue between Tony, Steve, and Thor, the remainder of the dialogue in this issue was less than impressive.
The dialogue in the prehistoric Avengers scene is pretty bad. Aaron gives the reader some incredibly cheesy and groan inducing dialogue. It becomes distracting and begins to pull the reader out of the story.
The dialogue for Dr. Strange is average at best and down right atrocious at worst. First, I am still not a fan of Dr. Strange having “jokey” dialogue. It just is not consistent with Dr. Strange’s established core character traits. Plus, it lessens the enjoyment of characters like Tony or Thor who naturally have that type of external voice. If everyone is “jokey” then it simply serves to give all the characters the same external voice and waters down the character work.
Also, Aaron, in his attempt to force more “witty” and “jokey” casual dialogue for Dr. Strange simply results in Aaron making Dr. Strange sound like an idiot. The scene where Dr. Strange asks out loud how Black Panther can withstand the pressure of being under the surface and then follows that up with him forgetting that T’Challa is the Black Panther was just stupid. It made Dr. Strange look like a complete bubble headed idiot. Forcing casual “jokey” dialogue on a character where it is not warranted almost always backfires and the result is the reader gets pulled out of the story.
In addition to some suspect dialogue, Aaron’s character work was unimpressive with She-Hulk, Ghost Rider and Carol Danvers. First, let’s talk about She-Hulk. I am a massive fan of Jen Walters’ character. She is such a cool character who has always been portrayed as sexy, intelligent, capable, confident and inspiring. I loved that She-Hulk was a successful attorney and a badass hero but was still all woman and not ashamed of her beauty. And I loved how Jen would inspire those around her.
Unfortunately, what Aaron gives us is a Jen Walters that appears to be an unoriginal rip-off of Bruce Banner. What a shame. How Marvel would allow a unique and compelling character like Jen Walters to be reduced to a one-dimensional and original rip-off of the original Hulk is beyond me. The She-Hulk that we get in Avengers #1 is nothing more than character regression as Jen loses what makes her a unique character who has her own identity.
Next is Carol Danvers. Poor Carol continues to be written in a bland and generic manner. This is nothing new. This has been plaguing Carol’s character since the failed Captain Marvel make-over took that has failed to gain any sales success in the myriad of titles that Marvel has given her over and over again since the All-New All-Different initiative began. Poor Carol has lost her unique character and personality and has had it replaced with a generic personality whose primary purpose is to get over Marvel’s editorial agenda.
Last up is Robbie Reyes. This is the only character that has no business being on the Avengers. Ghost Rider has no real connection or history with the Avengers. Ghost Rider is a character that feels out of place on a title like the Avengers. On top of that, Robbie Reyes is easily the worst of all the Ghost Riders that Marvel has given us.
And this pains me to say since I always am banging the drum for more Hispanic characters in the 616 Universe. But, the fact is that being a quota is not enough. Robbie’s character is simply lame. Sadly, Robbie is not a good character with a good story that makes sense and fits logically with the Avengers. Robbie stands out like a fart in the elevator compared to the rest of the new roster for the Avengers.
Overall: Avengers #1 was a solid start to this new direction for the franchise. Aaron definitely has a cool concept in place for the opening story arc. Avengers has massive potential. If Aaron can tighten up just a few things then I think we are in store for a really fun time on this title.
Aaron and McGuinness are certainly going to deliver an Avengers title that focuses on adventure and fun first and foremost. This new Avengers title should definitely appeal to a large cross section of comic book readers. If you like classic super hero action and adventure mixed with high concept Science Fiction then you need run out and get Avengers #1 immediately.