It is finally here. The All New All Different Avengers #1. This is an odd issue for me. On one hand, you have the fact that I am a massive Mark Waid fan. I always have been. I am not saying that Waid is perfect. He is not. He has had his fair share of clunkers in the past. However, on a whole, I have always respected Waid and enjoyed his work.
On the other hand, you have a roster of C-list characters masquerading as the Avengers and an agenda for this franchise that seems to be based more on pandering than being based on some intelligent and interesting ideas. I am not sure how I am going to react to this debut issue. Let’s hit this review and find out!
“All New All Different Avengers Assemble!”
Words: Mark Waid
Art: Adam Kubert
Colors: Sonia Obak
Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10
“You’re a Jerk!”
Words: Mark Waid
Art: Mahmud Asrar
Colors: Dave McCaig
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The main story begins with Ms. Marvel telling Nova that he is a jerk. The caption says “Avengers Assemble.” (I already feel as if I am losing IQ points.) We shift back to 12 hours earlier. We see Captain Falcon rescuing the occupants of a vehicle that ran off a bridge. He lands on the bridge and the family that he saved thank him for rescuing them. A ton of bystanders all whip out their iPhones and start recording the scene. One guy mutters “Not my Captain America.” (Yup. There is no better business decision than to troll your most loyal customer base. Brilliant move.)
We see that a troop of Girl Scouts are conveniently on the scene. They all scream out for Captain Falcon to buy their girl scout cookies. Unfortunately, Sam only has $5 on him. Naturally, the assembled Girl Scouts conveniently have a girl of every race. A little white one, an Asian one, a Hispanic one and a black one. The bystanders start buzzing about which girl will Captain Falcon choose. (Yes. Race based gimmicks are always so entertaining.)
Sam then spies Tony Stark in the crowd. Tony is smirking at Sam. Sam motions to Tony if he has any money. Tony opens his wallet to show that it is empty. Sam doesn’t know what to do in order to avoid seeming racist. (This is truly thrilling. It is scenes like this one which is why I purchase Avengers comics.) Sam then suddenly yells “Who wants their picture with Tony Stark?” Suddenly, the bystanders all shift their iPhones and attention to Tony. They all scream out “Iron Man!”
We then see Sam and Tony posing with the Girl Scouts for pictures. Sam says there is nothing more he enjoys than Tony pretending to like children. Sam tells Tony to smile for the cameras. Tony then tells Sam to hop into his fancy hi-tech car. Tony tells Sam he will give Sam and his “eagle” a lift. Sam says that Redwing is a falcon. Tony replies that an eagle would be better branding and for Sam to tell Redwing to mind the upholstery. (Riveting. This may be the most exhilarating start to a new Avengers series that I can remember.)
Tony’s car then blasts off into the air. They then fly through Manhattan. Sam talks about how being Captain America has been harder than he thought it would be. That everyone has a camera and everyone is trying to agenda-izing Sam’s every move into a racially based narrative. (Uuuuh, kind of like….the entire All New All Different Marvel Universe concept…)
Tony asks if Sam and Steve Rogers have talked yet since their big blowout. Sam says that he and Steve are still not talking. (Who doesn’t hate each other these days? Tony and Steve don’t get along. Sam and Steve don’t get along. I hate it when Mommy and Daddy right.)
They blow past the old Avengers Tower. We see a crew removing the “A” from the tower. We learn how Tony had to sell the Avengers Tower to get some money in order to try and save his company that collapsed while Tony was off galavanting around in space. (I thought Pepper had that shit on lockdown.)
Tony says that the Avengers do not need the Tower anyway. That Sunspot has Avengers Island with an Avengers team and Steve has his team that is actually the Unity Guard. So, Tony does not feel the need for another Avengers team. (Yes. The voice of sanity and reason!)
We cut to inside Avengers Tower. We see a man in a suit ordering around workers who are removing the last of Tony Stark’s “junk.” Suddenly, there is a burst of energy and a Chitauri warrior appears on the scene. (Gotta use the Chitauri! That is called synergy, baby! Making the ANAD Marvel Universe more like the Marvel Movie U with each and every day.)
The man in the suit speaks Chitauri to the warrior. The man says that he is good with languages. The man says that there are 192 words for “hate” and that “you should be on Twitter.” (Uh, okay, that was extremely forced just so Waid could get his shot in against the Twitter critics, I guess.)
The Chitauri warrior blasts a laser at the man in the suit. The man bends the laser beam so that it misses him. The warrior tries to teleport away from the scene by the main in the suit freezes the warrior in his tracks. The man says that he is the warrior’s ally. Especially an ally against Nova. We learn that this Chitauri warrior fought Nova in the pages of Nova #3.
The man in the suit says that the warrior should not assume that his human form is really his true human form. The man says that a millennia ago, another Chitauri warrior visited Earth and left behind an artifact that was broken into three pieces. That assembling these pieces will create a weapon that will allow them to conquer the human race.
Suddenly, the man senses that they are being watched. We then see Miles Morales on the scene. (He has cloaking powers?) Miles engages in Peter Parker styled “witty” banter. The man in the suit blasts Miles who then smashes though the wall of the Tower and is high in the air and then begins to drop like a rock.
Captain Falcon races out of Tony’s car and saves a bystander from some of the debris from the building. Tony Stark is on the spot and reaches out of his car and grabs Mile’s ankle. Miles says that a big angry alien attacked him. Tony says that he will meet Miles back in the building.
Tony’s car then transforms into Hulk Buster style Iron Man armor. (Okay, now that was cool.) Iron Man smashes into the Tower and attacks the man in the suit and the Chitauri warrior. Miles and Captain Falcon then arrive on the scene and stand behind Iron Man.
The Chitauri warrior powers up and lets out a massive energy blast. The blast takes down Iron Man, Captain Falcon and Miles. The warrior says that this was easier than he expected. That before sun down that this world will be his. End of story.
“You’re a Jerk!”
We begin with Kamala standing there as her friends, Bruno and Nakia, argue about who is the greatest avengers. Bruno says Hulk and Nakia says Captain Falcon. (They are both high.) Kamala says that the best Avengers is Captain Marvel. Nakia says that no matter what they can agree that the best Avenger is not Wolverine. (Jesus. Even X-23 is an Avengers now?!) Kamala says that the new Wolverine is awesome. Bruno calls the new Wolverine much hotter than the old one. (And my brain is about to shut down in order to prevent the stupid from infecting my very soul.)
Suddenly, there is a massive boom outside that rescues us from this scene. We see Nova (Sam flavor) outside battling a giant monster. Ms. Marvel pulls open her jacket Superman style to show off her Ms. Marvel costume. (Sorry. It’s only cool when Clark Kent does it. For everyone else? You come off like a lame ass NFL football player.) Ms. Marvel joins the fight and Nova immediately thinks “Whoa. I think I am in love. With the girl. That’s Ms. Marvel.” (No. No. No. I don’t care if Sam is a teen-age boy. This is absolutely unrealistic.)
So, Sam predictably beings to be a show-off as he blasts into the monster. Ms. Marvel predictably reacts offended that such brute force was not necessary against the creature because it is “innocent.” (Uhhhh, Ms. Marvel just arrived on the scene and knowns absolutely nothing about this creature. How does she know it is “innocent?”) Then Ms. Marvel blames Nova for causing collateral damage by ruining a local dry cleaner’s building. Ms. Marvel then throws the creature into a vacant lot so they can continue the fight without destroying anything.
Ms. Marvel asks where the creature came from. Nova says that the creature is from the Microverse. (Yeah! Home of the greatest Marvel team ever: The Micronauts! And a kickass toy-line, too.) Nova then says “You have crushed your last Toyota.” and then uses a gun to shrink the creature back to its micro size. (Wait, because we saw him crushing cars? Wait, no, we didn’t. And, for the record, crushing Toyotas is a good thing. Especially if it was Prius that the creature was crushing.) Nova says that he will now return the creature to the Microverse.
Ms. Marvel snaps that she is sure that the creature being stopped will comfort the owners of the destroyed dry cleaner. Ms. Marvel thinks how she is being too harsh. Nova thinks how Ms. Marvel thinks he is a jerk. Nova thinks that he should say something funny. Nova asks Ms. Marvel if she wants to go with him to flatten a coffeehouse. Ms. Marvel blurts out “NO!” and then says “Gottagobye” and runs off to a nearby alleyway.
Ms. Marvel thinks how she hates how tongue-tied and twitchy she becomes around other super heroes even arrogant ones. Suddenly, Nova appears in the alley. Ms. Marvel asks if Nova is stalking him. Nova says he is not stalking her. Ms. Marvel thinks how Nova must know it is not cool for him to sneak up on women in alleys. Nova thinks how he has freaked out Ms. Marvel and he needs to do something dramatic.
So, Nova takes off his helmet and says “Let’s start over. I am Sam.” (Jesus. How stupid is this character?) Ms. Marvel thinks “Oh, God.” Nova think “Oh, God.” (And I am thinking “Oh, God.” Why is this story in the debut issue of an Avengers comic?)
Ms. Marvel thinks “What is he doing? What the hell is he doing putting her on the spot like this?” Ms. Marvel wonders if Nova thinks she should reveal her secret identity to him. Ms. Marvel thinks that Nova believes he is being sweet. Ms. Marvel yammers on in her head about what she should do. Ms. Marvel then says “I didn’t ask.” (Jesus Christ. I hate both characters now. Is it too late for the creature from the Microverse to come back and eat both of these jackasses?)
Sam looks hurt. Sam puts back on his helmet and says that his name isn’t really Sam. That he can’t believe Ms. Marvel fell for it. Nova then blasts off. Ms. Marvel then yells “Wait! What? What?” (You know what? This makes me think that this entire story would have been better with Stone Cold Steve Austin saying “What?” after every line of dialogue from both of these idiotic characters.)
As Nova flies away he thinks “Why did I lie?” Nova realizes that there is no coming back from what he just did. Nova then thinks “Screw it.” He thinks how he and Ms. Marvel will never meet again. (Oh, we could only be so lucky.)
We cut to Ms. Marvel getting back in her civilian clothes. She thinks how she cannot believe that she almost warmed up to that “chowderhead.” (Because Ms. Marvel is now a Masshole?) Ms. Marvel says that if she ever sees Nova again that it will be too soon. End of story.
The Good: Oh, sweet baby Jesus. Is All New All Different Avengers #1 finally mercifully over? Hey, I have to give this issue massive credit. There is zero doubt that this issue is in fact a completely “all new” and “all different” Avengers. Absolutely. This issue is nothing at all like any Avengers title I have ever read.
All right, what is there positive about Waid’s story? Hmm, let’s see. Well, Tony’s flying car that transformed into his Hulk Buster style armor was cool. No doubt about it. In fact, that was about the only exciting Avengers worthy moment in this entire issue. So, I am glad that we at least got one cool moment.
All New All Different Avengers #1 had some solid artwork. I liked Adam Kubert’s style of art just a bit better than Mahmud Asrar’s artwork. However, both artists delivered dependable artwork. Kubert’s art has more detail packed into the panels than Asrar’s artwork. Kubert also delivers more exciting action scenes than Asrar’s artwork. Asrar’s art shined when it came to the facial expressions for Ms. Marvel and Nova.
Asrar was able to inject lots of emotion into Waid’s otherwise annoying and meandering story. Without a doubt, none of the weaknesses with All New All Different Avengers #1 can be laid at the feet of the two artists.
The Bad: All New All Different Avengers #1 was such a disappointing read. I expect far more from a writer like Mark Waid than what we got in this issue. Before we delve to deeply into dissecting this issue I need to separate my problems with this issue from a technical standpoint and my problems with this issue related to my general issues with Marvel’s All New All Different directive.
First, let’s tackle the roster issues and the general problems with the All New All Different directive. Much of the All New All Different directive feels incredibly forced and smacks a bit of desperation. It does not appear that the All New All Different directive is constructed upon writers having original organic story ideas that are entertaining. Instead, it feels that the All New All Different directive is based upon Marvel’s editorial staff deciding to eliminate as many of their established white male characters as possible as more of a publicity stunt.
The result is that many of the changes feel odd or forced and the entire All New All Different directive comes across as pandering rather than a genuine effort to create more diversity in the Marvel Universe. But, this is a “me” problem. And many comic book readers do not view the All New All Different directive as pandering. Also, Marvel has taken this direction and there is absolutely nothing I, as a reader, can do about it. So, in the end, it is a “me” problem and I have to deal with it and then critique Waid’s writing based on a technical standpoint.
I have no idea if Waid had any control over the roster that he was given for this title. If it was Marvel’s editorial staff that stuck Waid with this roster then they certainly did him no favors. Marvel constructed the All New All Different Avengers roster much like the New Avengers roster. Like Hawkeye in the New Avengers, Iron Man is our token long straight white male member. And like Hawkeye, Iron Man is also the lone big name character whose main purpose on the team is to give the rub to the C-list characters on the roster in an attempt to elevate and legitimize those characters.
Lady Thor is the only “new” character on this roster that has a solo title that gets good sales numbers. I may not like the character but you have to give it up for the solid sales numbers Jason Aaron has gotten on Lady Thor’s solo title. The rest of the “new” characters are niche characters that get niche sales numbers on their solo titles. Miles, Ms. Marvel, Vision, Captain Falcon and Nova. None of those characters are big name characters with large followings. And the only character in that group that I find interesting is the Vision.
Now, these characters will have their small loyal fanbases that will support the All New All Different Avengers. However, this is a flagship Avengers title. Marvel surely does not expect niche sales numbers on one of their flagship titles like the Avengers. At this point, it will be interesting to see if Waid can get this roster over with the mainstream reader and deliver strong sales titles that is expected of a flagship Avengers title once the initial sales bumps from the first couple of issues subsides.
All right, now that all of that is out of the way, it is only fair to judge All New All Different Avengers #1 from a technical standpoint. And, unfortunately, Waid failed miserably in that effort. All New All Different Avengers #1 was a poor debut issue. And that is what stuns me. A crafty and talented veteran writer like Waid fully understands the purpose and importance of a debut issue of a new title. However, Waid failed to deliver any of the required objectives of a debut issue that are necessary to justify the new title’s existence and why readers should hop aboard and support the new title.
The debut issue of a new title should clearly set forth the objective of the title, demonstrate to the reader what type of story they can expect on the title, and convince the reader that they need to come back for more. Waid accomplishes none of these critical tasks.
Waid fails to deliver the mission statement of the All New All Different Avengers in order to separate itself not just from the other super hero team books on the stands but to differentiate this title from the other myriad of Avengers titles flooding the market.
What is the mission statement? What is the point of this Avengers team? What is the objective of this Avengers team? Who knows? The reader sure does not know. And that is because Waid did absolutely zero world building for this new Avengers team.
First, this Avengers team does not even exist by the end of this issue. That means we can look forward to one of those dull four to eight issue story arcs where we have to sit through the hackneyed opening story arc approach of assembling the team. Yay. New Avengers #1 may have been a flawed read, but at least it clearly set out the mission statement and purpose of the team. New Avengers #1 also had the complete roster of the team in place by the end of the first issue. The last thing we need is another dull and tired assembling of the team story arc to kick off All New All Different Avengers.
Not only do we not have this Avengers team already assembled, but we do not even get to see all the members of the roster of this team in this issue. Vision and Lady Thor are nowhere to be found in this issue. It is incumbent that Waid hit the ground running with this title. There is no reason he cannot assemble all the characters in this debut issue.
At this point, not only is there no team, we have not even meet all of the team members and we have no clue why this team is going to exist. We have no clue what type of team this Avengers team is going to be. We have no clue what their main objective and point for existing is going to be. We know nothing other than Sam feels the pressure of being Captain America, Tony doesn’t like kids, a generic alien warrior wants to destroy Earth and Nova and Ms. Marvel hate each other. That’s it.
The fact is that All New All Different Avengers #1 reads like pure filler. This is such a poorly paced and plotted issue. Waid lazily meanders about from start to finish with no apparent destination in mind. This story lacks any sense of urgency or purpose. This issue feels like nothing more than fluff. Pure filler with little to no substance at all. The story is incredibly thin as there are very few plotlines installed. The few plotlines that are installed are quite shallow.
It is a cardinal sin for a writer to roll out a debut issue of a new title and have it read like filler. FIller issues are usually what a writer tosses out as a breather after a huge substantive story arc. To do so with the debut issue hardly fills the reader with little to no confidence that the new title is going to deliver anything of substance or worth. If I am already getting a filler issue with the debut issue then I am unlikely to come back for the second issue.
The first six pages of this issue are just brutal. This opening scene is simply a time waster and offers nothing of substance to the reader. All we get is a race based gag with Sam having to choose which Girl Scout he will purchase cookies from. It is awful. This is exactly the type of crap that I was worried we would get with the All New All Different directive. Race based gags rarely work. More often than not they are boring at best and annoying at worst.
That is all we get in the first six pages. It is inexcusable to start off a debut issue of a new tile with a dull throwaway scene. Unfortunately, Waid then follows that scene up with a six page scene about the generic bad guy in a suit talking to the generic alien warrior. This entire scene felt tired and formulaic.
Then we get the final eight pages with Miles, Sam and Tony fighting with the alien warrior. And with that the main story is concluded. So, what exactly did we get? The alien threat plotline and….well, that’s it. Nothing else.
That is just awful plotting. All Waid managed to do was set up the generic Chitauri warrior with some paint-by-numbers threat to destroy the Earth. That’s it. Nothing else. All New All Different Avengers #1 is a fine example of awful plotting and poor pacing that combines to deliver an uninspired “hook” ending that ends with a thud.
Waid does next to nothing to get the reader invested in this new team. Waid fails to get the reader invested in the Chitauri threat. Why do we care? We don’t because the Chitauri threat is half-baked and hackneyed. There is nothing about this plotline that seems interesting or different that piques the reader’s interest and separates the All New All Different Avengers from the horde of super hero team titles already on the market.
The back-up issue starring Nova and Ms. Marvel is no better. It comes across as a shallow throw away story. It is a ten page story that did not have more than four pages of actual content. The first two pages were pointless. Several supporting characters from Ms. Marvel’s solo title bickering? Yes. That is what mainstream readers purchasing an Avengers title want to read.
Then Waid drags out the rest of the eight pages as if he is actively trying to stall for time. It is painful to read. We get the characters re-hashing each other’s dialogue. Honestly, this entire back-up issue read like something from Brian Bendis rather than from Mark Waid.
The character work in both the main story and the back-up story is unimpressive. Tony’s character is average at best and is probably the best character work that Waid delivers in this issue. All of the other characters are more caricatures than actual fully developed characters.
Sam is generic. He displays no unique personality. He is just a guy that is defined by a race based gag and then fades into the background after that as Tony assumes the spotlight.
Miles? He might as well be Peter Parker. At this point, I’m not sure what is different between Miles and Peter other than their race.
Ms. Marvel and Nova? Waid did absolutely nothing to sell either Ms. Marvel or Nova to mainstream readers who do not know their characters. Both Ms. Marvel and Nova came across as annoying and unlikeable. Neither of the characters portrayed any character depth or personality at all. They both came across as nothing more than simple bubble gum teen characters.
I guess based on the All New All Different directive that Marvel believes I should like Nova because he is Latino. But, I don’t like characters just because they are my ethnicity. Nope. Waid manages to make Nova look like an idiot on top of being unlikeable.
Waid has Nova immediately fall in love with Ms. Marvel upon first sight. That is so stupid and stereotypical. No. Men do not actually act like that in the real world. Nova might think she is cute upon first seeing her. But, for Waid to make Nova act like a love sick puppy dog the very second he meets Ms. Marvel is idiotic. And it only serves to make Nova look dumb and come across as an irritating character.
The dialogue is average. Tony is the only character that has a well developed external voice. There is next to zero chemistry between any of the characters at all. The dialgoue has a good enough flow but most of the dialogue feels vacuous and fluffy.
In the end, the biggest flaw of All New All Different Avengers #1 is that it never even remotely felt like I was reading an Avengers comic. This issue never had that trademark Avengers vibe. Avengers stories have a grand and epic feel. They feature the biggest stars of the Marvel Universe heading into conflict with the biggest monster villains in the Marvel Universe.
All New All Different Avengers #1 feels small and unventful. It never feels special. It never feels like the flagship title of the Marvel Universe. There is nothing unique or special at all about this issue. Waid’s Avengers is the polar opposite of Hickman’s Avengers. Hickman gave us the big stars of the Marvel Universe. Hickman gave us grand and epic stories. Even with Hickman’s debut issue of the Avengers the reader clearly knew that we were in store for something massive. Something special. Something worthy of Marvel’s premier flagship title.
What does Waid’s debut issue of All New All Different Avengers #1 make me think? That I am in store for Marvel’s version of DC’s Detroit Justice League.
Overall: All New All Different Avengers #1 was a wretched debut issue for this new direction for Marvel’s flagship title. Waid underperformed and underdelivered with this issue. The reader gets little in the way of substance or entertainment with this issue. This title blends into the tapestry of the horde of super hero comics already crowding the shelves. Waid fails to sell the reader on this new direction for the Avengers. Waid fails to get the reader invested in the characters or the story. And the result is an issue that is simply not worth the inflated $5.00 price tag.