In terms of the Avengers franchise I have been keeping up with Jason Aaron’s run through Marvel Unlimited. While I’ve kept up with the current direction nothing Aaron or Marvel has done with any of the Avengers title have gotten me to read the franchise’s titles as they come out. That is not without a lack of trying but there’s been no strong urge to put any Avengers title on my pull list after the first issue. Now with that in mind I decided to give All-Out Avengers to win me over. Even though I’m not a big Greg Land fan I am intrigued by the core concept of All-Out Avengers starting in the middle of a story already in development. Let’s see how this goes with All-Out Avengers #1.
Writer: Derek Landy
Artist: Greg Land
Inker: Jay Leisten
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Iron Man and Thor battle a vampire-like Captain Marvel that has been turned to working for the Sinnarians.
Inside a Sinnarians ship Captain America, Spider-Woman, and Blade break into the Sinnarians spaceship to confront Queen of the Sinnarians, Arrok The Seventh. Captain America tells Queen Arrok to leave Earth but she says she is not leaving until “The Scalpel” is returned to her. Captain America is not going to do that as it would only help the Sinnarians.
Queen Arrok then opens a portal to summons more of her soldiers, of which Captain America, Spider-Woman, and Blade easily defeat.
Back on the ground the Sinnarians’ Bowmaster uses Bow Of Gabriel to help the vampire Captain Marvel against Thor and Iron Man.
Meanwhile Spider-Man and Black Panther attack the Sinnarians spaceship from the outside. The spaceship they are in turns out to be The Scalpel. Queen Arrok then turns her attention to her engineers getting the ship. Spider-Man and Black Panther set the ship to explode and then escape with Captain America, Spider-Woman, and Blade.
Back outside Iron Man breaks the Bow Of Gabriel, and with Blade and Spider-Woman’s help, defeats Bowmaster.
With the Sinnarians ship blowing up it leaves the vampire-like Captain Marvel alone against the Avengers. Captain America tricks Captain Marvel to go through a portal that sends her somewhere it’ll take her several hours to return to Earth from. End of issue.
In terms of delivering on the promise made of All-Out Avengers #1 kicking off in the middle of a big event-like story Derek Landy and Greg Land certainly deliver on that. We are thrown right in the middle of the Avengers taking on the Sinnarians to stop their invasion of Earth so credit to them on keeping that promise. Unfortunately this type of structure does not make you connect with anything going on.
When choosing to start in a new comic book in the middle of a story already well into development it is important that the villains the Avengers are fighting are put over from the get go. That just never happens as the Sinnarians are just presented as random invaders from another planet that the Avengers easily combat. Sure having Captain Marvel turned to the dark side helps make them a threat but she is quickly defeated by Thor by the end of this issue.
Given the story structure Landy should’ve chosen a more well-known major villain like Thanos, Doctor Doom, or Annihilus as the threat the Avengers are fighting. Having a well-known villain would’ve gotten you right into why we are in the middle of the story and wonder how the Avengers can defeat them with how bad things look.
This mistake in villain choice is made worse by the fact the Sinnarians are never shown to be bad ass villains that any of the members of this Avengers team have a difficult time fighting. There should’ve been some elite force other than an evil Captain Marvel to at least create a sense of danger that is going. The only thing that makes you feel the Avengers are in some danger is the design of Queen Arrok The Seventh, who doesn’t even get involved in combat. And this just creates a lack of interest in the entire story as the villains aren’t even compelling enough to be presented as a danger.
Then comes the writing of the Avengers themselves. The writing for this entire roster is just off that feels like Landy is still trying to find a way to write these characters. There is a basic understanding of how they are supposed to sound through their dialogue but that’s it. A great example of that is the forced comedic beats from Spider-Man or when Thor is trying to sound like an Asgardian but his dialogue is just very basic. This is a sign of possibly trying to include to many characters on this Avengers roster. Its an instance where maybe focusing on an Avengers team of five or six members would’ve allowed Landy to focus on nailing the voices for the cast even more.
It does not help that Landy inserts himself into the story as the narrator of the story. Every single time we get narrator boxes it completely sounds like Landy talking directly to the reader than a character involved with the story. This gets into how the drawback of starting out a new series in the middle of a story means Landy as the writer has to catch the reader up on what is going on. If Landy did see a narrator as a key part of getting the story over I wish he and his editor would’ve decided to instead go with journal like narrator boxes. Then you could present the story as something being remembered by one of the Avengers, all of who we know survive this story, who is revealed at the end of this story.
Then there is the artwork. Like every other Greg Land drawn book the only positive I have is the coloring and inking by Jay Leisten and Frank D’Armata, respectively. Leisten and D’Armata do there best to make the Land’s penciling clean and dynamic. Unfortunately everything drawn is so stiff with a lack of thought of how there is supposed to be momentum from panel to panel, page to page. There is just stiff action and characters standing around. It just further confirmed that I will never be impressed by a comic book drawn by Land.
All-Out Avengers #1 has an interesting concept behind it as we start in the middle of a story already well into development. Derek Landy and Greg Land just never do anything with the potential of this direction with the threat the Avengers face off against being the most generic villains that could’ve been chosen. This is definitely hard pass as I won’t ever think about as a comic book I should read beyond the first issue.
Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10