Jason Aaron’s long run on the Avengers was a divisive one. Now that it is over Marvel didn’t waste any time in relaunching the series with a new creative team. The team that Marvel is turning to is the former Black Cat creative team of Jed MacKay and C.F. Villa. MacKay and Villa’s run on Black Cat is one I was a big fan of. They did a great job of showcasing why Black Cat can carry her own title. MacKay has further proven himself with his work on Moon Knight and Doctor Strange titles. Though with those all being solo series there is a question of how MacKay will handle a team series with seven leads. Let’s find out with The Avengers #1.
Writer: Jed MacKay
Artist: C.F. Villa
Colorist: Federico Blee
Letterer: Cory Petit
After being elected to being the new Avengers Chairwoman Captain Marvel waste no time in naming Iron Man her second-in-command. Captain Marvel then recruits Thor, Black Panther, Captain America (Sam Wilson), Vision, and Scarlet Witch to form the new Avengers core roster.
The new Avengers’ first battle is against Terminus, who is attacking a Project PEGASUS work site where an artificial black-hole reactor is located. The Avengers defeat Terminus but the black-hole reactor is damaged during the battle.
Captain Marvel quickly lifts the reactor into space before it explodes.
After the explosion, Captain Marvel finds herself in the Nothingness Between Moments where a severely injured Kang The Conqueror says he has a warning for her. End of issue.
The Avengers #1 provides Earth’s Mightiest Heroes with the reset they needed. Jed MacKay and C.F. Villa make the smart move of not just rebooting the series after Jason Aaron’s run. Rather they go with an approach of a fresh start that still uses the current continuity of the members of this new Avengers roster.
Going with the approach of using the majority of the current continuity for the members of this new Avengers roster was handled well for new readers. We get two pages for each member presented in flashback form. This allows the introduction to stay focused on either where characters like Black Panther are or why Sam Wilson was chosen for the Captain America of the team. Getting all of this current continuity out of the way frames the status quo for each character in a way that is easy to understand. At the same time, MacKay respects the readers’ time by getting back to showing the Avengers doing what they want a superhero team to do, saving lives from a big event-level threat.
This explanation gave a better insight into how Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Thor, Black Panther, Captain America, Vision, and Scarlet Witch approached working together as the new Avengers team. They aren’t coming in fresh, ready to work together. There is baggage with certain members like Black Panther that understandably makes his idea of teamwork not be what it once was. Though when the time comes to it the experience of each member of the Avengers shines through as they defeat Terminus while protecting the people in danger.
The only use of continuity that is a mixed bag was Tony Stark’s segment. While Iron Man has become the definitive Avenger who has been on the majority of rosters that largely ignore a lot of the character’s current baggage from his series. That is probably the right direction to go with as that would’ve overcomplicated things. Though it would’ve been better to have either Scarlet Witch or Sam Wilson in the second-in-command role to freshen up the leadership hierarchy of the team.
That said, MacKay arguably writes the best version of Captain Marvel we have seen outside her ongoing series. MacKay does a great job utilizing the growth Carol Danvers has been through in Kelly Thompson’s run to showcase why she is the deserving leader of the new Avengers team. Throughout the flashback roster assembly and present-day fight with Terminus, we see examples of Carol’s leadership abilities. Whether it is understanding how to empathize with her teammates or keeping the team organized in the middle of battle Carol has clearly learned a lot from leading different makeshift teams in Thompson’s Captain Marvel run. It is certainly something that is appreciated by fans like myself who have been reading the current Captain Marvel series.
It was also a good move to address the fact that the Avengers have had the perception of being the police of Marvel superheroes at least since the original Civil War. While Tony jokes about this MacKay writes that line in a way that addresses this fact. In doing so Captain Marvel as the new Avengers Chairwoman immediately shifts the mission statement back to the team being a superhero team that focuses on saving people rather than acting as a higher power they believe even their peers must listen to. It’s a good refocus of the team that is highlighted how MacKay places a focus on the team saving the day.
The ending with the heavily injured Kang The Conquerer appears to be a tease to how The Avengers series will finally be dealing with what we’ve seen in the last few Timeless one-shots. It is about time that Marvel starts paying off the slow build to whatever the plans with Kang are. This is the time to do it with how much attention Kang is getting. The character has never been more widely known. What exactly the plans are for Kang The Conquerer is a good hook to return to find that out.
C.F. Villa’s artwork is well done throughout The Avengers #1. Villa is able to capture the scale of all the scenes we get in this issue. Each member of The Avengers is designed in a way that further emphasizes where each of them is in their current series or status quo. Villa’s choreography does need work as when the focus of the action is on more than one hero the artwork can be rough. That is something that Villa will get better at as he has proven with his past work.
Jed MacKay and C.F. Villa provide The Avengers with a much-needed reset with the start of the new start to the relaunched series. Time was well spent to get lapsed and new readers caught up to speed with each member of this new Avengers roster. Those catch-up scenes never overstay their welcome as the focus for The Avengers #1 is showcasing the team as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Add in the tease of a bigger storyline centered around Kang The Conquerer, The Avengers #1 is a strong start for the new creative team.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10