Avengers #1

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Comics Review:
Avengers #1

A few months ago when Marvel Comics began teasing their reshuffling of the Avengers books I got pretty excited for two main reasons. First, John Romita Jr. was revealed to be the penciller for the flagship Avengers title; and second because writer Brian Michael Bendis was staying on with the characters he’s been working with so well over the last several years.

People seem to be either lovers or haters of John Romita Jr.’s artwork, myself being one of the former. I think he’s perfectly suited for this new title for reasons I’ll get into more below. And like Romita, people tend to have a similar polarized view of Bendis’ writing. Detractors claim his work isn’t heavy enough on the action and features excessive dialogue… well, people say the same thing about Quentin Tarrantino movies, but I have loved everything he’s put out, so, no problem there. As for the purported “lack of action?” If I want non-stop comic book action without any plot or sense I’ll go pick up an early issue of Youngblood or go check out the latest Jerry Bruckheimer or Michael Bay piece of cinematic crap. Just because these are comic books doesn’t mean we can’t do with some thoughtful, and often witty dialogue and plot from Bendis.

Anywho… after the last few years of Civil Wars, Secret Invasions, House of M, and most recently, the Dark Reign, we now enter the Age of Heroes! And so far, so good! While the last few years have featured heavy drama with our heroes either on the run as outlaws, fighting each other over government regulations, losing their powers and mistrusting each other amidst an alien invasion we now get a breath of fresh air in Avengers #1, we see our favorite heroes out in the open again, being able to be heroes without fear of government reprisal. In a way, this book feels like a bit of a throwback, and for that reason John Romita’s artwork is a perfect choice.

In fact, the whole art team is top notch, inker Klaus Janson has proved to be the perfect foil for Romita’s pencils for years, and here they are joined by colorist Dean White, who gives the book a wonderful watercolor touch.

As for the plot… well, without giving too much away about the plot, Steve Rogers (Captain Steve Rogers, I should say) is now top cop in the world replacing Norman Osborne and his ‘Dark Reign.’ Of course, Norman replaced Tony Stark, who is on-board with this team as Iron Man, who replaced Maria Hill, who replaced Nick Fury as head of S.H.I.E.L.D., and whether Steve Rogers is now in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D. or of an entirely new entity is a little unclear. I gotta say, I thought to myself months ago that Steve Rogers would be the perfect replacement for Norman Osborne once Dark Reign came to an end, and now that I’ve seen this in practice I’ve got to give myself a little pat on the back for what a good idea it was.

Also signed-on for this new team are Thor, Spider-Woman, the new Captain America, Hawkeye, Wolverine, Spider-Man and one more character who’s not shown in this issue but strongly alluded to by his absence. Many eyebrows were raised years ago when The New Avengers came out and the lineup was revealed to include Spider-Man and Wolverine. Frankly I’m glad both are back on board here… Bendis has a way of bringing out Logan’s nobler side when he works with the Avengers and I love the way he writes Spider-Man, who in this issue works perfectly in comic relief.

And what about the villain? What’s the threat?? The story revolves around time-travel, a major disagreement with a former Avenger, the aftermath of SIEGE and that’s all I can say without mentioning the great reveal on the last page! If I have any complaints about this issue it’d have to do with “bonus” feature at the end of the issue. Frankly, why not just give us more story for our extra money? But that’s a small quibble, and I foresee this book being at the top of my “to-read” pile for sometime.

tags: avengers, brian michael bendis, john romita jr.

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