When Marvel announced the new Avengers book from Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness, I was over the moon excited. Not only am I a big fan of this creative team, but this series had a team of heroes that I'd only dreamed of. The core trio of Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man are joined by Black Panther (in a major role), Doctor Strange (my all-time favorite Marvel character), She-Hulk, Captain Marvel, and Robbie Reyes (the best Ghost Rider in my book).
Everything about this comic seems like a home run, especially for me, so why was it such a letdown?
Don't get me wrong, Avengers #1 is a solid book. But with all the hype Marvel is putting behind it, solid isn't quite enough. The good news is, there is a lot of room to grow and, judging by Aaron's past work with the publisher, the best is yet to come.
The story begins on Earth, one million years ago, when the sncient Avengers prepared to fight a Celestial. This team, which was introduced in Aaron's Marvel Legacy, is far and away the coolest thing about this book. Aaron really gets a chance to explore these older versions of characters we know, and gives them different voices and relationships that are completely unique to what we see in the modern day. This alternate take on the distant past also gives McGunness a totally new playground to work in, and he knocks it out of the park. It's easy to tell that both of these guys had a blast working with these characters.
Unfortunately, these million-year-old Avengers were only around for the first few pages of the book. Once it fast-forwards to the present, story and worldbuilding begin, and the excitement quickly fades.
The issue consists of two main stories: Cap, Thor, and Iron Man having a drink, and Black Panther taking Doctor Strange on an adventure underground. The other three Avengers all work themselves in throughout the issue.
The conversation between the original Avengers trio should be an interesting one, but sadly it's nothing more than a recap of sorts. Reading the issue, you get to be a fly on the wall as all three of these mighty heroes explain how they fell from grace, and why the Avengers are no more. In true Marvel fashion, this leads to an argument between Cap and Tony, as they try to decide whether or not they should put together another Avengers team.
Let's be straight about this sequence: it's helpful, but so incredibly dull. Even the art takes a hit here, simply because, after a few pages, there's really nothing left to showcase.
On the other side of the world, Black Panther and Doctor Strange investigate a strange disturbance underground, that of course connects back to the ancient heroes that once donned their mantles. This is where the meat of the actual threat comes into play, as the duo spend multiple pages explaining the kinds of archaic spells protecting a mysterious evil and try to figure out what kind of message their ancestors could have left for them. While this is a lot more interesting to look at, it's still a laborious amount of world-building to read through. It does help however, that this story is broken up with bits from She-Hulk, Ghost Rider, and Captain Marvel.
Speaking of which, none of these heroes actually join the Avengers in this first issue, but the groundwork has been laid for them to become central parts of the team. From the little we've seen of them so far, it does seem like they will become more-than-worthy additions to this new Avengers lineup.
This book isn't that exciting, but in just this one issue, it's already gotten all of the groundwork out of the way. McGuinness proved throughout the installment that he's firing on all cylinders. Now that Aaron has spent 30 pages peeling back the curtain on how exactly his new team comes together, is seems like he's going to be free to let loose, and deliver the story he's been wanting to tell.
If you've been reading Marvel comics for the past few years, you know that there's nothing better than Jason Aaron on a mission. Avengers is going to be an exciting ride, but you're going to have to wait until the fun to really start.
Published by Marvel Comics
On May 2, 2018
Written by Jason Aaron1comments
Art by Ed McGuinness
Letters by VC's Cory Petit