Marvel's newest hero Aero brings a fresh point of view to the Marvel Universe, not just from a character perspective, but also from a location one—allowing fans and readers to explore a whole new side of the world. That world is filled with characters just brimming with potential, but Aero's definitely leading the charge, and now it's her time to shine in her own ongoing series. The book is split into two distinct stories, so we'll tackle them one at a time starting with the English adaptation of writer Zhou Liefen original story by Greg Pak with artist Keng.
The first story is titled "Protector of the City," and immediately makes an impression thanks to Keng's absolutely stunning artwork. From the sun peeking through the moody skies to the swirling windstorms that Aero commands with but a wave of her hand, this book's a showstopper on every single page. Shanghai is quite the locale on its own, but Keng accentuates the city with bold lines and vivid colors throughout the issue, especially as Aero soars above for a bird's eye view.
That said, at times this story is a bit devoid of actual character. You get the sense that Aero is devoted to the city, but if someone's just coming into this without reading Agents of Atlas you won't come away really knowing who she is as a person or why you should care. Perhaps facing down rather faceless building giants wasn't the best way to showcase her spirit. It allows you to see how impressive her powers are, but it doesn't give you any indication of who the person behind them is, and there's a general lack of personality on the whole.
The story does gain some momentum by the end with a larger-than-life adversary that again stuns visually, but if it wants to truly land there needs to be some additional substance next time around, both in terms of Aero's character and giving some personality to the city itself.
Moving on to the second issue, things get much more interesting. The story is written by Greg Pak, and, while it is really an origin story for Wave, I somehow got a much better impression of Aero's compassion and loyalty than I did in her own solo story, and it left me wanting to learn more.
It had the same effect on Wave by story's end, giving her a compelling origin and an interesting character space from which to leap going forward. It also planted a nice hook for next issue's big showdown. If Wave's abilities are half as impressive as Aero's, we're in for quite the battle.
The visuals on this story were handled by Pop Mhan and colorist Federico Blee, and while they aren't as stunning as Keng's from the first story, they still do an admirable job at bringing everything together. There isn't much action in this story, so we'll have to wait for the next issue to see what this duo can truly do.
Overall, it feels like the team's trying to find its rhythm a bit in this first issue, but the potential is clearly there. If the respective teams can put this unique puzzle together and find the right balance of depth and visual splendor, Aero can soar, though right now she's still trying to find her footing.
Published by Marvel Comics
On July 3, 2019
Written by Zhou Liefen (story 1) & Greg Pak (story 2)
Art by Keng (story 1) & Pop Mhan (story 2)
Colors by Federico Blee (story 2)
Letters by Joe Caramagna