Interesting Tidbit Vol. 5 #1: Kang the Conqueror first appeared in AVENGERS #8 and ranks as the 85th comic book villain of all time. Before becoming Kang, he was Nathaniel Richards, a scholar born in the 30th century. Living in a perfect society bored Richards and he became fascinated with history and discovered the time travel technology created by one of his ancestors, Victor Von Doom. He has gone up against the Avengers on numerous occasions, as well as Spider-Man, the Human Torch, and the Inhumans.
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THE AVENGERS #1
WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis
PENCILER: John Romita Jr.
INKER: Klaus Janson
COLORIST: Dean White
This issue, somewhat strangely, starts off like something out of that Mavel DTV NEXT AVENGERS: HEROES OF TOMORROW. Steve Rogers then proceeds to ask no less than 26 heroes to join the Avengers, and only Wonder Man seems pessimistic about the whole thing. As the heroes begin rebuilding the city, Thor, Hawkeye, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain America, Spider-Woman, and Iron Man gather to talk to Steve Rogers about the plans for the future when Kang arrives. Yes…Kang. Kang tells of a future where the children of the Avengers have defeated Ultron only to start off on a path that will destroy the universe due to their uncontrollable power. Kang leaves, the team tries to come up with a way to get to the future, and we discover that a Zeus-looking Hulk has plans for the Avengers.
This issue started off well enough, a nice little zero issue to whet our pallets. Bendis wrote good interactions between the characters: we learn a lot about Clint just because he has decided to become Hawkeye again; Spider-Woman’s self-hating nature shines through but Wolverine, someone who has been there, tells her to “earn it;” Steve and Tony show their respectful but strained relationship; and Spidey is smart-alecky as always.
I suppose we could not just have a normal introductory issue, could we? Rather, we throw the team right into it with Kang. The use of Kang has become either a cliché or a fitting homage. I think that Bendis’s heart is in the right place, but I do not think that it is working. In using Kang, Bendis, either intentionally or unintentionally, highlights Iron Man: Kang uses a device that Tony has not even invented yet, but it puts Tony on the spot with the team; Kang seems to talk to everyone…and yet, only talks to Tony; and Tony somehow takes the lead on this mission, even though he is probably the least likely to have a child (rather, a child that he would completely own up to and one who would take on the mantel of Iron Man. I’m sure there are a lot of little Tonys running around), and Steve has already told him that Maria Hill is in charge.
This is not a team, as far as I’m concerned. There are several pieces trying to fit together but they do not make a whole. I’ve already expressed my belief that Spider-Woman does not belong on a team and I continue that belief. Wolverine is a habitual loner, always has been, always will be (it would actually be really interesting to see a team book with Wolvey and Spider-Woman)! Captain America (Bucky) deserves a chance to be a team leader, but that will not happen in this book. He also does well on his own, barring with the occasional team-up. Hawkeye is certainly on the road to recovery and it will be interesting to see him grow. And then we have the ‘same ol’ same ol’’ aspect of the book: Iron Man and Thor. Sometimes I think it would be great to just shake up the universe and have a very random team (I guess that’s what SECRET AVENGERS is for!) There is also no way that Maria Hill is going to be “leader” with Tony on the team. We shall see how long it takes for her to become unnecessary.
I’d say the plus for this whole issue is most certainly the art! How can you go wrong with John Romita Jr.?
2.0 Webheads out of 5.0. This is not the Avengers book that I was looking forward to. Perhaps Bendis just had a first issue slump and when the full and final team is assembled we will see some good story telling. I sure hope so!
Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Girl!
P.S. You will pay an extra $1 for this issue because Bendis has started writing THE ORAL HISTORY OF THE EARTH’S MIGHTEST HEROES. However interesting it may be, perhaps a better medium would be an actual book…stop wasting my money, Marvel!