“We Were Avengers”
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Jerome Opeña
Color Artists: Dean White with Justin Ponsor & Morry Hollowell
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Art: Dustin Weaver & Justin Ponsor
Variant Cover Art: Esad Ribic; John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson & Dean White
Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: Captain America (Steve Rogers), Wolverine (James Howlett), Spider-Man (Peter Parker), Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers), Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew), Falcon (Sam Wilson), Shang-Chi, Sunspot (Bobby da Costa), Cannonball (Sam Guthrie), Manifold (Eden Fesi), Smasher, Captain Universe, Hyperion (Mark Milton).
Iron Man (Tony Stark), Thor (Odinson), Hawkeye (Clint Barton), Black Widow (Natasha Romanova), Hulk (Dr. Bruce Banner)
***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***
In Mars, Ex Nihilo reveals to the Avengers the origin of Aleph, Abyss, and himself. He claims he’s out to help Earth evolve into a better world, but Stark tells him that what he’s doing is genocide.
On Earth, Steve and the other Avengers prepare themselves to strike back at the aliens. When more “origin bombs” crash on Earth, Cap asks new recruit Manifold to teleport them to Mars.
THOUGHTS: Avengers #2 loses some of the sizzle that accompanied the previous issue. It wasn’t a bad issue, by any means, but the lack of any progress in the story just leaves a bad taste in my mouth, one that I’ve had with this series in times past.
We go more in depth in the process done to recruit the roster featured in this issue. Steve and Tony continue to discuss their ideas, and we get a nice distinction between the two and how they see things. Steve sees expansion as a state of mind, while Tony sees it as an engineering problem. We learn that the limited roster (the film roster) was a conscious decision by them. They are tearing down before rebuilding anew, using a foundation until need demands more. I’m enjoying this approach to team-building far more than in Avengers Vol. 4 #19, when they made it out to be like they were choosing the next Pope or something.
Steve and Tony wanted old members (those who “understand our tradition and purpose”) to go along with the new ones, such as Captain Universe, Hyperion, and Smasher (who are only briefly shown). Wolverine, Spider-Man, and Falcon are each given a panel in which they are recruited. These three are mostly played for laughs, although it baffles me why “We have money” is enough incentive for Spidey to join (and yes, this is the original Peter Parker; thank you, readers, for cluing me in). Hickman has written a true-to-character Spidey before in his FF run. I just didn’t get the joke here.
More time is dedicated to Shang-Chi, Cannonball and Sunspot (these two formerly with the X-Men), Manifold, and Spider-Woman and Captain Marvel. The exchange between Cannonball and Sunspot makes sense in light of AvX (and I mean, really, who would want to be with the X-Men at this point?). A whole page is dedicated to Carol and Jessica. It was a nice exchange between them and Tony and Steve, but you gotta wonder why go through so much effort to re-recruit them when they’ve been on the team several times before. I understand to a degree keeping the mystery surrounding who this new Captain Universe is, as well as how they saved Hyperion and just who this Smasher is, but I kinda wish these recruiting pages would’ve been used toward resolving the aforementioned mysteries instead.
What I really enjoyed was the further development of Ex Nihilo, Aleph, and Abyss. Aleph, the android, is part of a series of “gardener” systems sent out to reconfigure species across the galaxy or destroy them if unfit for that purpose. Ex Nihilo (which means “out of nothing”) and Abyss are the two “seeds” who actually carry out the evolution via “origin bombs.” The indication that there more of these Alephs might be foreshadowing the galaxy war hinted at in the previous issue.
Wolverine appears to act as Captain America’s second-in-command in this issue, but he’s rude to Manifold for absolutely no reason. Other than that, there’s no further interaction among this new team before they depart for Mars. I really hope this changes in the coming issues.
I didn’t mention this last time, but throughout this story someone is narrating the events as if they already happened and from the point of view of someone who is involved with the team. His identity has not been revealed yet. It might be one of the new teammates because of the way he talks about it, as if the Avengers coming together was a world-changing event.
Opeña’s art is all right. It’s well done, but not necessarily my favorite. Something about his faces strikes me as odd. I still continue to dig his non-human designs, however.
VERDICT: Avengers (2012) #2 is all about how the new team came to be, which unfortunately comes at the cost of story progression. The characterization, especially with the villains, is well done, but, at the end of the day, the reader doesn’t come away with anything new. 2.5 Webheads out of 5.
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~My Two Cents