Your Friendly Neighborhood Bogenrieder is back with a new lease on comics! With the all-new, all-different relaunch of Divided We Stand (hurgh), will the Adjectiveless Avengers survive their conflict with Kang? And will their newest member Spider-Man have anything to do in this story besides be Beta-Tony-Stark? Read on and find out, true believers!
Avengers (2016) #1
Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Mike Del Mundo
Colors: Mike Del Mundo with Marco d’Alfonso
Editor: Tom Breevort (He’s Ba-aa-ack, fellas!) and Alanna Smith
A) The story opens en media res, as the Adjectiveless Avengers (Okay, I’ll stop the joke before it gets old), consisting of FalCap, FemThor and new Wasp Nadia Pym are with Hercules in Central Park, defeating a Frost Giant. They defeat it by deflecting Mjolnir off of Cap’s shield, and as Thor takes the Frost Giant home, Cap extends an offer to Hercules to join the Avengers, citing the loss of Iron Man and the departure of Nova, Miles!Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel as reasons for him to join. (If we throw more bodies at our enemies, we can drown them in our own blood! Genius!)
The plot then takes us over to the Baxter Building, the headquarters for the NY division of Parker Industries. There, we meet scrawny-build Peter Parker, who, with his assistant Ms. Beachum, has furnished the top five floors of the Baxter Building as the headquarters and living space of the Avengers as a way to make up for his involvement in Civil War II. (No, sweetie, everybody is sorry for being part of that event. Even Bendis and Marquez.) It even comes with a new Quinjet and a 360 degree view of New York, where they spot Vision being beaten up by Kang the Conquerer and Scarlet Centurion. (Okay, I have literally no idea who Scarlet Centurion is. I am probably the single least qualified person to review this comic now.) Spidey suits up and joins the fray, and they assemble to save Vision, who they bring back to the Baxter Building so that they can help to repair him. (Now, let’s see if they can fix the coloring while they’re at it.)
After Wasp fixes him up enough that he can self-heal, Vision explains why Kang and Scalet were attacking him: after repeated temporal incursions by Kang, Vision decided to take preemptive action and take out Kang before he grew into a villain. (Wait, so isn’t that literally what you fought against during Civil War?! Um… hypocrisy 101, Vision!) Thor rightfully calls him out on this and we reveal that he has hidden the infant Kang in the timestream. As Spider-Man becomes the newest Avenger after becoming Redwing’s punching bag, Kang and Scarlet Centurion decide to mess around with the Avengers, messing with their births as they turn into piles of time goop.
B) Jarvis cleans out the Avengers hangar. (Watch the gripping tale of Jarvis cleaning out the lavatory! The result will shake the Marvel Universe forever!)
C) There’s some kind of flash-forward where Kidclops leads the Champions against the Avengers. That’s literally it.
When IGN’s reviewers are pointing out Peter’s billionaire status quo going stale, we know something’s wrong.
I know I’m supposed to keep this review Spider-centric, but that’s really hard to do when he’s given so little to do in this issue. He shows up as Peter Parker, does some goofy bumbling (hurr-hurr), cracks some jokes as Spidey, and joins the Avengers. That’s literally all he does.
Let’s start with what I did like. As somebody who didn’t pick up All-New, All-Different Avengers or wherever Hercules has been regularly, I don’t have as fair a grip as some others do. That said, they are given some minor character development, if we can call it that, there’s so little because there’s so many characters.
The art by Mike Del Mundo is good. Not amazing, but it’s stylized enough that I could get behind it. But then we have another problem: the coloring. It just doesn’t line up with how stylized the line work it. It would work fine in a, say, Alex Ross-headed book, but Del Mundo doesn’t have the ability to color his own line work adaquestly. If they got a colorist who has worked with stylized artists before, say Edgar Delgado or Josh Perez (I know the guy works for IDW, but he is an example that I would use) then the colors wouldn’t be as distracting. I really want to take points off for how scrawny they make Peter look out of costume, but I think it might just be the colors distracting me again. Because the line work when the action scenes are going down is gorgeous and I want to see more of that in the story.
I also did like Nadia Pym. She was quirky, but not excessively so. They hit the right balance of funny with her. The cutaway to Jarvis cleaning up Avengers Hangar was also kind of funny, as well as the follow-up line.
This issue also comes with a rather disturbing implication: that Peter, in funding the Avengers, is trying to buy his way into the team. This is getting to the point where the Parker Industries gig is getting really stale; the point when he pretty much tries to buy his way into the Avengers is where I say the train has to stop, no more chances. Peter Parker shouldn’t be trying to force his way into something; he knows by now that hard work and perseverance are the key to reaching his goals (though being handed a company by Doc Ock doesn’t help that mentality). It’s even mentioned that even he doesn’t know how he managed to get this far. I dunno, it is nice how he’s trying to make up for his mistakes as far as I can tell, but there is the unavoidable implication given in this issue.
For the first issue of Avengers, this is the classic “Team first assembles” issue that works mainly as set-up with little in the way of developing team dynamic, though events that only conclude in the yet-to-be-completed Civil War II have yet to be scratched. Peter was written marginally better than Slott’s usual schlock, and I say marginally because he acts mainly as a bumbling moron and comic relief character, and that’s actually pretty sad when you think about it. But, sadly, it’s par for the course in the House of Recycled Ideas.
Spider-Centric Grade: C
General Grade: C+