Avenged Doublefold

The Avengers #1

I’ve never been that big on the Avengers, but seeing as how DC’s “Brightest Day” is collapsing in its own filth, I thought I’d check and see if Marvel’s “Heroic Age” is going to work out any better. And since Marvel is focusing most of its “Heroic Age” on a multitude of new “Avengers” titles, that means reading some “Avengers” titles.

This one is going to be their centerpiece — Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, recruits Thor, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain America (the Bucky Barnes version), Hawkeye, and Spider-Woman into the core Avengers team, with Maria Hill in charge of the day-to-day operations of the team. The only person who turns him down? Wonder Man, who has decided that the Avengers were ultimately at fault in all the world’s recent troubles. So the team gets together, exchanges some small talk, Iron Man worries that he’s gonna kill Captain America again… and then Kang the Conqueror shows up.

Kang is on his way to getting spanked hard by everyone until he pulls out his doomsday weapon — in fact, it’s a literal doomsday weapon that Tony Stark thought of several years back and decided never to build. Now that he’s got everyone’s attention, Kang tells them why he’s really there — in the future, Ultron finally took over the world and wrecked everything. But the Avengers’ children managed to defeat Ultron when no one else could, and they’re now running the world with as much ruthlessness as any supervillain. And if the Avengers don’t figure out some way to get into the future and defeat their own children, he’s going to come back and activate Tony’s doomsday device.

Verdict: In general, thumbs up. The story’s fine, the get-together backchat is fine, the art by John Romita Jr. is freakin’ awesome. But this is a Brian Michael Bendis comic, and the guy’s got some serious weaknesses (Snell does more than his fair share of documenting the atrocities). Will they come into play here? Well, we’ve got one person acting badly out-of-character (as in Wonder Man, who’s apparently about to decide to start attacking the Avengers), and we’ve got a few pages of iffy dialogue (a lot of the stuff that works fine in a comic like “Powers” doesn’t work very well in superhero comics where everyone does killer banter). Because it’s Bendis, I’m sure we’ll eventually get a lot more random character retcons and I’m-too-lazy-to-try-harder screwups. But for now, it seems to be working out fine.

Avengers Academy #1

Christos Gage and Mike McKone start up a new Avengers book (there are probably going to be at least a half-dozen by the time they’re all done) focusing on new teenaged heroes. Hank Pym, Tigra, Justice, Quicksilver, and Speedball are the primary instructors of the new Avengers Academy, designed to help train the next generation of superheroes.

We meet Veil, who can turn into poison gas and who is slowly dying as her body loses cohesion; Hazmat, a girl whose powers and personality are poisonous; Mettle, a skull-faced kid with a metal body; Finesse, a girl with zero social skills who can learn new fighting techniques, skills, languages, and everything else in the blink of an eye; Reptil, a kid who can shapeshift into different dinosaurs; and Striker, a guy who can generate electricity and who’s desperate for fame and fortune. And it turns out that all of the kids have an unusual secret in common…

Verdict: Thumbs up. A slow-moving issue, mostly because nearly the entire thing is devoted to introducing us to all these new characters, as well as getting us on board with the new status quo of the Academy’s teachers, especially Speedball, who is a lot less happy-go-lucky than he used to be. Still, despite the slow pace, I enjoyed it. I’m a sucker for decent character work, and we’re getting some good personalities drafted together, as well as some interesting conflicts set up for the future. Let’s hope they can keep the good stuff coming.

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  1. VoodooBen Said,

    June 11, 2010 @ 4:46 pm

    I really dug the first issue of “Avengers” – though most of that enjoyment comes from JRJR’s freakin’ gorgeous artwork. I certainly don’t love Bendis with the fervor I once did, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one (even if AVENGERS PRIME sucked serious balls….) Haven’t picked up Academy, but I’ll flip through it.

    On a side note…thank you for being genuinely positive when you enjoy a book. A number of blogs that I read regularly have been especially harsh on superhero comics lately – yeah, I get it, RISE OF ARSENAL is pure trash, but that shouldn’t taint ALL OF SUPERHERO PUBLISHING with the same brush – so it’s nice to read a blogger who can be upbeat when he reads something he enjoys, and knows that not everything on the shelf is going to be ASTROSIS POLYP (or PARKER THE HUNTER, for that matter. 😉 )

  2. scottslemmons Said,

    June 11, 2010 @ 5:38 pm

    Thankee, sir. It’s easy for me to be fairly positive about comics — if I’m not enjoying something, I stop reading it. I doubt I’d ever be able to do what Chris Sims with his “Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose” or “Anita Blake” annotations, ’cause I’d never be able to stand either of those series for as long as he has… 🙂