Written by: Mark Waid
Art by: Mahmud Asrar
The newest Avengers series has finally clicked with me. I found the previous issues very mixed, seeming to want to include more links to the films than organic storytelling. This all changes in this issue however, when the creative team finally tip their hand to what they have planned for this series and give it a huge helping of personality and charm that allow the series to stand on it’s own two feet. For the first time since the series started, I put down the book with a giant stupid grin on my face and wanted the next issue right away.
After the last issues have shown the team assembling, and then displaying some of their team dynamics, this issue started with a feeling of comfort of a team who’ve finally started getting into their groove. This is of course then the perfect moment for Waid to throw a spanner into the machine and start smashing these personalities against each other. It starts with an hilarious address to the kiss at the end of that issue (seriously, it’s such a good moment I considered shutting the book right there and going straight to the review), from their, things start unraveling, as Kamala finds herself betrayed by a fellow Avenger and kicked off the team, before an old Avengers enemy wears their head. There’s so much going on in this comic and I absolutely loved it. For once it felt like a story Waid wanted to tell, rather than an editorial requirement to have as accessible an Avengers books as possible. There’s a few plot threads that have been building begin to become relevant here, which may be a bit faster than expected, but certainly makes me excited that we are building towards something. The book has also been taking advantage of the character’s issues in their own book, something I think works brilliantly in team books with a smaller, A-list cast. It works as a great “sampler” type book for these characters, and is certainly something I looked forward to as a kid reading Avengers comics. It’s got a very classic fun feeling to it but with great new talent, this is exactly what I wanted from this book.
What’s most compelling, and certainly what I expected most when Waid stepped in, is how well balanced the book feels in terms of cast and tone. There were so many laugh out loud moments in this book that feel natural and the sort of banter you’d expect (mostly from Spider-Man, as the laws of the universe dictate) but also a surprisingly nice element of character drama between characters. It’s a perfect balance between having a good time and having an escapist quality, while still making the books events feel important and engrossing. It’s the closest Waid’s come to his Daredevil level writing since taking over the book and I absolutely loved it. Waid has a perfect handling on the whole cast and is taking them to fascinating new places. Especially well done is the role of the young new Avengers compared to the old guard. I heard a lot of criticism when Miles, Kamala and Sam were announced as Avengers, thinking they were too young and chosen for popularity (something I can understand) yet their role as Avengers in training really works. It validates the characters as important characters in the marvel universe, and also gives a legacy feeling, something Marvel sorely lack as opposed to DC superheroes. It ends of being the perfect blend of characters to tell new, fun stories but with a classic quality. It should please old school Avengers fans, but also be the perfect book for newer Marvel fans brought in by these characters.
Finally, special commendation should go towards Asar, who is 100% the perfect choice for this book. I was a big fan of his work in All-New X-Men, but never really felt he got much of a chance to show his skills. In this however, he style works perfectly. He’s got a very fresh, young style which works for the feeling of a new type of Avengers team. There’s a youthful, kinetic style to his art which, much like the writing, isn’t too heavy or serious allowing for a real fun time, while still managing to bring emotions and expressions to the surface. I really hope he can keep up with the series, as I can think of no other artist whose style would fit these tone of adventures better.
Overall, I’m super excited to have an Avengers book that actually feels inspired and a ton of fun to read. After the sci-fi heavy stories of Hickman, this bouncy, fun and classic inspired yet forward looking book is exactly what I needed coming off of such a run. It has all the trademarks of a great Waid book, wonderful characters, a great sense of humour and fun drama, teaming this up with the enthusiastically joyful art of Asar and they’re unstoppable. The Avengers are finally here with a book worthy of their name, I’m incredibly excited to find out where we go from here and really hope Waid and Asar get the space to tell the stories they want to tell.