After the past couple years of editorial shenanigans, Avengers #1 brings the gang back together for the first time since Hickman’s run wrapped up. This time, no backstabbing with the Illuminati, at least not yet. The Avengers don’t truly assemble in this issue, but the core three have returned and we are introduced to the other members as they face down one of their biggest threats yet in the Last Host, a dark and formidable class of Celestials that even the Avengers BC couldn’t take down. Are the Earth’s mightiest up for the task that was too great for the Gods themselves?
Jason Aaron is Marvel’s strongest writer on staff. His Thor run is nothing short of amazing and it is surprising that it took this long for him to get a run at the Avengers. Avengers #1 features action, comedy, and drama, all while maintaining consistent tone. This balancing act is a strength of Aaron’s. Knowing when to add levity is a great ability. Knowing how to use it without devolving the comic to a comedic romp is mastery.
There is a whole convoluted continuity that each of the primary Avengers are facing when they enter this issue. Thor is not really the God of Thunder, Iron Man was comatose. Captain America went full Nazi…yeah, one of these things is not like the other here. That aside, Aaron does a good job catching readers up with the minor details. If the reader has heard anything about the Avengers in the last couple years, they will understand what is going on. As for the non-primary Avengers, Aaron does a great job reintroducing the characters, and even finds great ways to drop their names into dialogue. A nice throwback to a bygone era when this was the norm. It is a skill to reference a character by name within dialogue instead of caption boxes. It ads an extra layer to a classic feeling
The only issue I have with the script is the tongue-in-cheek reference to the Waid run with the younger characters. I get that the run wasn’t that popular and was a let down following the Hickman run, but seems to just put a slight on the ideas. I get Marvel is trying to go to more meat and potatoes lineups, but I hope that doesn’t exclude Ms. Marvel and such. The inclusion of Ghost Rider was nice for this team, but the gender balance is skewed towards the male end. More balance in the future would be a nice touch. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for a classic core, and I don’t want it to be a machine-like, as in Hickman’s run, but more inclusion would be appreciated.
The art by Ed McGuinness is top notch. I enjoy the bombastic style and almost animated appearances. Yeah, the anatomy is exaggerated, but I think it adds to the artistic merit and is something that should be done more often in comics. The way McGuinness draws Black Panther is something great. It is just highly expressive and the eye lights featured are inspired. The pairing of McGuinness with Aaron is perfect for this story. With larger than life Celestials running around, it is fitting to have an artist that can match the tone. The facial expressions, however, are one of the faults here. Some are well done, such as Dr. Strange’s face throughout the comic, but something is not right about most, such as Tony Stark or Captain Marvel. That’s not a deal breaker by any means, though.
The colors and inks are also solid and compliment the tone of the comic. Mark Morales’ bold lines add to the bombastic tone of McGuinness’ pencils naturally. The colors from David Curiel are excellent. With vibrancy throughout, Curiel gets to color some crazy stuff such as the Celestials and the final host, which all look great.
Avengers #1 is a promising relaunch to the franchise that has felt diluted over recent years. Aaron is a tremendous talent that has earned this shot. It will be interesting to see where this comic is heading. It should be a wonderful ride. Ed McGuinness brings some fun art to the comic, too. I hope they can keep him around as long as possible or they find an artist that complements Aaron in the future.
Avengers #1 is currently available from Marvel Comics.