The Avengers #1
I didn’t have very high expectations for this book -not being much of an Avengers fan
nor liking much of Hickman’s other Marvel Now! Debut Uncanny Avengers (me being an idiot, that book was written by Remender) but it won me over almost instantly, in the space of a single page. The previously on that opens the book is a mist read for someone like me, who has little to now experience with the Marvel Universe, but i rarely enjoy reading them. Thankfully though the recap here focused more of the latter half of that phrase then the former, retelling the story of the Big Bang rather than that of the last brawl; it encapsulates the entire history of the physical universe from the first sun through to the first son of a godlike villain that has arisen on mars. This then begins as a book deserving of the same style logo that Hickman has used in his hard-science books like Manhattan Projects and FF and not a popcorn perversion of the same, but it doesn’t stay that way.
Speaking of popcorn the actual story of this Avengers run appears to be one of adaption; the evolution of man is mentioned because this is a book about evolving the Avengers into their next form. So in a direct reversal of Bendis and co. Hickman is goes outside of the roster made famous by the recent film; those heroes are all here but it is their near death and disappearance that sparks the start of the story, their replacements forming the real focus both here and in the upcoming sister series New Avengers. This is another brave move on the book’s part since at the time of a relaunch like this going the other way would have been oh so easy; thankfully then Hickman likes doing things the hard way.
Unfortunately though the book is only relatively radical, the theory behind it is terrific but in practice it is very much just the usual action that one would expect from such a title and only a little of the love that Hickman has shown himself capable of bestowing. Jerome Opena does a very decent job of rendering both these high-concept conflicts and the slower, more character driven moments – his sketches telling the story strongly if never stunning as stand alone art – but ultimately this isn’t the kind of book that I’m interested in buying week in, week out. I was wrong about it once though, and may yet be again – I really hope Hickman proves me to be – and if so I will pick this up in trade where the whole story can be swallowed in a single sitting, but for now the book is going back on the shelf as a ‘Wait and See’.