Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Jerome Opena
Release Date: December 5, 2012
Hickman does a great job from the outset of making this comic his style, not trying to emulate Bendis in any way. It makes this comic feel like a true kickoff issue, like the status quo for the Avengers is changing, and you better get ready! Hickman is well known for his grandiose planning, he plays the long game, and you can feel this in this first issue. He is already building for something large, and it gives the comic an “epic” tone. Factor in the events of the final few pages of the issue, and I think epic could be the best word to describe this issue. The story starts with the core characters from the film, making this an extremely accessible book to any new readers. By the end, there is a shift in roster, but it is a natural and dynamic shift that will, if anything, make this book a lot more interesting than just focusing on the ‘movie team’. The tone of issue is somewhat darker, or at least more serious, than the film, which makes for a strong differentiation between this book and Avengers Assemble. There is an ominous threat lurking, and I was glad to see these Avengers didn’t slapstick their way through it. The issue has some pretty powerful villains in it, with motives that will be interesting to see explored further, and can definitely hold their own as worthy Avengers foes. It is a well crafted first issue, and as anyone who has read any Jonathan Hickman knows, the stage is being set for bigger things.
Jerome Opena’s art is, to be honest, much better than I expected it to be. His artwork for the ‘retrospective’ panels at the beginning of the issue is brilliant, and he pencils the villains in this issue with a ferocity that impressed me. While some of the characters looked a little shaky throughout the book, the final page showed what Opena is capable of, and that page alone has me wanting to see more of his work on this title. He keeps the visuals fresh throughout the book by using interesting layouts and some different angles than what are in every other book on the shelf, and his artwork does Hickman’s script justice. At the moment I’m not sure there is quite the same synergy between Opena and Hickman as what there was with Remender on Uncanny X-Force, but it is early in the game for this creative team and I could see that coming in the very near future.
This is a solid relaunch issue with an intriguing storyline that will definitely have me coming back. The Hickman era is here, Avengers fans, and if it keeps up with the pace set in issue #1 we are all in for a treat.
I want to throw in a last second shout out to the graphic designers on this book. The new Avengers ‘team diagram’ is a brilliant addition to this comic, and looks really cool to boot!