Review: AVENGERS #1

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AVENGERS #1
Written by Mark Waid
Art by Mike Del Mundo, Marco D’alfonso, Cory Petit
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: November 2, 2016

Shifting gears from All-New, All-Different Avengers, Avengers #1 is a bit more widescreen and fantastic from the start, with both Thor (Jane Foster) and Hercules charging the reader, bellowing “HAVE AT THEE!” They are not attacking you, gentle reader, but instead are on the offensive against Hoarfen, the frost-wolf.

The opening image, while saturated and vibrant, is punctuated by Thor’s cape, as it sweeps away from her in the aftermath of her hurling Mjolnir your way. Del Mundo’s work on Weirdworld was phenomenal, and Waid is fully aware of this, dropping the fight between Hoarfen and some Avengers into Central Park on a crisp fall day.

Del Mundo makes the most of every opportunity in this thirty-two-page story to visually describe the cast, from different ways characters cup their hands near their mouths when divulging secrets (which happens more than expected) to the stature of the characters rendered small (but mighty) in some of the “traffic” panels. Collaborating with Waid, color artist Marco D’alfonso, and letterer Cory Petit, Del Mundo unmistakably identifies most of the cast of Avengers #1 before page 4. Thor, Hercules, Captain America (Sam Wilson), and Wasp (Nadia Pym) truly appear as a team, working in concert to attack a threat.

The rest of the cast has their moments, but Del Mundo has enough real estate to establish identities and personalities as Peter Parker, Spider-Man, Vision, Kang, and Scarlet Centurion join the action.

Del Mundo leaves plenty of opportunity to showcase his visual collaborators, including the Thor-Hercules-Captain America triple threat that results in Mjolnir SP-TANG-ANG-ANG-ANGing off the shield in a maneuver potentially inspired by the movies, but executed as only can happen in comics. And it’s wonderful. Of course writer Mark Waid certainly had something to do with that scene. Petit uses rigid, chunky outlines to replicate the reverberation, but hollows out the letters themselves, instantaneously elevating the lettering impact on the page while simultaneously keeping Del Mundo and D’alfonso’s work clean and fresh.

Waid does a nice job of assembling the team, buttoning up items from the previous series, reaching back into Avengers lore, and establishing personalities in one issue. He also gives the Avengers a solid roster, a new base of operations, a reason for assembling, and a threat unlike any they’ve ever truly faced.

I’ve been hoping (and occasionally tweeting) that I’d like to see a Kang epic. In those tweets, I’ve speculated that the epic should be written by James Robinson, but it’s quite clear to me Mark Waid is going to be the writer for that epic, as is evident throughout Avengers #1. In setting up the start of that would-be epic, Waid puts a lot on the table, giving readers so very much to look forward to. Before the back cover of this issue can be closed, however, Waid, Del Mundo, D’alfonso, and Petit present four snippets, presented in widescreen, horizontal panels, under the banner “Coming This Year in Avengers“.

Let me tell you, my friends, there is a lot to come. Add that to a riveting Avengers read, with a solid, diverse roster that is both new and familiar, and Avengers #1 is as inviting an introduction to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as you’re going to get. At least for 2016. Hope in the Quinjet and have a look around. Waid is writing a fun story, Del Mundo and D’alfonso are making it visually striking and even quite pretty, and Petit is bringing it all home, giving readers a wonderfully complete experience.

The Verdict: 10/10

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