Writer: Mark Waid, James Robinson, G. Willow Wilson,
Artist: Mahmud Asrar, Leonard Kirk, Gerardo Sandoval,
This week marked the beginning of Marvel’s All-New All Different initiative, and boy, does it look promising. Avengers #0 previews six new team books from Marvel; All-New All Different Avengers, A-Force, New Avengers, Uncanny Avengers, Ultimates, and Squadron Supreme. Some of these stories were great, some were solid, and some were… mediocre.
The whole comic is framed around the new Squadron Supreme surveilling various teams in the Marvel universe, while fighting evil themselves. This segment, along with the upcoming Squadron Supreme ongoing, is written by James Robinson, with art by Leonard Kirk. For me, the story falls completely flat, with none of the characters interesting me. The Squadron is supposedly a team without the “boundaries” that the Avengers have, and that they won’t be accepted, which I guess is supposed to be edgy. The problem is that the characters aren’t shown being morally ambiguous here, the reader is just supposed to take their word for it. It barely works as a framing story, and I found myself skimming it the first time I read it, and forced myself to pay attention to it upon a later reading. It is worth noting, though, that this is the only story that truly demonstrates a team dynamic. It’s just too bad that it’s the most bland and uninteresting team available.
The first story is based around the All-New All Different Avengers (which is quite the mouthful, really), by Mark Waid with art by Mahmud Asrar. It centers around Vision visiting his old flame Scarlet Witch, and delivering her some distressing news. While I’m not sure how exactly this plays into Avengers, the plot of this story will certainly have some interesting repercussions later down the line, especially in Vision’s solo series. Waid’s writing is solid as ever, coming off as genuine and interesting. Asrar’s art, however, fails to grab me yet again. After seeing some of his work on All-New X-Men, and in the Avengers FCBD issue, my only thought is that his art looks like that of a lesser Terry Dodson. The colours are mismatched, the faces are strange, panels are often repeated, and overall it doesn’t fit a flagship title like Avengers. This story does have some interesting aspects, and has me somewhat interested in reading ANAD Avengers, but the art is just too much of a turn off for me.
I myself am a huge fan of female heroes, which is one of the reasons why I picked up the A-Force miniseries during Secret Wars. That story has been a total blast, and upon the announcement that G Willow Wilson would continue the series after Secret Wars, I was more than pleased. The story told here is less of an A-Force story, but more of a focus on Captain Marvel. The idea is that there is some sort of anomaly out in space, and your girl Carol Danvers has to go check it out. This also features the new status quo of Alpha Flight taking over the role previously held by S.W.O.R.D. as Earth’s intergalactic defense department. Much like the ANAD Avengers story in this book, this story focuses too much on one character, and seems to set up their own series moreso than the team book it’s supposed to be focusing on. Regardless, this is a fun story with some solid art by Victor Ibanez, and will surely tide me over until the first issue of A-Force.
Now, this next story has no right to be as good as it is. This preview of what’s to come in New Avengers is simply jaw droppingly awesome. Told through visions of a telepathic S.H.E.I.L.D. agent, two two-page spreads (which I think were intended to be a four-page spread) give is a bunch of context-less peeks at what’s in store over the course of Al Ewing and Gerardo Sandoval’s upcoming New Avengers run. Sandoval’s art is frenetic, detailed, and super cool, and Ewing seems to be setting up some crazy plot threads. Partnered with the concept of an Avengers team run by Sunspot, who is now the owner of A.I.M, as well as the return of some fan favourite characters, New Avengers looks to be a riot, and this preview definitely made Avengers #0 worth the price of admission for me. Also, stay tuned for my review of the first issue next week!
I’ll always have faith in the hands of Gerry Duggan. His run on Deadpool has been the best in years, with “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” being my favourite Deadpool arc of all time. Not to mention that 1872 is probably the best Secret Wars tie-in, and he mananged to make Sam Alexander interesting as Nova. So with all that in mind, why is this story so uninteresting? It could be because it feels less like an Avengers story than a Deadpool story. At least it isn’t the annoying “lol! Memes! Chimichangas! Soooooooo randum! XD” Deadpool, but it still just seems like Deadpool for the sake of Deadpool being Deadpool. That’s a lot of Deadpool. Which, if I’m honest, is one of my biggest concerns about the new Uncanny Avengers. It could very well just turn into Deadpool featuring the Avengers. It’s also worth mentioning that Ryan Stegman’s art here is very unattractive, with some of the worst proportions I’ve seen in modern comics, and some ugly faces too. Here’s to hoping that Uncanny Avengers will turn out better than this preview makes it look.
Finally, we have my most anticipated title of All-New All Different, Ultimates. I absolutely love the idea of a team that handles multiversal problems, and I love any team with America Chavez on it. Lucky for me, America is the focus of this story, fixing some of the damage from Captain Marvel’s run in with an intergalactic enemy in the A-Force story earlier in this issue. Al Ewing once again writes a great little tale, and nails the characterization of America Chavez. Kenneth Rocafort’s amazing art only makes this preview better, solidifying that Ultimates will be a book to keep your eye on.
It wouldn’t be fair to rate this comic as a whole, so the ratings I give each story are as follows:
Squadron Supreme: 4/10 – Boring story, but good art.
Avengers: 6/10 – Intriguing story, but the art ruins any interest I had in reading this series.
A-Force: 7/10 – Sleek art with an important introduction to new a status quo.
New Avengers: 9/10 – Amazing art and outlandish but awesome plot threads teased.
Uncanny Avengers: 5/10 – Just Deadpool for Deadpool’s sake, with some bad art.
Ultimates: 8.5/10 – Great concept, led by a great character. The art is something else, and I love it.