Another day, another dollar. Or in the case of Marvel, another Wednesday, another Avengers Comic. And one written by Bendis no less. Yes, Avengers Assemble #1, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Mark Bagley, hit comic store shelves yesterday and the first question that came to mind before hand I read the book was “Do we need another Avengers Comic?” Now after reading it’s first offering, the question is now, “Where has this title been hiding?”
The book, which will focus on the Avengers Movie characters but still be within continuity, begins it first issue by introducing the “new” Zodiac, an old school Avengers villain that has been given a facelift. The intro is short and sweet, giving you a double-page spread visual and just enough info to make the characters intriguing. We then cut to the newly resurrected Stark Tower, which I believe is getting it’s third shot at being the home of the Avengers (Tony even makes a joke asking his teammates to not destroy this one). This is another brief scene, a one-pager in fact, before we cut again to the desert for another round of Hulk vs. the military. Except this time he’s not actually fighting them. He’s trying to stop them from getting attacked by a water elemental, but try telling them that. The elemental, obviously a member of the Zodiac, gets away with a secret artifact and Hulk gets stuck with the blame. Shifting over to Latveria where we check in on Black Widow and Hawkeye who are on a mission. They’re friendly and playful with each other even though they really haven’t had a scene together on a comic page in like over a year. But we got a movie coming out, so let’s get these two talking, right? Anyways, after taking down a few spies, Hawk and Widow escape with another secret artifact only to be attacked by Taurus of the Zodiac. This brings Thor and Ironman into the fight. After some beating of the chest and a showing of strength, it appears that the Avengers are in for more than they bargained for with this adversary. Not a bad way to start a book.
This issue had what a lot of the Avengers books are lacking these days -an easily identifiable plot. Most of Bendis’ work lately has had convoluted stories that occasionally even contradict each other. It’s nice to get a straight-forward story with no tie-ins or hidden meanings. But we’ll see how long that lasts. The set up was more than just set up as there were a few action beats. The introductions seemed natural and didn’t feel like we were being talked down to. I know who the Hulk is. I know who Ironman is. I know who Hawkeye is. Thankfully, I didn’t feel like I was being beaten over the head with their back story or explanation of their abilities. Most importantly, a mystery has been revealed just enough that I want to come back to find out what it is. Again, something not done in a Bendis Avengers book in some time. I’m not saying that his other two books are terrible. In fact the work he’s doing with Daniel Acuna in the main title has been fun. It’s just nice to see him having a different take on these characters than he’s had in the past few years. I commend Bendis for making this book feel unique.
The visuals of the book are also very exciting. I know that Bagley is known as a “deadline” artist and for getting books done fast. But looking at this book, you’d never know it. The art looks pretty and with the right amount of detail. The inks by Danny Miki and colours by Paul Mounts are also great. This is by no means the best book ever drawn, but it’s consistent and has a good flow. The issue does what it sets out to do.
Overall, this book is just a set up but a good one. I am interested to see what this new Zodiac has to offer. I’m a little confused, as this book is in continuity yet the team is acting like they’ve never dealt with the Zodiac before. I’m sure this will be addressed in future issues. For now, I can safely say that Avengers Assemble #1 is a fun read and worth checking out. I know the last thing we need is another Avengers book, but at least it appears to be good. So pick it up today at your local comic shop.
And if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!