If there ever was a title that deserved the moniker “All-New All-Different,” it was this Avengers series written by Mark Waid. Not only are there three teenagers on the team, but Steve Rogers isn’t Captain America and Thor is a woman. That means some rather unique character dynamics are in play, but is it good?
All-New All-Different Avengers Vol. 1: The Magnificent Seven (Marvel Comics)
I can imagine a lot of new readers familiar with the Avengers are going to be quite confused as to what is going on in this comic. Secret Wars just ended, mixing together all sorts of Marvel storylines and most of these characters have had a soft reboot of sorts because of it. Marvel Comics official summary reads:
The Avengers are dead — long live the Avengers! Earth’s Mightiest Heroes — Captain America, Thor, Vision and Iron Man — are living separate lives, not tied to any team. But when a threat from beyond the stars targets our world, fate draws them together again, alongside a group of young adventurers who will reinvigorate the Avengers like never before! Welcome to the big leagues, Nova, Ms. Marvel and Miles “Spider-Man” Morales! But as Warbringer makes good on his name, the reassembled Avengers struggle to put their differences aside. One among them may find their membership short-lived, but two are definitely getting along — when passions flare between Captain America and Thor, it leads to Earth’s Mightiest Kiss! But who is the familiar villain pulling the Avengers’ strings?
Why does this book matter?
Mark Waid has written himself some truly classic Avengers tales before and recently came off one of the finest runs of Daredevil ever, so you know we’re in good hands. That gives this title “worth a look” status right off the bat. Plus, you have heavy-hitter artists Adam Kubert and Mahmud Asrar on art and you’ll be reminded Marvel treats this title as one of their top books. There’s no way this can be bad…right?!
Lines like this make you love the series.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
First off, this issue is great for new readers as Waid deftly introduces the characters and their respective dynamics between each other respectfully. From Captain America and Iron Man’s semi-cold relationship, to Nova and Captain Marvel secretly liking each other despite hating each other on the surface. There are a lot of different things going on with these characters and it’s this element that makes the book so enjoyable to read. To add even more drama to the proceedings, Vision opens this book by purging his emotions which has made him very distant from the characters and incredibly robotic. This makes for an entirely new element thrown into the bunch of new elements.
The dynamic between the young and old is also a compelling element you don’t see in every Avengers book. This drives the story in different ways and allows Waid to tell all sorts of sub plots. Sub plots include the classics, “They don’t believe in us because we’re young” and “Good job you have potential.” Because of these new dynamics even characters like Iron Man are thrust into situations that feel fresh.
So I guess Thor knows how to work on cars?
Waid has also made Captain Marvel incredibly endearing as all she cares about saving people’s lives and keeping them out of trouble. Take for instance a scene where Nova smashes a building to stop a fire and she flips out on him. She has a point; people rely on that building and maybe, just maybe, if they gave it a second thought they could have saved the building. Nova also has moments like this as he learns the hard way what it means to be a hero. Miles Morales as Spider-Man also has moments like this, although it’s clear in this book he’s a lot more used to the hero thing than they are.
There’s a villain too of course–actually there are a few, and they are all controlled by a mysterious villain introduced early on. It’s not until the end of this book do we find out who he really is and it’s a clever reveal that suggests we’ll see more from him in the future. The plan he concocts is rather neat and deals with a plot element the Avengers know all too well. It may or may not deal with time. Gasp!
Their dynamic is a lot of fun!
The art throughout this trade paperback is good too. Asrar gets art duty on the opening #0 issue and wraps things up with issues #4 through #6. In between those, Adam Kubert lends his art duties with exceptional facial expressions for Captain Marvel and Nova to really hammer home their awkward introductions. Asrar’s style reminds me of a lighter, cleaner Leinil Francis Yu who’s as good as Kubert with facial expressions (the Thor secret identity reveal is fantastic!) which is important considering this book is 70% character and 30% action. You won’t dislike the action scenes either as they are quite good. It’s not very jarring when the artists switch off either, which helps make this volume feel cohesive.
It can’t be perfect can it?
If you were to pick a main character Captain Marvel and Nova would be up there for this title, which unfortunately makes Spider-Man feel a bit like a second fiddle since he’s the other younger member. It’s also kind of odd how we never see Spider-Man outside his costume, but maybe that’s to protect his identity? Most of the characters get major moments or things to do but not so for Miles (okay he does do something pretty badass at the very end).
While the villain’s plan is cool, the reveal of who he is leaves a lot to be desired. I won’t spoil it here, but he’s kind of a derivative version of a bigger, badder villain. You get the impression Marvel didn’t want to mess up the main villains so they left Waid with a subpar one instead. The Avengers themselves carry the book anyway, but it would have been cool to find out the villain meant more to the overall universe. Maybe he will down the road though.
What just happened?
Is It Good?
All-New All-Different Avengers Vol 1 is a hell of a lot of fun. The characters feel unique from one another, but more importantly the dynamics between them deliver a lot of page turning goodness. If you like these characters don’t hesitate to pick this up.