“Mighty,” “Uncanny” and “All-New, All-Different” are adjectives you’re likely to see paired with “Avengers.” “Fun” – not so much. But in reality, that’s exactly what Avengers #4.1 is – “Fun Avengers!”
Avengers #4.1 (Marvel Comics)
There have been rumors of late that Marvel Comics is looking to bring its biggest heroes back to their roots. The recently announced Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man certainly backs up this news.
No matter what the future holds for the House of Ideas, I hope Mark Waid and Barry Kitson’s current Avengers series serves as an inspiration. Here, we have a story that takes place in the early days of the Marvel Universe, but doesn’t feel dated. This is a blueprint for telling classic tales that don’t rely on gimmicks that insult both readers and the characters they love.
In the penultimate issue of this mini-series, Captain America’s new Avengers team continues to unravel in the presence of the power-enhancing Cressida (aka Avenger X). It also doesn’t help that the media’s not being too kind to this current batch of Avengers.
So what does Captain America do? He holds a rambling press conference in which he lashes out at the “fake news!” No, just kidding. He ends up handling the bad press much more maturely – by challenging the Frightful Four to a rematch (Okay, I guess punching your way out of a problem isn’t too mature either).
The character moments are what help this series shine. From the Avengers’ butler Jarvis sprinkling itching powder in Hawkeye’s uniform as payback to Quicksilver’s devotion to his twin sister – Waid gets these characters and you never doubt that.
It’s also refreshing to see superheroes make quips. Hawkeye tells the Sandman to go to sleep and Captain America makes a haircut joke as he cuts through Medusa’s living hair with his shield. Not much time for humor between modern Marvel’s Civil Wars and Secret Empires.
Then there’s Kitson’s artwork–classic Marvel pencils. Someone give this guy a monthly series already! Although we’re unlikely to ever see Hawkeye and the Scarlet Witch in their classic costumes in a Marvel movie, Kitson’s renditions of these characters remind you why their initial looks went on to become so iconic.
Another treat for readers – Marvel goes all in on making Avengers #4.1 a 100 percent retro experience. From the recap page to the advertisements for classic Marvel issues – you’ll think you’re back in 1965. And then you’ll finish this comic and remember that it’s 2017 and the tears will start to flow.
But don’t cry too much – there’s still one more issue of this series! I’m definitely curious to see how Waid wraps up the story of Avenger X and sets up her return in his other Avengers series – something that was hinted at in Avengers #1. It’d definitely be cool if Kitson returned to handle the art duties on that eventual arc! But we’ll see.
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