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Avengers Inc. #1
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘Avengers Inc’ #1 brings a splash of neo-noir to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes

Al Ewing’s trademark for pairing up with stellar artists and shaking up the Marvel Universe continues.

The Avengers have been one of the most fluid superhero teams in years. They’ve disassembled, and reassembled under Brian Michael Bendis. They grew into a world-defending machine under Jonathan Hickman. They’ve returned to their roots in the current Avengers title from Jed MacKay and C.F. Villa. Avengers Inc #1 from Al Ewing, Leonard Kirk, Alex Sinclair and Cory Petit dives into an entirely new area that you wouldn’t expect from an Avengers book: a crime procedural.

“The Man Who Wasn’t There” begins with a mystery at the supervillain prison the Raft. Six criminals were killed by what appears to be an invisible assassin, which attracts the attention of Janet van Dyne, aka the Wasp. The case only gets stranger when the villains are reanimated – among them is David Cannon, who’s plagued Janet for years as Whirlwind. But now he has a new set of powers and a new name: Victor Shade, which was one of the aliases used by the android Avenger Vision!

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'Avengers Inc' #1 brings a splash of neo-noir to Earth's Mightiest Heroes
Marvel Comics

Throughout his tenure at Marvel, Ewing has shown a flair for taking some of the most storied concepts of the Marvel Universe and finding entirely new takes on them. The Immortal Hulk was a horror story, while Venom and X-Men Red have been cosmic epics on entirely opposing scales. With Avengers Inc, Ewing not only turns in a solid murder mystery that just happens to take place in the Marvel Universe, he also uses it to explore what exactly the name “Avenger” means. It’s quite fitting that he uses Janet as the character to explore this, given that she not only helped found the Avengers but also gave them their name. “If we’re the Avengers, who are the avenged?” Janet wonders in the opening narration. The avenged, it turns out, may include the very villains she and her fellow heroes fight.

Kirk’s artwork is simultaneously not what one would expect from an Avengers book, but it still manages to have those superheroic elements. Wasp trades in her classic superhero ensemble for a series of sharply cut pantsuits, and many of the villains who appear in the series are decked out in prison jumpsuits. It’s only upon seeing Janet shrink and grow wings, or characters like Griffin (who happens to be a giant lion man with wings) that the more fantastic elements come into play. What helps sell this more low-key approach to superheroics is the coloring work from Sinclair, as well as the simple letters from Petit. The book has two color shades, depending on the location: a sepia tone when Jan is at the Jarvis Lounge and a cold, antiseptic white when she’s at the Raft. Far from being boring, it gives the book its own distinct visual identity.

Avengers Inc #1 continues Al Ewing’s trademark for pairing up with stellar artists and shaking up the Marvel Universe, while Leonard Kirk’s artwork helps things feel actually grounded without being ashamed of the more outlandish elements. It’s a solid opening for an offbeat title, and like any good mystery it ends with more questions than answers. After all, how else will you get readers to pick up the next issue?

Avengers Inc. #1
‘Avengers Inc’ #1 brings a splash of neo-noir to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
Avengers Inc. #1
Avengers Inc #1 continues Al Ewing's trademark for pairing up with stellar artists and shaking up the Marvel Universe, while Leonard Kirk's artwork helps things feel actually grounded without being ashamed of the more outlandish elements. It's a solid opening for an offbeat title, and like any good mystery it ends with more questions than answers. After all, how else will you get readers to pick up the next issue?
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Al Ewing once again provides a new twist on a classic Marvel title.
Putting the focus on the Wasp gives the book a strong connection to the Avengers.
Leonard Kirk's artwork feels grounded without abandoning the book's superhero origins.
A simple color scheme that provides a distinct visual identity for the book.
8
Good
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