AVENGERS VOL. 1: AVENGERS WORLD (Marvel, 2013; Hardcover)
Collects Avengers Nos. 1-6 (cover dates February- April, 2013)
Writer: Jonathon Hickman
Artist: Jerome Opena (1-3) and Adam Kubert (4-6)
The relaunched flagship Avengers title is fairly similar to Bendis' run on some levels while being tied closely to the movie version on others. Both Captain America and Iron Man look like their celluloid counterparts, which is all well and fine. The book jumps back and forth in time, a Hickman crutc...er, hallmark. Hickman uses the movie roster of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye, and the Black Widow as the starting point for the team. His dialogue is occasionally cringe-inducing, but nowhere near Bendis bad. Cannonball, Sunspot, Spider-Woman, Captain Marvel, Manifold, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and the Falcon are brought in as a second string to save the first team's butt.
Being an Avenger is pretty meaningless nowadays. There are so many teams, it's almost like Marvel threw darts at a board to staff each team. It is incredibly stupid that Wolverine is on both this and the “Uncanny” team. I guess bending space and time must be another of his seemingly endless powers. Or maybe he can do a Madrox the Multiple Man and divide himself up. Captain Universe, Hyperion, Shang Chi the Master of Kung Fu, and a new, female Smasher help bring the team roster to a ridiculously large level.
There are two arcs in this book. The first deals with a robot named Aleph, one of the ancient Builders/ Gardners, who does a service to the universe by evolving species to their utmost potential. Those who are deemed not worthy get destroyed. Aleph and two of his creations, siblings Abyss and Ex Nihlo, have decided to help the apes on a stone three away from a star evolve. The Avengers intervene. The Avengers win. Sorry, I should have added a spoiler tag. My bad.
The second arc is the one that has me excited. A.I.M. Is caught trying to scour the sites that Aleph had sent to Earth. One of them has a humanoid figure who speaks in some strange code. Tony Stark is working on deciphering it when Captain Universe cracks the code for him. It turn out to be (SPOILERS) Nightmask from the New Universe! Oh please Marvel, integrate the New Universe into the mainstream Marvel Universe. I would love to see the D.P. 7, Star Brand, and Psi-Force Classic trade paperback lines completed, as well as a Nightmask one. (END SPOILERS) So that is where we are going forward.
Issue 6 is very Bendis-esque, all talk with some faux witty dialogue. This wasn't a bad read by any stretch, it's just that Remender's Uncanny Avengers is head and shoulders above this series thus far.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.75 out of 5.
The OCD zone- Marvel has switched to a new dustjacket free hardback for all of their Marvel Now! Premiere Hardcovers. While the MSRP for five issues seems a bit high ($24.99 MSRP), all of the variant covers are included as a gallery in the back and there is a code included for a free digital copy of this book. I honestly don't care about digital comics, but this is great for the folks who do. What I do care about, however, is the annoying cardboard code card that is glued into the binding. It sticks out like a sore thumb towards the back of the book and makes me unhappy.
The covers are collected in the back of the book in a gallery instead of in their proper chapter marker place. This is very annoying.
Paper rating: 4 out of 5. This book has a decent weight glossy coated stock. It's not as thick as the stock that Marvel used to use in these books.
Binding rating: 4.25 out of 5. These Premiere Hardcovers have glued binding, but they are on the thin side so they lay reasonably flat with the exception of the very front and especially the very back of the book. That stupid digital code card throws a wrench in the enjoyment factor for me.
Hardback cover coating rating: 4.5 out of 5. The coating leaves a strange, filmy feeling on your fingers but is of sufficient thickness that it doesn't scuff easily. It's not Avatar Press awesome but is pretty darn good. I'm happy with it. I was initially opposed to the idea of Marvel foregoing dustjackets, but not any more...at least for these Premiere Editions.