Comic Book Review: Avengers Vol 1 Avengers World

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I think it’s fair to say that Jonathan Hickman is the Grant Morrison of Marvel, both of these writers have a reputation for writing stories that are very out there, trippy, esoteric and not very accessible to everyone and Hickman’s first volume of Avengers proves this. If you’re not a fan of very grand scale, dense, dry, sci-fi and cosmic stories, you will not like this book at all; in fact you will down right hate and despise it. Though even if you do like all of those things, this is a book you need to read multiple times to truly appreciate.

Following the events of AvX, Tony Stark and Steve Rogers both recognize that the threats they face are growing larger and larger and the Avengers must expand in order to properly combat these threats. One such threat is Ex Nihilo and his sister Abyss, two ancient begins older than man kind who are changing life on Earth and in the process killing millions of people across the world.

While the story seems very simple from the short summary I gave you guys, its actually quite complicated and very sci-fi. The story deals with the themes of evolution, the purpose of life, should progress be forced to happen simply for the sake of progress and the origins of life itself. As I stated before, it can be very dense and very out there to the point where I had to read this particular volume 4 times before I could fully understand everything.

This is a positive and a negative, the positive side is that the book has huge re-readability, you constantly notice new things as you go through it and I thought the story got better each time I completed it. The negative side comes from the fact that it is very, very dense, you need to be in the right mood to read this and you constantly have to pay attention to everything that’s going on, if you miss even a small detail you will be asking yourself what the fuck is going on  later in the story.

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Another potential problem is that so much is setup with this first volume and the ideas are so grandiose, you need to keep reading this book on a monthly basis and constantly keep track of everything that’s going on both here and in Hickman’s New Avengers title. Before either tittles even came out he said he planned out a hundred issue story line spanning both books, right off the bat this feels like something you should read once it’s all completed rather than something that’s still progressing and that’s a problem.

I’m very skeptical that Hickman will be allowed to tell this hundred issue story he wants to tell, especially since similar runs like Matt Fractions Iron Man were cut off abruptly thanks to re-launches like Marvel NOW. Being a reader of both Avengers tittles, they seem very disconnected right now and some people will dislike the notion of needing to buy two books to get the full story.

That being said, this was really, really damn good. While I’m not usually a fan of these big cosmic story lines, it worked here because the inter character relationships are done in such a great way and the banter between them is very entertaining. Several people have said this series is very dry and I agree to a point, the characters take everything very seriously here and it can come off as humorless or even soul less. But honestly that’s not the case here.

For me the characters acted appropriately to the situations they were faced with, life on Earth is being altered and millions of people are dying with each passing moment, so they take it seriously. But Hickman manages to have several really funny exchanges between the various members and they all work because Hickman has a fantastic voice for all of them. My biggest problem with Bendies’s Avengers run were the characters, they all sounded the same and lacked personalities.

Hickman has a distinct and fantastic voice for each and every member of the Avengers, despite having a 20 character rooster to deal with, none of the members talk the same or seemingly have the same personality and all of them feel right. Steve is hopeful, no nonsense commander, Tony feels a lot like the RDJ version without it feeling like pandering to the movie audience but my favorites here were Wolverine and Spider-Man, some of their dialogue and interaction was just hilarious. No one feels out of character and everyone feels unique.

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I also like that Hickman is letting more obscure characters get into the big leagues by making them Avengers, people like Shang-Chi, Hyperion, Smasher, Captain Universe and many more all shine through and Hickman spends issues fleshing them out and explaining them to readers unfamiliar with them.

To finish of this review we have the art and its simply breathtaking, Jerome Opeña who did an amazing job with Remender on Uncanny X-Force continues to amaze here with some breathing panels and really interesting color palette which fits in with the story being told here, though it can be a little too dark for my taste at certain points.

Though I cannot say this book is a good jumping on point for new readers, the themes, ideas and character utilized here require of you to known a lot of the back story of the Avengers, their individual members and for you to constantly keep your brain turned on. If you’re going into this book expecting the big bombastic action of the Avengers movie on the page you will despise this, if you’re going into this expecting some thing with the themes and ideas as grand as something like The Dark Knight or Man of Steel, then you will love it



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