Marvel NOW! Review: Avengers Assemble #9 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Stefano Caselli
by Grey Scherl on November 19, 2012

Avengers Assemble #9
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art by Stefano Caselli and Rain Beredo

The short of it:

What happens when you take two very different varieties of super science smart guy and put them in a friendly competition? You get Tony Stark and Bruce Banner in this issue. After Bruce wins an award that Tony covets, not for any real reason mind you, just that he’s Tony Stark and hates to lose, debates arise. Really just Tony wanting his awesomeness acknowledged, and Bruce…he’s relatively modest when you consider that he moonlights as THE HULK. The paper revealing Bruce’s victory winds up uncovering the plot of the issue, as a scientist both are aware of is working at a twenty million year old lake in Antarctica, and samples have begun to go missing. Thus, a wager, a hundred grand from Tony Stark if Bruce can beat him to the punch. Each hero can pick a partner, and the first team to get down there and do the Avengery thing wins the pot.

So begins the recruitment, the hunt for a teammate, and nobody is interested. Eventually Hulk lands Spider-Woman, who thinks her pheromones will help out, and Iron Man teams up with Thor who reminds him that he asked everyone else first. The groups travel to the barren cold, and Spider-Woman is not a fan. She and Hulk have to walk, and she’s freezing her butt off. Meanwhile, Iron Man and Thor can fly…and not get cold. It helps them arrive first, but that just means they get hit first. So we wind up with all of our heroes fighting monsters, and then they find….something, and we’ve got a mystery!

What I liked:

  • You know what I probably love the most about KSD’s writing as a whole? She’s funny, and while it doesn’t make the books into humor books, it does make the situation feel organically lightened. Really, the humor keeps the book going at a fast and fun pace, and it’s a LOT smoother than previous attempts by the previous writer (whose humor got boring as time went on).
  • The “Will you team up with me” stuff was great. Especially Hulk/Spider-Woman.
  • This book really felt like Avengers, not to say previous books haven’t felt like it, but for some reason…I don’t know, the random excuse to put the action together, the friendly competition, the plugging and playing to use a small lineup of a big cast. It just felt very Avengers.
  • I’m a fan of Stefao Caselli’s and have been since I read Initiative…and much more so since I discovered Hack-Slash several months ago. There’s some great character work, and I love his version of Hulk. There are little hiccups throughout the issue, but for the most part it’s a really solid and really good looking book.

What I didn’t like:

  • Despite my being a fan of the humor, the weakest part of the issue is how long it takes to get the issue started. I mean, the pages of nothing really happening are great, but I needed something to gripe about.
  • Wait, here we go, this book is four bucks for standard length. BOOOOO!

Final thoughts:

In Iron Man Tony was running Resilient for a few years, and I know he stepped down before the last run ended, and I don’t have a clue what company status he has now but….I’m pretty sure it isn’t Stark Industries, but every other writer uses Stark Industries. KSD is no different, as the book opens up with Tony giving a lecture at the company that we last saw bankrupt. Then again, I’m pretty sure Bendis used to do the same thing. It’s just funny, no matter what his status is in his book, Avengers Tony will always be the CEO of Stark Industries.

I gave All-New X-Men props this week for not using Wolverine, but this book gets credit for KSD writing a very entertaining Logan for the few pages he cameos on.

So which Iron Man armor is the current one? Because he’s wearing that black and gold armor in his solo book, and on the covers to everything else, but he’s in the red and gold here. Is that a just this book sort of thing? Because it will definitely move to what I don’t like if we get three to four issues in and this is the only book using the classic colors.

I don’t know if KSD is the first woman to write Avengers, but if she is then it’s one hell of a big deal that Marvel isn’t selling as hard as they should. Especially since the book is REALLY FREAKING GOOD!

You know what makes a team book feel natural? Characters that interact like they are friends, or at least people who spend time around each other. When everyone has a stick up their ass, or is walking around on eggshells, or pushes the lack of trust…that’s when a team book starts to drag on. The never ending quest to get along. That isn’t the case here, at all, and the old buddies hanging out and making wagers is a great way to start it.

Another absolute home run first issue by Kelly Sue DeConnick, and it’s to the point now where instead of calling her Mrs. Fraction I am just going to start calling him Mr. DeConnick. I mean, I know I’m weighing Fantastic Four and FF against Captain Marvel and Avengers Assemble, but I think some readers may really underestimate how much I love Carol Danvers. I mean, yes, Fantastic Four is my favorite team ever, but my gut is telling me to put my faith in the books with Captain Marvel.

Overall: 9/10



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