The Avengers #1
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by John Romita Jr.
I’ve been psyched about this book since the moment I heard about it. Through all the people hating on the way Romita’s women were looking in sketches, and even up through his giant Wonder Man. I like Romita Jr a lot, to me he draws the definitive Thor and Spider-Man, and to an extent his renditions of Iron Man and Daredevil have gone done in the books as iconic images. I love his art, always have. But yes, his Spider-Woman has weird cheeks, but aside from that? I love it, every last panel looks freaking awesome. ESPECIALLY the double page panel of Thor laying the smackdown on the returning big bad of the issue.
But on to the writing! Bendis does his best with the first issue to establish the status quo, the team, and the upcoming threat. Generally in most of his books this would have taken three issues, so this is a massive improvement for him. One issue down and we know the barebones plot of it, that’s kinda cool. I think New Avengers took three or four issues before we had the slightest clue what was going on.
The dialogue is great, as is the characterization, with the sole exception of Wonder Man…..though I didn’t read the Dark Reign mini he was in, so this could be normal. I won’t judge just on those merits.
Clint Barton, back to being Hawkeye, has regained much of the old school smart ass personality that had been hardened over during his time as Ronin, and it’s a good fit. There’s even an acknowledgement between him and Spider-Man that he went from Ronin one day to Hawkeye the next, and my immediate thoughts were “This time these two will be fun together, two smart asses being smart asses.” Couple those two with the easy pairing of Wolverine and Spider-Woman as two people who aren’t sure they deserve to be there. Tony has similar feelings, but he’s more up to discussing the, with Steve while Bendis acknowledges the first on panel conversation between Bucky and Thor.
And then the bad guy shows up. We get a lot of exposition, we get a lot of discussion, and then we move on to an end of the issue cliffhanger. All of this is discussed deeper in my spoiler thread, but this is a review, not a spoiler!
Bendis style talking heads are in full effect, as is the very dialogue driven story. And it works. There’s some action, but for the most part, this is a set up issue. And as set up issues go, it fires on all cylinders and does a great job making you antsy for what’s to come.
And then, of course, there’s the oral history of the Avengers as told by Brian Bendis as a back up feature, which in my eyes is just brilliant. He tells the story through the perspectives of the characters who did it, and lays in the funny with it. But it gets detailed, I mean, Thor detailing his connection to Donald Blake, Hank and Jan talking about their relationship, Bruce Banner reminding people that his Hulk memories are hazy. A quick read, but a good read.
All in all though, the only flaws with the issue at all? There are two. Spider-Woman’s face, and Wonder Man’s mullet….wait, three. That the first issue wasn’t longer, because I want more!
Tags: Avengers, Brian Michael Bendis, Captain America, Heroic Age, Iron Man, john romita jr, Siege, Spider-Man, Thor, Wolverine