Mark Waid (w), Adam Kubert (a), Sonia Oback (c)
A new team of Avengers is on the horizon. Who are they? What brings them together? Why does the world need another Avengers team? Let’s find out.
Following… well, I could summarize Secret Wars, or Marvel NOW!, or the Heroic Age, or any of the “events” Marvel has been using in recent years as an excuse to drive sales by canceling stories halfway through and throwing a big number one on the cover. Every year and a half since Siege ended and Joe Quesada gave up duties as Editor in Chief, there is a new series of upheavals within continuity and creative teams, trying to renew their characters and make them fresh. Not that you would have guessed that from the title All-New All-Different Avengers. I guess there wasn’t room in the title for the words “We’re begging you…”
The book features yet another group of eclectic heroes that are going to end up being Avengers because they happened to spend an afternoon with Captain America and Iron Man. Herein, Cap and Iron Man team up with Spider-Man (Mike Morales, not Peter Parker), Nova, Ms. Marvel and Vision to track down the Chitauri warlord Warbringer. And what threat endangers the world in such a way that “no single hero could withstand” it? He’s just looking for pieces of an artifact at the behest of some random guy. When they’re done with Warbringer, these all-new, all-different Avengers are going to start going after people on romantic scavenger hunts. And then people with shopping lists.
What really catapulted the Avengers back to relevance was Brian Michael Bendis’s New Avengers ten years ago. It paired Avengers mainstays like Captain America and Iron Man with people that had nothing to with the Avengers like Spiderman (Peter Parker) and Wolverine. They were drawn together by a mysterious threat that took years to uncover but seemed to tie together every villain imaginable. It took the title of “that Marvel book that my non-comic book friends have actually heard of” away from the X-Men. Since then, every character who wears a mask seems to automatically get an Avengers I.D. card in the mail two months later. There have been Mighty Avengers, Dark Avengers, Uncanny Avengers, Secret Avengers. So it was no secret the prestige was wearing off. But when you become an Avengers team because you happen to be chasing down a guy few people in the Marvel Comics universe have heard of, there’s no longer much to brag about.
Not only is there no clear or imminent threat in these pages, there’s very little that draws them together other than these characters simply cannot go more than a few blocks without running into someone else in colorful tights using excessive force. It sort of reminds you why these people really did need to registered. There are no storied-relationships here that make it interesting. Most of the characters have at most a passing awareness of the others. The ideological differences and conflicting personalities of other incarnations is absent. Instead, we get Ms. Marvel telling Nova he’s a jerk. Again. The first issue chose that moment out of context to be the first page of the first issue, even though neither character appeared in it. That moment does not occur until this issue and serves not only as a reminder of the awkward opening to the series but that little is likely to change.
There is little to warrant these people becoming a team and not enough danger to cause the reader to wonder what will happen next. Despite Mark Waid’s ability to create fascinating insights into less than relatable characters and the captivating art of Alex Ross’s covers, it almost feels like a relief that this story arc is only three issues long.