All-New, All-Different Avengers 1

anad avengers 1

Today, Ryan M. and Taylor are discussing All-New, All-Different Avengers 1, originally released November 11th, 2015.

Ryan: Though the Avengers have yet to assemble, the five of them that are featured in this issue have a shared problem. They have internal issues with how they are perceived by the outside world. Captain America is not happy to have his behavior scrutinized for racial implications, Iron Man is still seen as a titan of industry even though his wallet is literally empty and Spider-Man, well, to borrow a phrase, he can’t get no respect. In the second story of the issue, Ms. Marvel struggles with her ability to prove herself to a fellow hero and Nova can’t make headway with a pretty girl. These guys will soon have to work together to save the world from war-mongering aliens, but they each have something else to prove to others.

Mark Waid opens the issue with Captain America saving a car full of people from falling to their deaths with his heroics that Adam Kubert shows in a series of vertical panels that emphasize both the danger and the Cap’s swift flight. Soon the attention shifts to a bit of gotcha citizen journalism. Two Girl Scouts vie for Captain America’s single five dollar bill, and the crowd records the moment. The racial element is introduced in stages. First, the girls speak from off-panel, then we see their faces as part of the crowd shot. Then we get the snarky commentary from the crowd. The conflict is heightened by showing each girl holding a box cookies with smiling pride. The panels have the misty background of a school photo. Then a panel of phones, held up, ready to create a viral moment out of nothing. This trio of panels both simplifies and crystallizes the issue. Cap then employs a classic strategy for those in a no-win scenario; he shifts the focus. In another nod to the theme of public perception, he points out Stark’s need to put aside his dislike of children for the photo opp.
cap-two girl scouts

Cap knows that this kind of scrutiny is part of his new identity and admits as much to Stark, but it’s clearly weighing heavily on him. He and Stark discuss the lack of an Avengers team, not knowing that the world will need one that very day.

The Chitauri Villian introduced in the issue has a fairly generic warring alien vibe. He is grumpy and sees humans as insignificant. As much as I was ready to write him off as typical, especially given his trite final line, the efficiency of his disposal of three heroes with one blast created an image that is quite striking.

warbringer

In the second part of the issue, we go back a month and a half before Warbringer stands over the unconscious heroes to see Ms. Marvel and Nova’s first encounter. I was sort of hoping for a meet-cute, but these two are so filled with insecurities and self-consciousness, that it is decidedly not cute. Nova and Ms. Marvel are both so concerned with how they are perceived that they can’t forge an honest connection.

Waid offers us a clearer vision of the subtext by giving us running interior monologue for both Nova and Ms. Marvel. All of  their feelings are made text. It made for an uncomfortable read, given that you can see exactly where the characters are moving at cross purposes, unintentionally offending and hurting each other. It’s like watching a car full of people careen off a bridge without Captain America’s wings. Or, in the real world, it’s like having two friends confide in your their version of an argument. Each side’s anger and frustration is justified, but neither can see the entire picture. We know that Kamala’s reaction to Sam revealing his face is all about her own fears and insecurity, but what he sees is her rejection of his vulnerability.

Mahmud Asrar’s art reinforces this feeling. As Kamala’s mind races, we see her stricken face in the forefront with a swirl of red and black behind her. When she responds verbally, all of that color is gone, replaced with an unfeeling white. Her face is also more shadowed and without affect. She seems indifferent, even though the previous panel shows she is anything but.

marvel - i didn't ask
I can sometimes be a bit shameless in my desire to want characters to find a connection, especially angsty teenage ones, but I hope that these two can get past their own insecurities and end up friends.
Taylor, I know I focused on the internal conflicts with these characters, but how do you think the more external conflicts are shaping up? What do you think of Warbringer as a villain? Also, am I just wearing my shipper goggles with Nova and Ms. Marvel?

Taylor: From what I’ve read of Warbringer in this issue I’m both excited and bored by him at the same time. On the one hand, he’s a typical evil alien who wants to destroy. You know, your typical Avengers villain. His design doesn’t help out his cause either. Like many would-be destroyers of planet Earth, Warbringer is huge, ugly, and generally purple in color. I’m not sure why that’s become the accepted form for evil aliens but it has, so I’m not super thrilled to see the motif repeated here yet again.

However, where Warbringer fails to impress in originality, he more than makes up for with his general grumpiness and bombastic persona. While this again is an old trope for giant, purple men, the way it plays off of Wade’s tone in the issue is fascinating. Warbringer is self-serious and an old-school villain to a fault. This disposition doesn’t exactly jive with the man he first meets on Earth, Dario Agger.

Super Villian Meet-Up

No man to mince words, Warbringer attempts to leave Dario in the dust and get busy bustin’ Earth. Problem is, Dario has the upper hand and he also loves to talk. Seeing Warbringer, a giant of a man/alien, essentially helpless before a suit is comic gold. His desire to smash is overridden by Dario’s desire to scheme and it’s great to see Dario play Warbringer like a fiddle. The dynamic between these two characters rivals any relationship I witnessed in the issue among the Avengers and I only hope more scenes like this pepper later issues. That being said, Warbrginger in isolation would be a bore, but throw in Agger and things suddenly become much more interesting.

While this first chapter of the issue hold promise, I found the second to be the chapter that I really enjoyed. I’ll come out and say it — I love every story Kamala Khan stars in. That being said, maybe I’m a bit of a homer when it comes to stories for her, but I think that stems from her just being one of the most damn likable people in comics. That means I don’t blame you for wearing shipper goggles when you see her and Nova, Ryan. We want Kamala to be happy and if that means she has a love interest in another super hero her age I’m all for it.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Kamala and Nova play off of each other’s insecurities (such an accurate representation of courtship!) but I was equally impressed with the artwork of Adam Kubert. Notably, I appreciate how he understands that most readers of this issue probably have some idea of who Ms. Marvel and what her powers are. When giant monsters from a micro-dimension attack Jersey City, Kamala leaps into action and embiggens herself to take on the creatures.

Giant Perspective

Last I saw Kamala she had just changed into her super suit and was normal size. On first glance it’s easy to think she’s still that size in the panel above where she has the purple monster in a headlock. However, I know she’s huge because Kubert includes some nice reference points here such as the car and the tree which indicate her size. This size change is also reinforced two panels later when Nova smashes into the monsters mouth with his fists. The effect of this is that I get a the impression Kamala emgiggened herself in the alley she changed costumes in and suddenly appeared out of nowhere, to the surprise of all. I love it when an artist implies such a large amount of action off-page but does so in a way that doesn’t interrupt the flow of the story. This is solid visual story telling and added to my enjoyment of this issue.

However these Avengers are perceived by others, I know that I’m at least entertained.

For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to Comixology and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?

Advertisements

6 comments on “All-New, All-Different Avengers 1

  1. I think I liked this comic more for the responses it got from readers than for what actually happened inside the comic. There were a lot of expectations from this: Avengers expectations, Miles expectations, Kamala expectations, Sam Wilson expectations…

    Most people had some of these met, but not always the ones that they were most interested in. I went in to this with Mark Waid expectations…

    Mine weren’t completely met. I loathed the backup. I just didn’t care for the characterization of either Kamala (who I like quite a bit and have read pretty much every appearance she’s made in her short existence) or Nova (who I don’t give two rips about). I found it trite and irritating and it turns out a teen version of the heroes meet and don’t get along the first time trope is even more irritating (to me) than the usual version.

    I really do think in this case, part of my problem is Secret Wars. I don’t know what the heroes know about what they just experienced, especially considering the last pages of Kamala’s book, and her interactions here seem so juvenile and dumb compared to what last transpired for her, I really didn’t care for it. On the other hand, I’ve never cared for Kid Nova (only read a couple things with him, something about fighting a hulk during AXIS maybe), so this just reinforced my dislike.

    On the other hand, the main story I found likable. Not lovable, but at least likable. I didn’t think it was special, but it created a story that seemed to involve the characters that would be involved in the story. It was slightly clever, it was fun, there was a tiny bit of drama as of course the heroes got their butts kicked, but based on that, I could see reading issue two.

  2. Urgh… This was terrible. I was looking forward to this, as the team seemed so fascinating (still slightly unsure if it is right for Ms Marvel to be on the team. Considering her position as the fangirl of the Marvel Universe, having her fight alongside Tony Stark every month has the fear of integrating her too much into the core of the universe and ruining that ‘I can’t believe I’m meeting Wolverine’ vibe that is so important. Hell, unsurprisingly this is one of the many, many mistakes Waid made by having Kamela mention having informed opinions. She’s only met three superheroes in person, and one is dead and the other’s Loki) I can’t look at the team and not feel that Kate Bishop seems like she should be there. Really feels like she is supposed to. Still, the team looked great.

    I’m not a Mark Waid fan, but he has generally proved himself able to write a competent narrative that really takes advantage of the strength of the artist. Archie works entirely due to Fiona Staples amazing art, and Daredevil’s art was a major part of what made it work (even as I gave Daredevil up because Waid seemed unwilling to risk his Silver Age fun to give the story his run was building to. Still, at worst, I expected this comic to be functional. Even after his terrible Vision story in Avengers 0, which somehow found one of the worst ways to express a man deleting his emotional memories, I chalked it up to tight constraints and the need to get the pieces in play for his story to actually start.

    But even before a dig deeper, this issue was just incompetent. Tony Stark is stuck on traffic on a bridge, despite being in a flying car that can turn into an Iron Man suit, which makes no sense in half a dozen ways (why was he driving if he could fly? Why didn’t he help during the accident? I struggle to believe he didn’t notice, considering the fact that somehow Captain America did, flying around New York). I would bet money that there wasn’t enough time for Spider-man to actually properly enter the tower and eavesdrop, which was the ultimate narrative convenience (which, to be fair, is forgivable if the comic wasn’t so terrible that these mistakes were jumping out). And then we have the villain of the first arc just be a Chitari Brute, despite the fact that the Chitari are by design utterly uninteresting and exist so that heroes have something to punch as they deal with the more interesting villain/crises (in the movie, Loki and the portal)

    But dig deeper, and there’s nothing. Sometimes I wonder how intimidating it would be for a young writer to look at critique like ours, discussing theme and stuff, and think it is an insurmountable challenge. But while you can be very elaborate and planned (King’s Vision is a great example of that), all you really need is to commit to an idea. New Avengers works as a story about the use of genius simply because it takes the idea of ‘the Avengers run AIM’ and tells a story about it. Just tell stories of Avengers Idea Mechanics solving crises with super science, and theme emerges naturally. But Waid has no interest is anything like that. He starts by exploring the difficulties of navigating the racial politics of Sam Wilson being Captain America, then discusses the absence of a proper Avenger team, before ending with a giant alien that has nothing to do with either. The back up story, for some baffling reason, begins a ‘meet cute’ story with a discussion on who should be in the new Avengers line up, something whose only payoff is the fact that we can see Miss Marvel and Nova on the cover. Why not do a ‘Which Avenger would you want to date?’ discussion, that is actually appropriate (maybe this is nitpicky, but as I said above, when reading something this empty, this bad, every problem becomes really, really obvious). If you are going to have Ms Marvel complain about Nova for being violent instead of the classic Ms Marvel empathy strategy, why have Kamela’s first action be wrestling? Why have Kamela go on and on about empathy and being careful if all she is going to do is wrestle, instead of trying to befriend the monster to calm it down before Nova resizes it. That would have fit better and be so much more interesting that wrestling.

    I can’t think of many things that make it more clear than how this comic introduces its one unique idea, the idea that there is no Avengers team, and a new one must be formed. SO much potential. Top of my head, how about a new Thunderbolts style team appearing, trying to take advantage of the hole, and the new kids find out and have to gather the old guard to reform the Avengers to stop them, and in doing so, prove themselves good enough. Or really run with it, remove the Big Three and Vision, and do a Young Avengers team, without calling them Young. THe kids seeing that there is no Avengers team, and have to grow up. Add the notable Young Avengers, and it makes a good follow up to Gillen. Now, it is there time to be the adults.
    Instead, Waid just does ‘villain attacks, and heroes come together’. Which is just a waste of an idea.

    But that’s the comic. Superficially, it seems like it is alright. But it is hollow. Rainbow Hub’s review basically described it as a cluttered bulletin board advertising the rest of Marvel’s comics, but I’d be harsher. Waid seems to have no ideas himself, and seems to be content at doing poor man’s versions of what everyone else is doing, with no respect for the actual story itself. The main story is directionless, with character introductions not only being unmotivated but are actually nonsensical. The villain is boring and empty, while a larger villain seems particularly interested in Nova, who didn’t feature in the main story, nor a particularly inspiring choice. It wouldn’t be hard to keep going on, but that’s all there is to say. It is empty, with no interest in even the barest slither of being something other than shallow references of every other comic. I don’t even like Waid’s work and I know he should be better than that.

    • I didn’t hate this issue as much as you, but yeah, I wasn’t super impressed with it either. The discussion about the “real Avengers” feels a bit condescending and dismissive of the work other writers are doing on Avengers books — it’s also pretty meta, but not in a way that feels organic; the characters are having that discussion because that’s the discussion Waid is having, but it doesn’t feel like a natural discussion/opinion for them to have, if that makes any sense.

      And yeah, I was one of those people who actually read the last Nova run through to the end, and this Chitauri dude wasn’t an interesting villain there either.

      This is a fun roster, and I’m thinking it could still pick up down the line, but it didn’t wow me the way I was hoping it would.

      • Honestly, I don’t hate it. It isn’t bad in the ways that make you want to hate something. It isn’t offensive. It is too empty to hate. I just read it, and went ‘that was terrible’. It is the sort of bad comic that doesn’t make you feel anything. But if we look at what I read last week, it was by far the worst, and I read some disappointing stuff. And it is the sort of disaster that deserves talking about, largely because it is hard to talk about it in a way that isn’t ‘I wasn’t impressed with it’. It isn’t bad in a way that makes you hate it. It is bad in a way that leaves you numb and unfeeling

        I want to be honest about my opinions here, and with a comic like this, there is no way to do it other than meticulous dissection. If anything, I’m disappointed. The roster is great, and I was really looking forward to it (though I still think Kate Bishop should be there, to fit both the classic Avengers re-imagined and the young people leading the way theme this team has, and I would rather have Ms Marvel take her time to reach the big leagues, as brunch with Tony Stark every week seems wrong this early in her career, but we’ll see how the new Ms Marvel relaunch deals with that). But sadly, other than the fun roster, I don’t see why I should continue.

        The ‘only Avengers team’ thing is silly, but forgivable in a better comic simply because from a meta standpoint, there is always going to be a ‘real Avengers’ team. Yeah, it is condescending to say that AIM or the Unity Squad aren’t real Avengers (especially when you fill those teams with characters that generally have a lot more experience than Nova or Ms Marvel) but if there was an interesting angle, I’d be happy.

        I’ve wanted to read the Nova series, as some of the previews I saw suggested a lovely family dynamic, even if it never seemed to have good villains. But the problem with the Chitauri is that they exist as punching bags, and trying to do something meaningful with them is pointless. So why make them the first villain of the new Avengers comic?

  3. Even though it looks like there’s a ton to talk about today in other posts…

    From reading the first three Iron Man’s… is Tony Stark poor? What’s up with that?

    Do Ms. Marvel and Nova remember the end of the world? Did Ms. Marvel lose that maturity as a hero she gained in the final days?

    Would it be better to have Sam Wilson stories that were just Sam Wilson being a hero and Avenger or is it impossible to not write about Sam Wilson being black and Captain America.

    Confession: I call Sam Wilson “Black Captain America”. I don’t think I’m doing it in a racially intolerant or insensitive way. I also have called the new Thor “She-Thor”. I have not to my recollection called Miles Morales Black Spider-Man.

    Does anyone care about the Chitauri? I didn’t know that Nova fought them. Does anyone care about this Nova? Other than some conversations here that I mostly ignored, I’ve never heard ANYONE talk about Kid-Nova.

    I agree this wasn’t a good comic and I’m also not sure of the intent. It sure seemed cute, and I had similar feelings about Iron Tony and the people falling off the bridge and why the hell would Stark seem to happily let Wilson flounder in what was obviously going to be a racially charged moment? That sure seemed shitty.

    A weird comic I thought. I’ve read all sorts of reviews on it and they seem widely, widely varied. Some just LOVED it, others found it completely empty and meaningless.

    • Without reading it again (I’ve read it enough writing my essay. Spare me), I think Tony may be a bit asset rich, liquid poor. No cash, so sold off the empty Avengers tower to make the company liquid. THough why the hell a Pepper run Stark Resilient or whatever the company is called these days needs Tony to be successful is beyond me. Why Waid did this is baffling for a hundred reasons, the biggest being ‘Why the hell would you make Tony running out of money to run the Avengers a throwaway line based on a plot point two Iron Man runs ago instead of a key, important plot point?’. But yeah, this is a terrible comic, where every choice is terrible and often nonsensical. Not worth explaining why each and every choice is terrible. I’ve done that enough.

      I think a comic said that memories of the Final Incursion are fuzzy. I think everyone remembers that, but when everything cut to white in the comics, what they remember is the problem suddenly being solved. I don’t think you can throw anything away, as the idea that Ms Marvel finding out her Mum already knows is not the sor tof thing you want to ignore. Still, we’ll find out when Secret Wars is over.

      I think you can write Sam Wilson Captain America stories without dealing with race, but that it is also an important dimension to explore, especially considering race relations at the moment (what I would do for a Luke Cage comic about Black Lives Matters and his bulletproof skin). But if you are doing an Avengers story, the story shouldn’t begin like it came from one of Nick Spencer’s drafts for the Captain America comic. If Waid wanted to explore how America reacts to a multicultural Avengers line up, it fits. Sam Wilson dealing with ‘Black Captain America’ stuff for the first five pages, before flying off with Iron Man and seeing Avengers Tower get attacked, doesn’t. There is no need for this particular issue to discuss race relations, considering the content.

      Honestly, the naming of these characters is hard, because you don’t want to treat them just as a race, but say Captain America, and people think Steve Rogers. With Captain America specifically, I would say Falcon Captain America makes it clear who you are talking about, while not being as reductive. But other than that, it is hard to say. Part of the reason I like to use real names instead of titles.

      Nova is sort of forgotten. The character doesn’t seem to have gotten off the ground. He’s just… there.

What you got?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s