Sporting a colorful, unique cast of characters (who hopefully don’t plan on blowing up planets or mind wiping people who disagree with them), the All-New All-Different New Avengers #1 hits the stands.
Is it good?
New Avengers #1 (Marvel Comics)
Something crazy is going down in Paris: zombies with Sim crystals for heads are wandering around and changing people. Who can step up and save the day? Why, the New Avengers, of course — a special taskforce from A.I.M., now called Avengers Idea Mechanics and run by Roberto Da Costa, AKA Sunspot. Can our heroes save Paris? Can Sunspot also keep S.H.I.E.L.D. off their backs as they come for inspection of their base?
New Avengers #1 is a decent start, but not all of the way there yet — it introduces all of the characters and the basic premise for the series (the new Avengers unit and setup), even building off the ideas that Hickman introduced during his run on the book; you don’t necessarily need to read Hickman’s run to figure out what is going on, since writer Al Ewing does a good enough job of filling in the important parts (though at times the explanation and exposition feels a bit ham-fisted and awkward due to characters saying things characters should already know). Either way, you don’t need too much backstory to understand what is going on in the story.
Just don’t do that trick where you roll your eyes all the way to the back of your head like you are doing now. It might freak them out.
The characterization leaves something to be desired, since you don’t really get to know most of the characters (with some exceptions). Like Ewing’s other book Contest of Champions — unless you know something about the characters already, the comic isn’t going to spend much time filling in any details or give much to you that isn’t surface level substance. There’s also not much action to get the audience pumped up and the villain really doesn’t make much of an impression in a good or bad way. Probably most annoying (though not a fault of the comic) is that Marvel, whether through solicits or interviews, pretty much gave away all of the details and story for this issue, so there’s nothing all that surprising in this first issue for people who read that stuff thoroughly either.
That being said, Ewing’s writing isn’t bad. The pacing and storytelling are fine and the dialogue is enjoyable (with lots of amusing bits throughout that elicit a chuckle), especially during the S.H.I.E.L.D. scenes. The characters who did get the focus this time around, namely Sunspot and Songbird were interesting enough. The cliffhanger ending isn’t bad either, promising some fun superhero action in the next issue. Ultimately, while there are good parts to Ewing’s writing, it feels like New Avengers #1 could have been so much more.
Squirrel Girl, please stop smiling. You are scaring me.
Probably what hurts the most is Gerardo Sandoval’s artwork. Gerardo’s style admittedly fits the tone of the book in terms of its energy and more cartoonish look (though the brief action shown looks rather static at times), and his layouts are pretty decent overall. The problem is with the characters and how they are drawn. The musculature and body proportions are very inconsistent; people who have legs the width of breadsticks, hands the size of their heads, tiny heads, people who are all skin and bones (for a street level hero who likes to fight, White Tiger looks like her limbs could be accidently snapped in half) and it just doesn’t vibe with me. The facial expressions something look bad as well, sometimes with weird inking, pupil-less eyes, or sinister looking smiles (Squirrel Girl always looks so creepy in this book). I understand what Sandoval is going for, but some more refinement in the characters’ proportions and appearances couldn’t hurt.
Is It Good?
New Avengers #1 isn’t a bad comic, but one that feels like it is lacking and needed a bit more work done. Some parts of it feel new reader friendly and others don’t. It’s not very exciting, doesn’t give you much to chew on, and the artwork isn’t very good when it comes to the characters. It’s just a middle of the road, kind of underwhelming superhero comic; skip it for now and hope that subsequent issues pick up the pace.