Given today’s political climate, a U.S. specific Avengers is probably in order. Although, some (not me) might argue the lineup of heroes on this team aren’t “American” at all given they weren’t born here, this issue introduces a new team that’s focused on a positive public appearance.
Is it good?
U.S. Avengers #1 (Marvel Comics)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
“EMERALD OUTLAW” part three! Tension in Seattle reaches fever pitch when the media begins to question Green Arrow’s involvement in a series of murders committed by an archer with unmatched skills. If the police can’t catch this mysterious archer, can Green Arrow and Black Canary? Plus, the rogue police officer Ollie humiliated in a viral video returns to take the law into his own hands.
Why does this book matter?
Al Ewing (Contest of Champions) is adept at crafting a story involving many characters (not an easy thing to pull off). Paco Medina has done a great job on New Avengers and shows no sign of faltering here as he captures facial expressions well and can handle the muscle-clad hero with aplomb. I liken his work to Mark Bagley and I mean that with all due respect!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Where have I heard this before?
This issue is paced very well, introducing each hero in a Real World diary confession in front of a camera. Mixed in with these monologues is a threat to America that’s at once insanely crazy, but also incredibly cliched. A flying volcano island thing… I mean come on! It adds a bit of fun to the book when the characters remain relatively serious in their interviews. Add in a bit of Squirrel Girl and you get a sense that this book is going to juggle the chuckles with the serious quite well.
The diaries were a highlight as they capture the inner persona of each character, but also remind us these American heroes don’t fit the mold some believe Americans should exhibit. One is from Norway, another with a Chinese parent, and hell, even Squirrel Girl is half Canadian. It’s clear Ewing is playing around with what we conceive as American, which adds a layer of meaning to the entire book. Given the “melting pot” of America idea this book is about as American as it gets. This includes new characters which feel fresh and interesting. A new Red Hulk character for instance, has an interesting badass Apocalypse Now veteran persona that is so far out from the others I can’t wait to see how he jives with them. Then you have Cannonball, who has an origin that seems well timed given his ties to coal mining. There’s a lot in this book that’s deeply American and you see it in the characters.
The biggest takeaway with this issue is how fast paced and jam packed it is. By the end of the issue I felt a bit windswept and in need of reading it all over again. New characters are introduced quickly, and scenes change just as fast, giving you no time to chew on who the character is before a scene change. This keeps the pace going forward and will certainly leave you wanting more. Though brief, the introduction of Roberto da Costa and his eventual importance for all the characters holds the entire narrative together quite well.
Medina does a stand up job with this issue with very expressive, somewhat cartoony facial expressions that add a bit of fun to the book. U.S.Avengers is not taking itself too seriously in some respects and Medina helps keep the serious down at just the right barometer. The diary portions are strong due to the ability of Medina to pan closer to the characters which gives their perspectives an intimate feel.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The pace does make the big cliffhanger somewhat of a confusing moment. I haven’t been reading New Avengers so maybe this is on me, but a character is introduced that I have no clue as to who they are or why I should care. I assume they’re going to be the big bad for next issue and issues to come, but how they fit into the story remains to be seen.
Is It Good?
U.S.Avengers #1 is a rip roaring good time. There are plenty of new characters, action, and interesting dynamics to enjoy that’ll make you want more! Above all else, this series appears to be laying the groundwork of what it means to be American and the very definition is fluid and compelling.