Whenever Marvel releases a mini-series numbered with decimal points, you know the publisher’s up to something. If you’re reading writer Mark Waid’s main Avengers book, as well this mini-series focusing on the second iteration of Earth’s mightiest heroes, you quickly learn how the two are linked in Avengers #3.1.
Avengers #3.1 (Marvel Comics)
Who is Avenger X? It’s a question anyone who read Waid’s Avengers #1 was asking after seeing the issue’s look at the year ahead. Well, it’s only January and Waid has rewarded readers of this Avengers-companion book.
But just because Waid spilled the beans doesn’t mean I’m going to do the same. I’m in the reviewing business, after all, not the spoiling biz. I just felt the Avenger X reveal was worth mentioning for any readers who’ve been putting off purchasing this retro series.
Even if this series wasn’t linked to the main Avengers book, it would still be a must-buy in my opinion. There’s a reason why those early Avengers stories launched a superhero franchise – they’re great! Do you remember those black-and-white, phonebook-style Marvel Essential volumes? I certainly do. I specifically remember devouring those original Avengers tales in high school and loved how each issue featured just the right mix of action, heart and fresh ideas via Stan Lee and an array of artistic collaborators.
While we can’t live in the past, we sometimes need a comic like Avengers #3.1 to remember where we came from – and occasionally – how far we’ve strayed.
Artist Barry Kitson provides detailed, old-school pencils, the pages are text-heavy and there are more panels than splash pages. All together, Avengers #3.1 may not look as sexy as comics set in modern times, but the story perfectly captures the fun that made so many fall in love with Marvel in the first place. Power-hungry villains, flawed heroes and a mirror to the real world – that’s a classic comic from the House of Ideas.
That mirror to the real world I mentioned – Waid perfectly transports our incredibly intrusive, hyper-critical news media to the Marvel Universe of the 1960s to show just how horrible things must have been for an ex-criminal and two former mutant terrorists working alongside America’s greatest superhero. But the Avengers have no time to worry about that, as this series continues to throw classic villains their way – this month, in the form of the Mad Thinker, his legion of androids (so many androids) and classic Spider-Man baddies the Enforcers.
And just as Waid gave us X-Men cameos last issue, he once again devotes some panel time to a few other recognizable heroes in their early days. Just saying, fans of Waid’s Daredevil run may need to add this issue to their pull list.
These days, more than a few comics have “All-New” or just plain “New” slapped on their covers. After reading Avengers #3.1, I don’t think I’d mind seeing “Classic” instead. Hey, it worked for Coca-Cola!