Captain America must lead a new team of Avengers into battle after Thor, Giant Man, Iron Man, and the Wasp leave. Avengers: Four shows just how Earth’s Mightiest Heroes started rotating their roster. Is it good?

Avengers: Four
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Barry Kitson, Mark Bagley, Sean Izaakse, Ro Stein
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Mark Waid is clearly having a ton of fun writing these characters, from the way Wanda and Pietro worry about their place in the world as former mutant terrorists, to Hawkeye’s constant challenging for Cap’s leadership role. This makes Avengers: Four a very entertaining read, and a wonderful opportunity for readers to acquaint themselves with the earlier version of these characters.

Waid and letterer Ferran Delgado add another layer to the nostalgia with the use of narrative devices not often seen in modern comics, such as burst balloons with stylized fonts as well as thought balloons. This, combined with Waid’s melodramatic dialogue choices, really create a retro-feel for the book that fans will get a kick out of.

There are some places in the narrative that feel like small missed opportunities. While the story takes place firmly within Marvel continuity, there are some aspects that newer fans may feel lost at. If one is reading the current books in the Inhumans line of comics, one might wonder just what Medusa is doing separated from her teammates and families and why she is with the Frightful Four. Sure, that’s an easy thing to look up online, but it might have been nice for Waid to give an explanation within this story.

Due to Marvel’s sliding timeline, the older costume designs look a bit out of place, and at times the dialogue can be a bit jarring due to the throwback nature of the book (such as when the 60s style Hank Pym refers to “bandwidth”). However artist Barry Kitson mitigates the potential distractions by utilizing the New York setting, with its long-standing buildings and classic architecture, to make the images more cohesive. Kitson’s characters are expressive and vibrant, which works well for a story centered around a team trying to find itself. Kitson’s artwork runs throughout the book, though he is joined by several artists for the final chapter. The art by Mark Bagley, Sean Izaakse, and Ro Stein isn’t disruptive to the reading experience, but the rotation is noticeable.

Is It Good?

Avengers: Four provides an entertaining look back at the first dramatic change of guard in Avengers history. Waid is able to add layers to the story, including pieces that factor into his main Avengers run. With solid artwork by Barry Kitson, the collection is a fantastic read that gets a lot of fun from the dynamics in Cap’s Kooky Quartet.

Avengers: Four
Is it good?
A classic tale of growing pains and teamwork, Avengers: Four demonstrates the talents of Mark Waid and Barry Kitson as storytellers with a throwback story and great characters.
Mark Waid gives these earlier incarnations of characters the right amount of zest and bombast.
The story is well paced with plenty of action and character moments.
The artwork by Barry Kitson and a talented roster of inkers and colorists is fantastic.
There are some places where the narrative might have been better developed, such as the background to the Frightful Four who serve as recurring villains.

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