Out of the uninspiring end of Civil War II bore the opportunity for an all new Avengers team to assemble. Headed by writer Mark Waid, Marvel attempts to create a new image for the Avengers, featured both older faces and fresh ones.
When a series kicks off its first run, the creative team usually plays it safe with a mild first volume, avoiding any risky storytelling or overtly complex plots within their introductory arc. However, veterans Mark Waid and Mike del Mundo challenge that “playing it safe” notion within their first volume of The Avengers: Kang War One. Waid chooses to opt out of the traditionally slow character introductions and lengthy explanations of how the team comes together. Instead, we immediately jump into action as the newly-assembled squad faces a quality villain and engage in some high-risk, high-reward time travel plot.
Within the opening pages we are introduced to the new face of the Avengers. I for one do not keep up with the comings and goings of the Avengers’ lineup, reading only the occasionally TPB. However, I like the dynamic of the team as it’s well balanced with heavy hitters (Thor and Hercules), strong leaders (Captain America and Vision), and the comic relief, (Spider-Man and the occasional Wasp quip). Not only have the members of the Avengers changed, but now without the financial support of Tony Stark, the Avengers are approached by a new multi-billionaire by the name of Mr. Peter Parker (the only rule being that there has to be a spot on the team for his buddy Spider-Man).
Previously I had mentioned that most introductory series arcs play it safe when it comes to general plot. This arc however deals with the concept of time paradoxes which is probably one of the riskiest literary concepts you could choose. In my opinion, Waid and Del Mundo are able to pull off this potentially mind-boggling storyline of the Avengers’ battle with Kang and his multiple time-space-continuum-challenging, paradoxical identities as they not only attempt to assume control of history, but ultimately wipe the Avengers out of existence. The magnitude of this storyline could have very well been played out on a crossover event scale, but Waid does a good job of creating a concise storyline and providing only the essentials (even though there are some moments that feel rushed or events that deserved more time to develop). I do need to mention that a large part of the success in this volume is due to the artistic talents of Mike Del Mundo.
If you have not experienced a Del Mundo illustrated comic before, you’ll certainly be a fan after reading this. The man does gorgeous work; there’s nothing else to it. The panels blend together so seamlessly that you may lose yourself in the art–Kang War One actively doubles as a great story and published portfolio of some of Del Mundo’s greatest work. Issue four within the arc focuses solely on Kang as he describes a partial origin story to the read and the illustrations are absolutely magical. I enjoyed the issue so much that I ran out and bought a copy of the individual issue to add to my collection. Del Mundo takes the surreal time travel theme to Salvador Dali-like proportions within these pages and it’s beautiful.
Is It Good?
Between Waid’s organization of storytelling and Del Mundo’s amazing artwork, Kang War One will not only pique your interest, but keep you coming back for more. It’s a cool new team dynamic with a lot of potential and even though it’s not perfect, it’s an entertaining run.