ALL-NEW MARVEL NOW [Review]: Black Widow, a true ‘X-Factor’ of this new ‘World’?
It’s a new year in the realm of geek, and Marvel has seen fit to grace us with a brand new rebranding of their prior brand new rebranding. HA. What better name to call it than.. wait for it.. All-New Marvel Now!? You know, not to be confused with last year’s Marvel Now.
Stay with me kiddies.
This first week of relaunches and all-new comics brings us: the start of the second year of Hickman’s Avengers conquest with Avengers World; an All-New X-Factor helmed by the great Peter David; and a wonderfully, if not surprisingly, executed Natasha solo adventure in the Black Widow.
AN ‘ALL’-NEW WORLD
OK, I get it.. I already know what you’re thinking, even without the word bubble “Another Avengers comic?” It’s just what you asked Santa for, now, isn’t it? You are not alone. Thus far, only the Brady Bunch has Marvel beat in the number of unneeded siblings.
So, why should you care about Avengers World #1?
Because it’s “All-New”, dammit!
All jokes aside, World begins the second year of Jonathan Hickman’s control over all things Avengers. Surely, Hick’ (Fantastic Four, Secret Warriors) and Nick Spencer (Superior Foes of Spider-Man) had only one way to go with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes after the fallout of Infinity…and that was bigger! Spanning out of the Avengers mothership storylines pre-Infinity, this All-New #1 gives readers a more personal and closer-to-home take on the Avengers.
Perhaps the only problem I’ve had with Hickman’s run on the chief Avengers title to date has been the galactic level of the scope and feel to his stories. While this all sounded quite grand in writing, it was fairly easy to get lost and unattached to the singular characters — especially with a much higher focus on the newer. AW tackles this concern, staying Earth grounded for continued Avengers adventures. With so many members now, those yearning for Starbrand stories or Smasher time (and I’d like to know who!) can acquire that without having to bounce around through so many engorged issues.
Avengers World also offers a mixture of characters from all corners of the Marvel universe, an element that continues with this second year. The aforementioned Smasher, Hyperion and Sunspot once again take the spotlight. And, quite agreeable to our wallets, Marvel have scaled back the primary Avengers title release to once a month in order to accommodate World.
Of course, you wouldn’t call this comic “All-New” or slap on a #1 without labeling it “the perfect jumping-on point.” Despite “winning” the war — because lord knows they never end — there’s no need for backstory with World, and there’s even a sense of eminent danger despite this “victory.” Hickman and Spencer also work well together, as the script offers a nice mesh of Hick’s denser, more grandeur take on storytelling and Spence’s more “every day” lingo. The art of AW #1 is quite memorable as well, with panel work from Stefano Caselli (Amazing Spider-Man) and colors by Frank Martin (Thunderbolts). Caselli’s “realistic toon” approach to comic art is surely something this Geek Apostle loves! There’s a “world” of detail and emotion poured through Caselli’s pencils, and the way he conveys expression and body language is stunning.
If you’re worried that Avengers World #1 is “just another” Avengers book, then don’t be. The scope of the stories has shifted back to size, offering a dose of necessary terms like “fun” and “adventure” back into their Mighty playground. So, go ahead, true believers, give this one a whirl.