Comics : Avengers (Vol. 4) #1

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This review was first published on: Aug 2010.

Background...

It's a new volume of Avengers, part of the heroic age and featuring most of Marvel's most popular characters. This of course means that Spidey is part of the roster!

In Detail...

"Next Avengers"
Avengers (Vol. 4) #1 (Story 1)
Jul 2010 : SM Guest
Summary: Spider-Man, Spider-Woman appear
Editor:  Tom Brevoort
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils:  John Romita, Jr.
Inker:  Klaus Janson
Cover Art:  John Romita, Jr., Klaus Janson, White
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 Reprinted In: Avengers Sampler #1

The issue opens with scene of Immortus being killed by some future Avengers, who we later find out are the children of some of the current Avengers.

Back to current day and Steve Rogers (no longer Cap, but the modern day Nick Fury in charge of whatever S.H.I.E.L.D. is called now) chats to a whole bunch of heroes about being part of the Avengers reformation. Everyone Steve talks too seems receptive, except for Wonder Man, who argues that the Avengers are source of most of the recent disasters and even threatens to try and stop Steve from reforming the Avengers.

Later, at Avengers Tower, Steve talks with Thor, Spider-Man, Hawkeye, Wolverine, Captain America, Spider-Woman and Iron Man. He lets them know why he chose them to be the main Avengers team (there are at least 3 other teams now, New Avengers, Secret Avengers and Avengers Academy). The meeting is interrupted by Kang (younger version of Immortus). There is a bit of a fight before Kang can explain he's just trying to warn the Avengers that their children end all of reality in the future and he wants them to travel to the future to stop it all! Kang disappears while the others wonder how to make a time machine. There is some discussion on whether Kang can be trusted before Wolverine says he knows who to get to help them with the time machine...

We then flash to the future and see Kang arriving to report to a future Hulk (who could be Maestro, not revealed yet, but looks similar). Future Hulk says threateningly, "Those Avengers are going to learn, Hulk is the smartest one there is."

In General...

Well a new chapter in the Avengers begins with Spidey on the team, John Romita, Jr on art and Brian Michael Bendis writing and for the first time in quite a few years there's not some looming event on the horizon that the title is tailored to.

When Bendis first started on the Avengers, back in Dissassembled, he seemingingly had a plan that was years in the fruition and led to the Avengers becoming the centre of the Marvel universe and one of its best selling titles. During that time, the Avengers (in it's various forms, New, Mighty and Dark) was always the place where Bendis laid the groundwork for and explored the impact of the "events" that have dominted the Marvel Universe, i.e. House of M, Civil War, Secret Invasion, Dark Reign and Siege. It seems that Bendis and Marvel may be done with all the evet driven storylines and as a result, this comic does seem like a new start and not something serving some greater, overacrhing storyline. Something that hasn't been true of an Avengers title for years now.

It's a promising start, the set-up is done quickly and an interesting plot is introduced, with a decent cliffhanger. Characterisation is mostly great. It's fantastic to see John Romita, Jr on pencils, he is truly a legend. Overall, it's not necessarily brilliant, but there is a lot to like.

My biggest problem would have to be the roster choice only really makes sense for the real world audience and not in the context of the Marvel Universe. I love Spidey and Wolverine, and while it made sense for them to be part of the New Avengers post Civil War, it makes less sense now, except that they are Marvel's top characters. I've yet to read an Avengers story where Spidey seemed pivotal or even really needed in anyway. He's just thrown in the mix to get Spidey fans to buy the book! At best, he is used as mostly lame comic relief! I really hope that changes as this new volume progresses...

Overall Rating...

Could lead to good things...