It’s an all-new team… More or less. Well, about 50% new, which is enough to warrant a new issue #1. So let’s see how this new-ish team comes together, and how it all works out in this new run of “Avengers.”
There will be spoilers.
Written by Mark Waid
Illustrated by Mike Del Mundo
The time has come! Their ranks shattered by Civil War, their spirits weighted down by a toll both personal and spiritual, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes must find the resolve to stand united one final time against their greatest Foe! Captain America! Thor! The Vision! The Wasp! Spider-Man! Hercules! When the dust settles, not a one of these valiant heroes will make it to the final page alive! This is KANG WAR ONE!
It’s a funny thing when a comic event takes so long that other comics coming out at the same time spoil it, but that’s what we’re getting with all the new #1 issues coming out lately, set after the conclusion of “Civil War 2.” Spider-Man (Miles Morales), Ms. Marvel, and Nova have all split off from the team to form a new Champions, while Iron Man is out of commission, leaving the formerly all-new, all-different team rather short on members.
Thus, enter Hercules (a personal favorite character), the new Wasp, and Spider-Man (Peter Parker). All of their inclusions come about naturally enough; Wasp was introduced in the pages of “All-New, All-Different Avengers,” so her joining the team was an inevitability, Hercules was in the right place and right time to help fight a god-level threat (something he’s had plenty of experience with), and Spider-Man joins in the fray after Peter Parker volunteers to fund the team. It’s all tied together with a classic Avengers throwdown, as the heroes come together to fight Kang the Conquerer and… A past wersion of Kang the Conquerer called Scarlet Centurion.
The action is enhanced by Mike Del Mundo’s art for the most part. Individually, the panels look wonderful, with well-composed panels and coloring that makes them look like watercolor paintings. Some panels, such as Spider-Man hanging upside-down as he saves civilians, would look good hung up on one’s wall as a full-sized painting.
Together, though, they can get a little cluttered. The artwork looks great for static moments, posing, and character designs, but doesn’t lend itself quite as well to the action. While everything looks good on its own, they don’t lead into each other quite as well at certain moments.
Additionally, the expressions of unmasked characters can seem a little off; they’re just slightly exaggerated, such as Peter’s nervous sweating or Nadia’s look of disgust at the thought of Spider-Man. Once more, they look good on their own, but don’t blend with the rest quite right.
Yet all things considered, I can’t really be too negative about the art. Overall, it looks great, and each panel and page can be appreciated for what it is and provides.
Now we get to the fun part of the comic: time travel. As with all stories involving Kang, there are paradoxes to explore, and time travel mechanics to analyze. The conflict is spurred by Vision’s actions from back in “All-New, All-Different Avengers,” wherein he tried to kidnap Kang back when he was a child. This would, theoretically, remove Kang from the timeline entirely, thus preventing him from ever attacking the Avengers in the first place.
Of course, we have the usual “Grandfather Paradox” to consider. If Kang is removed from the timeline, he’d pose no threat to the Avengers. If he poses no threat to the Avengers, Vision would have no reason to remove him from the timeline. It’s a basic paradox, and Kang has been time traveling for so long that paradoxes don’t really affect him at all, or at least they take a while to kick in.
Thus, his need to find his past self and return him, thus returning his timeline to normal (or the closest thing to “normal” for all the paradoxes he’s a part of), before the changing timeline catches up with him.
But then we should consider the character causing this paradox: Vision. Let’s go back down Kang’s timeline further, when he was just a young boy calling himself Iron Lad. When Iron Lad left the Young Avengers, he left his armor, which became a replacement Vision. So in a sense, by changing Kang’s past that far back, Vision is altering his own timeline as well (to a degree).Continued below
And while we know that time can (and often does) change in Marvel comics, it seems like this will be a case where time gets restored to normal. Why? Because Kang pulls off the mother of all Grandfather Paradoxes himself (so how a team of Avengers removed from time can save themselves will have to be seen in the next issue) meaning there’s plenty of timey-wimey stuff to get untangled soon.
Overall, though, the comic is solid. Everyone is characterized well, with solid voices and motivation throughout. The time travel mechanics are fun to explore, and the team comes together well. As with most Avengers titles, whether or not you read it may depend on how much you already like the characters, but if you enjoyed the older half of “All-New, All-Different Avengers,” you know what you’re getting into.
Final Verdict: 7.3 – a solid start, with art that manages to be both good and too much at the same time, and some fun time travel paradoxes to enjoy. Might not be the most iconic team yet, but it’s got some good characters in its lineup.