Sunday, 22 January 2017

Avengers [2016] #1.1 - Marvel Comics

AVENGERS No. 1.1, January 2017
Featuring an infinitely more dynamic re-imagining of the classic Silver Age storyline “The Old Order Changeth!”, this opening instalment of “a new five-part story running alongside the highly anticipated Avengers ongoing series” must have garnered a few quizzical looks from its 41,258-strong audience. For whilst Mark Waid’s narrative somewhat follows the events established way back in May 1965 by having the “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” defeat the Masters of Evil in Midtown Manhattan, it subsequently ‘skips’ over Hawkeye’s abduction of the butler Jarvis by forty-eight hours and instead conjures up an all-too quick confrontation with The Frightful Four.

Admittedly, the appearance of the Fantastic Four’s arch-nemeses, fresh from annihilating “Doctor Richards’ team in the middle of the Pacific”, is wonderfully nostalgic as the “evil counterparts” understandably consist of their original roster: The Wizard, The Sandman, Paste-Pot Pete and Madame Medusa. But even Bentley Wittman imperiously commanding his team-mates “To the Grav-Sphere! You have three minutes!” can’t completely overshadow the appallingly contrived reasoning behind their unprecedented surprise attack upon the “dollar store Avengers”. It’s certainly hard to agree that, having just ‘secretly’ killed Mister Fantastic, The Human Torch, The Thing and Invisible Girl, the villains’ next logical step would be to murder the Avengers’ new line-up in front of numerous media cameras “for publicity”..?

Just as disconcerting is the Eisner Award-winner’s dubious motivation as to just why the likes of reformed criminal Hawkeye actually want to be an Avenger. Stan Lee’s “dazzling script” portrayed the “carny life” archer as someone determined to make amends for the death of his beloved Black Widow at the hands of the Communists. Yet Waid would rather have his readers believe that Clint Barton actually did it simply because Steve Rogers pointed out to him that he would have a butler if he resides within the mansion; “Jarvis, I feel like lobster tonight.”

Perhaps this comic’s strongest selling point is therefore the incredibly vibrant breakdowns of Barry Kitson. Whilst the British penciler is arguably no Jack “King” Kirby, his lively depictions of Iron Man blasting his way through the Masters of Evil, and Flint Marko later pulverising Captain America with his trademark sledgehammer fists is undoubtedly alone worth the cover price of this twenty-page periodical.
Writer: Mark Waid, Penciler: Barry Kitson, and Inker: Mark Farmer

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