With the way the Avengers titles have had the center stage at Marvel courtesy of Brian Michael Bendis and with a hit movie, you'd expect that trend to continue. Jonathan Hickman is coming off a successful fun on FANTASTIC FOUR so it's natural that we'll all have high expectations with his taking over the the core AVENGERS title. Joining him is Jerome Opena and our expectations for greatness continue to rise.
I'll admit to having a little Avengers-overload lately. With so many events, tie-ins and crossovers, it felt like we were getting too much. What Hickman does is start off in a big way but also with some subtlety. Tony Stark is a man of genius and we see him thinking over the state of things in the Marvel Universe. In a simple conversation with Captain America, he makes the statement, "We have to get bigger." The stage has been set.
Now that shouldn't necessarily be a cause for alarm. It doesn't mean we're going to see all the Avengers in one book with no sense of stability in a roster. It's more about taking the book in a bigger direction. That can be a scary thought but do we really want to see the same old Avengers story just told by a new creative team?
Let's focus on that team for a moment. We know we can expect big and crazy things from Hickman. It's been said before that he usually has a huge plan in place when he comes on a book. Just within this first issue, you get a taste that something big is coming. It's more about the atmosphere established. It's not a forced feeling of trying to push things just for the sake of it. It does feel like a natural progression in a sophisticated way. Jerome Opena's art is amazing. Combined Dean White's colors, you get the feeling of being immersed into a different kind of Avengers story. This is a great way to start off this volume with the Marvel NOW! initiative.
You can't help but cringe a bit at seeing the roster of Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Hulk and Thor. That roster should sound very familiar being the same from the movie. It's not a bad thing since it is a strong team. But the feeling of fear for the book moving closer to the Cinematic Universe can't be ignored. Luckily, we do get the impression that things will change. Because Hickman is writing, we should have more faith.
The threat coming along almost makes it feel as if we've missed something. Where did they come from? Obviously it's something we'll find out more about but it does feel like some time has passed between this issue and the end of the previous volume.
What could be better than Jonathan Hickman on AVENGERS? Add in Jerome Opena, Dean White and a strong roster and you know we can expect great things here. The Avengers comics have a history of big things happening but lately there has been moments where the stories have been hit or miss. Hickman hits the ground running. The idea of 'going bigger' is a great concept and fits with the changing nature of the Marvel Universe. We need to see some changes otherwise the stories will become stagnant. We're not seeing a relaunch or reboot of things but a nice ambitious start to a new chapter. I have no idea where Hickman is going to take the team and series and I can't wait to find out.