I have been hunting new comics lately. I started where I used to read comics: with the X-Men. I’ve read the new version of X-Men, All New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men, Uncanny X-Force and the Uncanny Avengers… and a bit further into the Avengers with the New Avengers.
The X-Men comics fill me with nostalgia, make me feel like I’m entering back into something from my youth. But the plots I’ve been reading in the Avengers titles have been better. In Uncanny Avengers, there’s a great combination of X-Men and Avengers villains going on, old ones and new ones, all mashing up dangerously. And there’s a lot hanging out there unknown. In New Avengers, the Marvel Illuminati are back, and fighting off the end of the universe… well, all universes. Ever.
So, Holly recently posted asking what comics she should read, and she got some great recommendations. One that caught my eye was The Manhattan Projects by Jonathan Hickman. I saw the name and went, wait a minute, I’m reading something by Jonathan Hickman. The New Avengers. So I looked: what else is he up to?
And I found the most recent volume of the Avengers. So I’ve given it a read, and I’ve found a new favorite. So let’s give it a look!
Avengers – Not Just a Flashback to the Movie
This comic is 16 issues in, meaning I think it did reboot at issue one right around the movie coming out. So it did, at least superficially, tie in with the movie. However, this is only as a starting point for the readership.
Then, team-building, they led with a base team of Avengers – and this base team is the team from the movie: Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Black Widow, and Hawkeye.
However, the plot of the comics leads with the thought that there are challenges too large for this base team. So you have the base team for everyday Avengersness, but then you build an expanded roster to help in times of extreme need. With the frightening expectation that the full roster will be needed.
So here’s the roster:
So they led with the movie Avengers, expanded into some people who have been in-and-out of the Avengers like Wolverine and Captain Marvel, Falcon and Spider-Man and -Woman… and then added a few other, older, or newer characters. The most out-there of which they’ve taken some time with, to introduce to us – especially Hyperion, Smasher, and Captain Universe. And then, these three end up seeming plot significant.
Avengers – The Other Half of the New Avengers?
Alright, so it’s not that you have to read both of these comics, but when I was just reading New Avengers, it was like, wow, these guys are stuck on their own, saving the world. And no one knows anything is wrong.
Boy was I wrong. It’s bigger than that.
The plot of Avengers is amazing – it legitimates needing such a large roster pretty often – while also splitting the team up to go different places, and do different things. Each issue tells you which Avengers to expect in the issue, to help you keep track of people, and then, Assemble! Well, they don’t say that much, that’s another comic.
To avoid spoilers, because I don’t know what’s going on yet either much, let’s just say that the universe is in trouble and the Avengers are seeing a part of it. This seems to me like the larger implications of the specific universe-ending problems the New Avengers are facing – without being overt enough for me to be at all sure that’s what’s going on.
They say, for the volume 2 combined version, that the hidden connections between Avengers and New Avengers is revealed… if so, I don’t know it yet. I’m having to assume so much. Reading things into colors. Into throw-away statements. There’s one scene that shows a piece of Stark-Tech you see in New Avengers… and I can see where I would write-in tie-ins.
But this comic is making me think. Making me look back at past issues. Almost making me want to take notes. Oh, and there’s also a new language – and they give you the code to decode it. I haven’t done that yet, but I think I might actually do it. I’m that curious.
So, of all the comics I have started reading, the ones I know I am going to keep reading are Avengers and New Avengers – at least as long as Jonathan Hickman is at the helm, or at least until the major plot going on ends. A big crossover event called Infinity is about to start, so now may be a great time to get caught up and figure out what’s going on with the Avengers!
Not sold? Well, how about the setup? Here’s the first four pages: