Avengers World #1.NOW
The concept of Avengers World has been afloat within the Marvel Now timeline since pretty much the beginning of Hickman’s arc on the headline Avengers title. Growth has been almost a constant theme within the pages of the current run of Avengers, implying that new members will be needed soon in order to more effectively guard against threats posed on a global scale.
Avengers have always been fighting global threats, and more recently intergalactic threats as well, so what, may I ask, makes this new book and story so special? There are a few things in my opinion that separate this new title from the flagship Avengers title, making it its very own exciting, interesting and entertaining set of characters and events.
The biggest reason is the addition of Nick Spencer to the creative team. Spencer did have his byline as co-writer on a few of the key issues of the second most recent arc of Avengers, but thinking back on those issues, I don’t really recall having heard his particular voice. In Avengers World, it is definitely more of a standout. I’ve read Spencer’s Bedlam and some of his Superior Foes of Spiderman (Morning Glories has been on my list for a while), so I’m somewhat familiar with his style and tone and what he can normally bring to the plate. If I had to describe Spencer’s additions to the story and dialogue in one word it would be “snappy.” One example of this snappiness is a joke that Cannonball says when he and his small team are infiltrating A.I.M. Island. He is remarking on the fact that despite a hero’s efforts, bad guys never want to talk. He makes his point by asking this particular villain whether or not he preferred Benedict Cumberpatch or Ricardo Montalbon. We all know that these two actors played Kahn in different variations of Star Trek II, but the phrasing of this joke, the nature of the implication, and the speed and timing all lend themselves to Spencer’s dialogue. The way that he and Hickman introduced characters into their scenes in this issue made you feel like you were one of the Avengers, along for a ride full of fast talking and one-liner slinging super heroes. Normally it’s hard for me to appreciate this lighter side of comics, but I think that these two creators work well together in order to craft a large scale Avengers title with just the right mix of darkness and death while including the-all important banter without relying only on characters like Spiderman and Hawkeye. In other words, these two writers blend their individual styles in order to bring us a fresh take on some Avengers we’ve been reading (and loving) for the past year or so.
There was another joke in this issue that had me at first raising an eyebrow, but with some afterthought had me rolling. Banner and Captain America are on the SHIELD carrier discussing their new undertaking and partnership with the agency and Bruce remarks on the fact that Capt. invited Banner along because of some subconscious thoughts that both Rodgers and Banner share on the new director of SHIELD. Captain America seems skeptical. Banner says, “Always listen to your subconscious. That’s the one thing I’ve learned in life.” When I first read the line I thought it was a pretty awkwardly worded line and kind of shook it off as a missed opportunity, but upon my second read-through, I thought to myself why would Bruce Banner need to listen to his subconscious? Maybe because his subconscious is a very large and very angry green man of fury? Once I realized the true punchline I actually lolled.
One other thing that I really enjoyed about this story is that the Avenger’s growth is matched by that of their enemies. If this book is going to focus on the coming evolution of the Avengers to be a more globally based and larger team, then of course the goal of the villains is to grow and change and evolve into something bigger and badder that can, of course, cause trouble, make money, kill people and just bring about general dispensary and mishap. In this issue alone we see A.I.M. Island evolving into A.I.M. Empire, it’s “evolving, changing, getting bigger.” We also see Madripoor undergoing an evolution to a scale like nothing I’ve ever seen outside of Japanese creature features.
I strongly recommend that you hop onto this series while the Marvel.NOW imprint is still hot of the presses. From what I have read so far, all of the .NOW books have had a certain zest to them, and I’ve found it very refreshing. I hope Marvel can keep it up, especially with the new Spiderman title on the horizon!