This week the big two launch some fresh starts for you all with a new team of Avengers and the twenty-five cent DC Nation!
Avengers #1 (Marvel Comics)
You may have heard that the Avengers have a new movie out, so unsurprisingly Marvel is putting out a brand new #1 of Avengers with a new creative team in the hopes of catching that elusive “new reader” who’s interested in checking out the comics after watching Infinity War. While a new #1 is par for the course when it comes to Marvel, the fact that Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness are the creative team for Avengers #1 is enough to make you pause and take notice, and with a team roster that includes the original “Big Three” as well as Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, and Ghost Rider, well, that’s just weird enough to make this title stand out.
Something big is coming. Tony Stark, Thor, Captain America, and others can feel it, but it’s not until the corpse of a giant Celestial drops in New York City that Captain America and Co. realize that they need to rebuild the Avengers again in order to answer this threat. With Captain Marvel already set up with the trio (she prevented the Celestial from landing in Times Square), Ghost Rider and the Jennifer Walters Hulk experiencing weird freak outs with their powers, and Black Panther and Doctor Strange investigating a bizarre occurrence under Wakanda, it’s only a matter of time until they all answer the call to assemble.
You might be wondering why exactly this crew of characters are now Avengers. Well, if you read Marvel Legacy, you’d see that this team almost exactly mirrors the “Avengers of 1,000 B.C.” that appeared in that special. Luckily though, you won’t need to have read that special to understand what’s happening in this issue. Actually, you can grab this issue and jump right into the story without needing to do too much back tracking (aside from figuring out what the deal is with this new Ghost Rider and Hulk is). Jason Aaron not only sets the stage for this new series, but he also does a great job of bringing new and lapsed readers up to speed on what’s been happening with Cap, Thor, and Iron Man in a way that’s both entertaining and pretty hilarious too. It’s been a long time since we’ve had the big three on the same Avengers team, and Aaron makes it feel pretty special.
Also making this issue feel special is Ed McGuinness’ art, which is perfectly suited for this type of series. McGuinness shines best when doing big, superhero action, and you get that in spades with this issue. There’s gigantic double page splashes of the celestials, and the action set pieces are perfectly suited to McGuinness’ style. There’s really not a bad page in the issue, but of course the real question is how long McGuinness will be on the series.
While I’m doubtful that Marvel will get a lot of new people jumping onto this series, the few that do should find this new series plenty entertaining. We’re always in need of good jumping on points, and so far Aaron and McGuinness’ new series is a great place for new and lapsed readers to jump into the Marvel universe. The team is unique when compared to past Avengers rosters, and the mystery is definitely well suited for those looking for a little more cosmic flavoring after seeing Infinity War. It’ll be really interesting to see where this goes in the future.
DC Nation #0 (DC Comics)
While they don’t really need to, DC Comics has taken it upon themselves to hype up the many cool things they have in place for this Summer with DC Nation #0. A 25 cent special (yup, it costs a whole quarter), the book features teases for the Batman/Catwoman wedding that’s coming up in Batman #50, the Justice League: No Justice event that kicks off next week, and arguably the biggest thing DC has planned, Brian Michael Bendis’ Man of Steel miniseries that will lead into his runs on both Action Comics and Superman.
Of the three stories featured in this special, the Bendis Superman one is the weakest. That’s not to say it’s bad, but it doesn’t have as strong of a connective tissue to the main story it’s teasing as the two others. The Bendis and Jose Garcia-Lopez portion of the special is the longest one page count wise, but when compared to the cool factor of the No Justice segment and the sheer terror of the Batman one, it’s definitely overshadowed.
Arguably the best story in DC Nation is the Batman #50 tease. Written by Tom King and featuring art by Clay Mann, it’s doesn’t focus on Batman or Catwoman at all. Instead, it focuses on the Joker waiting for a very important piece of mail. Of course, The Joker doesn’t have a post office box or mailing address, so he decides to pay a visit to someone who does, and the end result is a terrifying, unsettling, and fascinating few pages that are a great example of why Tom King and Clay Mann have become such major players in the DC universe. It’s the highlight of the issue, without a doubt.
I shouldn’t really need to convince you pick up a comic that’s only 25 cents, but if you still need it, DC Nation is a great entry point to some pretty cool things the publisher has planned for the Summer months. If you’re already jazzed about their plans, this special will only make you more rabid for their upcoming line up, and if you are checking out their plans for the first time, you’ll find a refreshingly accessible entry way into some hopefully exciting things this Summer. Plus, it’s a quarter! What have you got to lose?