Welcome to The Marvel Report’s recaps of the Avengers! If you’ve been paying any attention to Marvel over the past few months, you know that their entire universe is undergoing its biggest shakeup in decades—if not ever.
If you haven’t been following Marvel, you’re in luck. The company is doing a hard reboot of all its lines, wiping the slate clean, giving its biggest characters a fresh start and bumping some of its b-listers a shot in the spotlight.
It’s a very smart move. At this point, characters like Iron Man and the Hulk have more than fifty years of back story (the winner is Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, who was introduced back in 1939.) Getting into their comic books is sort of like reading the Bible starting with Psalms. There are mountains of plot points and characters (or sometimes two or three of the same character from different realities) to familiarize yourself with. It’s a headache.
That’s why Marvel’s All-New, All-Different line is so exciting, and no title is more central to the reboot than The Avengers, Marvel’s premiere super team. Avengers #0 is written as a quick introduction to the various teams that will comprise The Avengers, several of whom are in direct competition. Each of these teams will have their own title, and Avengers #0 gives short prologues to their coming adventures and a few very brief introductions to the characters.
The All-New, All-Different Avengers
The team that’s most recognizably The Avengers will be featured in The All-New, All-Different Avengers, written by Mark Waid and drawn by Mahmud Asrar and Adam Kubert. This team will feature the classic Avengers heavies like Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and Vision (although Captain America is still Sam Wilson and Thor is still Jane Foster) alongside sterling newcomers like Miles Morales’ Spider-Man, Kamala Kahn’s Ms. Marvel and Nova. Hype for this one is high, as Waid’s been on a winning streak lately and, let’s face it, it doesn’t really feel like the Avengers unless you’ve got Cap and Iron Man calling the shots. Just look at that cover by Alan Ross. Who else would you want saving the world?
The answer might be New Avengers, written by Al Ewing and drawn by Gerardo Sandoval. For casual fans, Hawkeye will be just about the only recognizable face here, with the rest of the team being mostly young, untested and deliciously combustible. Sunspot and Songbird will lead the team, with Wiccan, Hulkling, Pod, Power Man, White Tiger and—best of all—Squirrel Girl rounding out the rest. The series will focus on the brand new A.I.M—recently renamed Avengers Idea Mechanics and rebranded as a world peacekeeping force instead of a bunch of evil scientists. Good idea? Sure. Will there be growing pains? Bet on it.
The Squadron Supreme
That might sounds a little odd, but The Squadron Supreme is the real gambit. They’re a collection of characters culled from an old ’70s series pitched as a satire of DC’s Justice League, with characters like Hyperion, Nighthawk and Dr. Spectrum. This series will be written by James Robinson and drawn by Leonard Kirk, and Avengers #0 makes it clear the Squadron Supreme did not travel out of their various realities and into our own with the intention of playing nice. They see the other Avengers teams as nuisances, and will be just as busy keeping them at bay as they are defending the earth with their own, particularly brutal brand of justice.
Slightly more conventional and perhaps most hyped is The A-Force, written by G. Willow Wilson and drawn by Jorge Molina. Marvel’s all-female group (sadly not called The AvengeHers) has some of the heaviest hitters in the Marvel Universe. You know you’ve got a stacked roster when you’ve got Captain Marvel, Medusa and the Singularity on your team, and none of them are even the team leader. That honor goes to She-Hulk, and it’s high time one of Marvel’s funnest and richest characters got back front and center. A few mainstays aside, the A-Force will feature a fluid, rotating cast of Earth’s Mightiest Heroines, so half the fun will probably just be seeing who’s up for saving the world this month.
Saving the world is one thing, but saving the universe is something else. For problems of those magnitude, you call on The Ultimates, written by Al Ewing and drawn by Kenneth Rocafort. The Ultimates will be focusing on the biggest, most dire threats in the Marvel Universe. Blue Marvel, Black Panther, Spectrum, Ms. America and Captain Marvel pulling double duty with her time with A-Force. Galactus’ involvement with the team has been kept pretty secretive, but he is evidently an ally, which gives the Ultimates a pretty significant leg up on the competition and also provides the team with their only white dude.
The Uncanny Avengers
No need to fret, white dudes. You still get your fair share of representation in The Uncanny Avengers, which will be led by a de-powered Steve Rogers and feature a team of mostly mutants: Rogue, the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Sabretooth and Deadpool(!). The Vision, Peter Parker and Brother Voodoo will also be around, and don’t forget Deadpool (!!!). (As an Avenger!) (What a world.)
Marvel heads will want to subscribe to all the new Avengers series, but for most people, picking one or two titles that look the most interesting will probably be enough to help you dip your toes into the All-New, All-Different universe. And, of course, a great way to familiarize yourself with the titles is to keep coming back here to check out our reviews.