Comics ASSEMBLE!: Avengers vol. 1

A new beginning for Marvel’s premiere superhero team, this first volume of Bendis’ and Romita Jr.’s new Avengers is a fantastic beginning that succeeds at being both a continuation of the past few years worth of stories featuring these characters, while at the same time providing a nice jumping on point for new readers.

Stever Rogers, former Captain America, is reforming the Avengers into various sub-groups – with the main group led by Iron Man in this title. While there is a bit of foreshadowing of some future storyline when Wonderman refuses to rejoin the team, everyone else accepts. But at their first celebratory meeting of the reformed Avengers, long time adversary Kang the Conqueror shows up to give them a warning – the future is in peril and only the Avengers can help.

Ultron, the robotical adversary who wants nothing less than the destruction of the Avengers, has enveloped entire planet into a war – and that war has started to rip holes in the entire space-time continuum, threatening not only all life on Earth, but all life in the Universe. The Avengers of the present must go to the future and team up with their future selves, along with their own offspring, in order to destroy Ultron before that can occur. Meanwhile, for those Avengers left behind, they must fight the creatures bleeding into the present through the cracks, finding an ally thought long-gone along the way.

This book is appealing to all sorts of readers. If you’re a big Marvel Universe fan, this book has all sorts of fun things for you to notice – from the use of Hulk’s future self Maestro, to the timeline that future Tony shows his younger self, not only are there nods to all sorts of existing continuity but also hints at what readers can expect to see sometime down the road. At the same time, while in many ways this is clearly a continuation of the modern Avengers storylines that started with Disassembled, it is also a very easy point at which new readers can jump in and quickly get up to speed. If you’re looking for more stories featuring Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Spider-man and all the top-tier Marvel characters, without all the baggage that comes with trying to read their regular books and the intricacies of those stories – Avengers is a great way to get involved.

Bendis has always provided just the right amount of levity and plot ratio to action for my tastes – and while I’ve never been a fan of John Romita Jr.’s art, I will give him credit and say that his work on Avengers is probably the finest I’ve seen from him. I was so impressed with this book that I actively sought out volume 2, something I hadn’t been too sure of prior to that. My opinion hasn’t changed after reading that volume either, but that’s a review for another time. Meanwhile, I highly recommend checking out this book, it hit all the right chords for this fan.

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