A new Avengers #1. You may think it’s another #1 from a long list of #1s that the Big Two feed to us each month, with 130 variant covers and the start of a story that will end in a few months, so another #1 can take its place. In many cases, you would be right. But this is not the case. The last Avengers #1 came out in 2018. 60+ issues later, including significant events and spin-off series, that legendary run ended early this year. This new issue marks the start of a new era for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
A new team of Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America (Sam Wilson), Black Panther, Scarlet Witch, and Vision comes from the minds of two of the hottest creators at Marvel, Jed Mackay and C.F. Villa. After the conclusion of the last run, where the Multiversal Avengers led by Loki, A.K.A. Avenger Prime defeated an army of Multiversal Doctor Doom and Mephisto to save not only Earth but the whole existence, it’s hard to elevate the stakes even more.
Mackay and Villa manage this perfectly on this issue. Instead of elevating the stakes, they focus on the characters, which makes for a perfect contrast, and complement between this issue and the previous run. This book focuses on the characters mentioned in their roles as The Star, the Engineer, the God, the Icon, the King, the Witch, and the Construct and shows these heroes as reflections of what makes people human and what makes humanity worth fighting for. The chosen characters have a purpose for being here, and without spoiling the book because it is clearly explained while the Avengers face a monster, each will play a unique and vital role as we advance. Instead of focusing on quantity, like in the previous run, we now have quality, a much-needed trait in a book about heroes facing the most significant threats in the universe. Nonetheless, it also sets up important events that follow Mackay’s plan in Marvel, involving a particular time traveler who likes conquering.
A book focused on characters must convey emotion, and this issue achieves it. Following the “going back to the roots” aspect, the art shows a traditional style with colorful and oversized panels. The costume design is beautiful, and there’s a balance between impactful action and expressions. The fusion of art and narrative show the book’s message: we are done with the multiverse-scale fights and power displays. Now it’s the time for human interactions, feelings, and self-discovery. And fighting- it’s a superhero book, after all.
There are two aspects I want to highlight: Carol Danvers as chairman of the Avengers and the sequence where she chooses Sam over Steve as Captain America in her roster. Those alone make the book worth it. I missed seeing the Avengers talk among themselves without it being mid-battle.
Overall, this is a solid first issue that goes back to the core of who the Avengers are. For that reason, it’s a great introduction for new readers, as well as a fresh start for readers that grew tired of the tone from the previous run. Finally, this book argues why this is the perfect time for this exact roster of heroes, and, coincidence or not; it seems like the ideal time for having this Avengers #1.