Friday, 13 November 2015

All-New All-Different Avengers #1: What The Critics Are Saying

Perhaps the most high profile book of the post-Secret Wars Marvel relaunch, All-New All-Different Avengers #1 teams superstar writer Mark Waid with artists Adam Kubert and Mahmud Asrar. The book revolves around a newly formed Avengers team that includes Thor, Captain America and Iron Man, alongside the younger more inexperienced heroes Nova, Ms Marvel and Miles Morales aka Spider-Man. With a strong creative team at the helm and a cast of popular characters, this book has a lot of potential to be a hit with readers: but what was the verdict when it hit shelves on Wednesday?

The Writing
All-New All-Different Avengers #1 is comprised of two stories, a main and a back-up. The main storyline centres on the new Avengers team as it begins to form, coming together in the wake of an attack by a Chitauri warlord. The main story drew some criticism for feeling somewhat formulaic especially for a book with the words "all-new" in the title. Indeed, Adventures in Poor Taste writer Jordan Richards said that the "only real problem with this story is that the entirety of the issue is pretty much just set up with little excitement." This was a verdict shared by some critics, with Newsarama's Justin Partridge agreeing that it was unfortunate that the book "adheres to the team-building trope of not bringing the team together just yet." Other critics expressed disappointment that some of the characters on Alex Ross' stunning cover don't end up making an appearance in this issue. The most volatile reaction to this decision may have come from Comic Book Revolution where the book received its most negative review, with writer Rokk showing dissatisfaction at the possibility of "one of those dull four to eight issue story arcs where we have to sit through the hackneyed opening story arc approach of assembling the team."

However, while some people did find the execution of this opening issue to be less than original, it should be stressed that this book received much praise in other areas - for example, its characterisation. Comicosity's Allen Thomas commended Mark Waid for understanding his characters "in a very deep, introspective way," and for "bringing out the unique aspects," of each member of his cast. Comic Book Resources' Jim Johnson agreed that "the consistency of characterization is a refreshing effort on Waid's part, as he respects the events of the characters' main titles while still bringing his own skill and style to the issue." This dedication to respecting plot threads from titles across the Marvel relaunch was brought up in a few reviews in a mostly positive context, however IGN writer Jeff Lake did raise the issue that as, "we're still in the infancy of this post Secret Wars world, not all of these plot threads line up quite as easily as others."

The light-hearted back-up story featuring Nova and Ms. Marvel titled "You're A Jerk," received a warm reception from many critics - in some cases, warmer than that which the main story received. Indeed, Multiversity Comics writer Stephenson Ardern-Sodje wrote in his review that the back-up story, "definitely interested me more, even though the story seems largely detached from the main narrative." Waid was widely praised for making the awkward first meeting of Sam Alexander and Kamala Khan feel genuine, and filling it with humorous and relatable moments. Comic Book Resources explained that this "hilariously painful dynamic" made the story a "wonderful" read, while IGN declared that it was "social awkwardness at its finest." That being said, as has already been mentioned the story has relatively little to do with the main plot of this book, and this led some to wonder whether it was the best decision to include it here. Multiversity Comics said "its inclusion feels as though it's stealing pages from the 'main' narrative," an opinion shared by IGN who claimed that the addition of this back-up left the main story "feeling surprisingly brisk for such a marquee launch."

The Art
The art in this book is completed by two separate creative teams, with the main story by Adam Kubert and Sonia Obak and the back-up by Mahmud Asrar and Dave McCaig. Both teams were given much praise in reviews for this opening issue. Adventures in Poor Taste said in their review that Kubert's "layouts are easy to read and flow well," with the artist being called out most for his work on an opening sequence in which Captain America saves a family whose vehicle was plummeting off the Queensboro Bridge. Comicosity described these panels as "incredibly dynamic" while Comic Book Resources thought Kubert's work gave the "opening sequence a cinematic quality." But Kubert seemingly kept a high level of quality even when the action died down, as Multiversity Comics explain that "his panelling is inventive enough to flit between conversations in cars and high-impact laser assaults and switch gears accordingly."

Asrar also garnered much acclaim for his work in the back-up story, with Adventures in Poor Taste going as far to say that Asrar's art was "even better" than Kubert's. Critics were most fond of Asrar's portrayal of Nova and Ms Marvel's more subtle expressions and body language, with IGN saying that his "pitch perfect facial cues align wonderfully with Waid's increasingly awkward introspection." Meanwhile, Multiversity Comics also praised this aspect of Asrar's art, pointing out that "the deftness of his micro-expressions makes for a truly awkward exchange between Sam and Kamala that is funny and tense in equal measure."

General Consensus:

While anchored by some strong character moments, the story in All-New All-Different Avengers #1 feels somewhat by-the numbers and could perhaps have used more space to develop - space taken up in this issue by a fun if inconsequential back-up story featuring Nova and Ms. Marvel. However, most critics saw potential for this series to come into its own in future issues, and the artwork by Adam Kubert and Mahmud Asrar was met with universal acclaim.


Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.