The Avengers Need To Figure Out How To Be Avengers Again

The Avengers Need to Figure Out How to Be Avengers Again

Tony Stark is kinda broke. New Captain America Sam Wilson and old Captain America Steve Rogers aren't talking. Odin's firstborn isn't worthy to wield Mjolnir anymore. Marvel's still going to have an Avengers team, of course, but it's going to take some doing to have them assemble effectively.

When we last saw two of the Avengers' most important leaders before this summer's Secret Wars event, Tony Stark and Steve Rogers were trying to kill each other.

The Avengers Need to Figure Out How to Be Avengers Again

What's more, the gigantic amalgam of the various Avengers teams were split into two factions. The Steve Rogers-led team was hunting Tony Stark and the other super-intelligent Illuminati to bring them to justice for doing really messed-up stuff across the multiverse while trying to save their reality. Earth's Mightiest Heroes had self-destructed, due largely to their own internal conflicts.

Thanks to leaks and previews from earlier this year, we already know the line-up of the team in All-New, All-Different Avengers. In issue #1 — written by Mark Waid with art by Adam Kubert, Sonia Oback, and Cory Petit — readers get to see the first, uneasy steps of a present-day configuration of Marvel's top-line super-team. The opening text clues readers in right away as to the state of disarray in Avengers-land.

Spoilers follow.

The Avengers Need to Figure Out How to Be Avengers Again

And that sentiment carries into the comic's panels. The book opens with Captain America pulling off a flying rescue, only to have the ensuing photo op turn into yet another occasion for people to judge him.

The Avengers Need to Figure Out How to Be Avengers Again
The Avengers Need to Figure Out How to Be Avengers Again

Tony Stark coincidentally happens to be close enough to deflect all the attention on Sam Wilson, and the two talk about how much things have changed.

The Avengers Need to Figure Out How to Be Avengers Again
The Avengers Need to Figure Out How to Be Avengers Again
The Avengers Need to Figure Out How to Be Avengers Again

Then, Tony talks about having to sell Avengers Tower for a cash infusion...

The Avengers Need to Figure Out How to Be Avengers Again

Sam answers Tony's question above with stony silence. But, while the guy who used to be the Falcon and the man who was Captain America aren't on speaking terms, Tony still talks to Steve Rogers. In this week's Uncanny Avengers #2, there's a brief convo between the two.

The Avengers Need to Figure Out How to Be Avengers Again

That issue also includes another hint — via Avengers Unity Squad team member Johnny Storm — that the Reed Richards of the mainline Marvel reality might be dead.

The Avengers Need to Figure Out How to Be Avengers Again

Right now, all of the Avengers teams are rebuilding and that makes sense from inside and outside the fiction. In the real world, the last iteration of the Avengers was largely steered by superstar writer Jonathan Hickman. His storylines culminated in the end of all existence and fed directly into Secret Wars, where an improbable salvation at the hands of Doctor Doom kept splinters of various realities alive.

Marvel's ongoing relaunch picks up eight months after Secret Wars ends — despite the fact that the miniseries still has a few issues to go — with the status quos of almost all their characters changing in major ways. Victor Von Doom, Wolverine and Doctor Strange all look and feel different. Peter Parker's a multinational mogul now and, in ANAD Avengers #1, Tony Stark says the words "Parker Industries" with a bad taste in his mouth. He also lobs a little snark at Miles Morales, too, calling the kid who was Spider-Man in an alternate universe "Trademark Infringement Kid" when snatching him from freefall.

Back when Marvel and DC were offering radically different brands of superhero action, Marvel billed itself as having more flawed and relatable superheroes in a milieu based on 'the world outside your window.' The best thing about All-New, All-Different Avengers #1 is how it seats an old-school classic Marvel feeling inside this tense moment of reconstruction. Marvel's catching a lot of heat for its waves of changes since last year and, when Sam comments in the panels above about being under the microscope, you get the sense that Waid is invoking the drama that followed the character ever since he became the new Captain America.

The Avengers has traditionally been Marvel's premier super-team and now it's connected to a major billion-dollar movie franchise. You can feel a subtext swirling around this newest series: it's got to feature both the seasoned heroes who are touchstones for longtime fans and the newer characters that Marvel likely wants to launch into its expanding universe. (The inverse of that is the lack of an ongoing Fantastic Four comic, which many readers have been attributing the absence of Reed Richards to Marvel's rivalry with Fox over the Fantastic Four film rights.) So, it makes sense to shine a spotlight on the new Nova and fan-favourite Ms. Marvel in a back-up story where he awkwardly hits on her.

The Avengers Need to Figure Out How to Be Avengers Again

They're even technically not on the team at the time of that story. But they will be, because they're part of the future that Marvel's building. The ways that All-New, All-Different Avengers connects to the Marvel of old while representing the company's ongoing evolution is going to be an intriguing spectacle as the series moves forward. As the comics versions of the Avengers franchise gets an infusion of new blood, it might just be that the younger characters help the older ones recapture the significance of what it means to be an Avenger.


    Meh, while there are some titles that I have subscribed to in ANAD; I feel like over all I am pretty done with Marvel. They had a good chance with the end of secret wars to do something new, but all they are doing is hitting some PC objectives and nothing has really changed.

      Something new like replace the majority of the old guard with newer characters trying to fill the shoes of titans?
      I'm more engaged with Marvel's offerings now than I have been since I first started reading. The diversity of stories available now is brilliant.

      The only detractors I've seen are those that constantly pop into comments sections to let the rest of us know that political correctness is the devils work. They, including you, seem to see reds under the bed with each new story, character, or event; I'm seeing stories that haven't been told before in the Marvel universe with interesting and sometimes new characters.

      When the argument is that Marvel are now bad because they're writing about politics, which they always have, and moving diverse characters front and centre, which they've occasionally done, the advocates for such a position are really displaying that bias and bigotry in their stripes.

      You want to be that person who recontextualises their grievances into the catch-all that is political correctness, do it, but you look ridiculous in doing so.

        That's great for solo books... but the Avengers are meant to be the all-stars, dealing with the big bad. Not novice posers in Halloween costumes.

          I guess the downvote means a career sidekick, 3 teenagers and a cancer sufferer with no training, only on the team because of whose gimmicks they copied, shouldn't be called B-listers. For some reason.

            A cancer sufferer who has been pummeling everyone that crosses her path.
            Edit: I really want to expand on this point. Thor and Odinson have been written to be equally powerful when wielding Mjolnir, it's even been indicated that Thor is more powerful. So when you say that Thor is just a cancer sufferer with no training, what exactly are you saying? She's getting the job done as well, if not better, than Odinson did.

            I think that downvote may have been due to your nonchalant dismissal of characters that have proven to be much more than what your derisive comments propose.

            The problem is that those B-listers are now the A-listers. We get to sit back and see how they handle the next big bad. It should be exciting to see how relatively inexperienced characters negotiate the odds to come out on top.

            Last edited 14/11/15 9:05 pm

        I started reading Edge of the Spiderverse and Spider-Gwen on the weekend. Now that Secret Wars has wrapped up, I might to a quick backstory wiki search to get me up to speed and then drop into the new version of The Avengers.

        Comics are interesting to me now for the first time since Wolverine killed Sabretooth.

    The thing that bothers me the most is that Steve acts as curmudgeonly and bitter as he looks. It's as though he aged mentally as well as physically.

      Old man Rogers is technically old as buggery, he's lost all of his physical power, and all of his favourite stuff is in disarray. It's no wonder he's grumpy about everything.

    Change it all or keep it the same. Seems no one is ever happy on the internet. Yet, the comics continue to sell.

      If I didn't know better, I'd think the Internet is a vast cross-section of people and opinions rather than a gestalt entity.

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