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Why You Should Be Reading The Current AVENGERS Series

We highlight some of the things we love about this new Marvel NOW! series.

If you have read any of my reviews of the current AVENGERS series by Jonathan Hickman then you know that five issues in and I am already a big fan. For those of you that haven't been reading and have yet to read the current series, AVENGERS is a book featuring, you guessed it, Marvel's Avengers team. However, this Avengers series is a bit different than previous volumes: this one feels a lot more ambitious. The reason? Based on the charts provided in these last five issues, this series will feature a cast of at least 24 different rotating characters. Now, as with many of Hickman's books, the scope of the story is generally pretty big. You can expect things like going off planet to be something rather ordinary (and something that, in fact, we see occur in the very first issue). So what is so great about this series, and why should you be reading it?

Unlike his NEW AVENGERS title, AVENGERS is moving at a faster pace. The team is bigger and things here seem to move faster, particularly when you compare what happens here to the events in Hickman's other series, NEW AVENGERS. In the first three issues readers get, for example, their first story arc. In this quick, three-issue story Hickman establishes both the scope of the story (how big are their problems going to be?), as well as why it is necessary that each of these characters appear here. In issue one readers are introduced to a group of three, seemingly omnipotent beings whose sole purpose is to destroy and rebuild planets. These three are confronted by the Avengers team and in this first sort of "mini arc," where Hickman establishes that the threats this team will be facing will require not only a strong group of characters, but a lot more characters than we are used to seeing.

One of the great things about this series is that Hickman ropes in far more obscure characters and gives them responsibilities that are vital to the development of the plot. We are only a few issues in and it already feels like everyone has a really important part to play, as if there was some thought put into the construction of this roster. It doesn't feel like the creative team just plucked a bunch of random characters together and threw them into a big; instead, it feels like everyone serves an important purpose. So basically, a couple of important things are set up early on: the scope of the story in total (what kinds of conflicts will the team be facing) and the roles of these characters (why them?).

The first issue of the series served as an introduction to the story as well as to the entire cast. At the very core of the team you have the usual suspects: Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Iron Man, The Hulk and Thor. This is one of the reasons why this is a great book to pick up if the only background on Marvel characters you have is what you saw in The Avengers movie. This story opens up with the team that is recognizable to most people, and it goes on to build off of that. Hickman not only takes readers by the hand and walks them through an exciting Avengers story, but he builds off this core team in a way that makes sense. He gives each of these characters a purpose, no matter how obscure the role.

The first three issues served to give us an idea of how big this thing and these adventures are going to be. The fourth and fifth issues dive deeper into the identities of more unrecognizable characters. In the series' fourth issue titled 'Death And Resurrection Of Major Titans' veers the focus of the story away from the team as a whole and turns towards the secret origin of Hyperion. But this isn't just an origin story; it is an origin story set in the present timeline. It is a story within a story, and that's what made it so interesting. In it we don't only learn of the true identity of Hyperion, who he is and what happened to his home planet; but we also see his value to the team and their missions.

The fifth, and most recent issue in this series follows suit. The focus turns away from the bigger story and towards Smasher: the first Superguardian. Hickman dives deep, unraveling to readers this character's identity. He gives her a personality, context and charisma. He demonstrates why this more obscur character is worthy of standing alongside the likes of Captain America, Black Widow and the Hulk. It's a great issue that feels grounded and is a great exploration of this character's identity.

One of the concerns with having a roster of 24 different characters is the fact that it might be hard to make all of them seem relevant. Do you really need such a big Avengers team? I mean, won't it just confuse people? Will it become one of those situations where the story is diluted and characters are just there to be there, but feel more like empty shells of themselves? The thing is, that's not what Hickman is doing here. He is giving everyone a little bit of time in the spotlight and he's allowing himself to explore these different characters; to apply them to the story as necessary instead of feeding them all hollow one-liners. The result is a really interesting and fun story that feels like these characters are being placed here on purpose.

This is a solid introductory series for anyone unfamiliar with the Avengers. So far it feels like it stands alone and uses the characters we all know recognize to tell an interesting story. What do you think? Do you like this series so far? Do you feel like a team of 24 Avengers is too many, or do you find that so far things have been pretty well organized?

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Posted by New_World_Order

Hyperion looks powerful. Gave the Hulk a beating...sorta

Posted by NightRunner

I like this series alot but I love New Avengers and they still haven't even left the Table. I think its my new Uncanny X-Force

Posted by sj_esposito

I just bought all 5 issues of Avengers this past weekend and loved every page. It's off to an incredible start and I'm so excited by finally having a huge rotating cast done the right way. I feel like Hickman will, in due time, give every single one of the 24 characters their due service, without making anything feel forced or unnatural. I love the underlying plot theme of Tony vs Steve, as well. Just very excited to have a monthly title featuring all these characters and have it be so damn good.

Posted by No_Name_

@NightRunner said:

I like this series alot but I love New Avengers and they still haven't even left the Table. I think its my new Uncanny X-Force

I agree completely, but I think this is the more accessible series of the two.

Posted by Yung ANcient One
I've been wondering what was the difference between Uncanny Avengers, and the AVENGERS (+)
Posted by Cafeterialoca

I'll be honest, I didn't feel the first issue. People recommended to buy it in trade form, so I'll do that.

I mean, $12 a month for 2 Avenger books and New Avengers is pretty steep ontop of my already $50 pull list.

Edited by Necrotic_Lycanthrope

I'm trying to figure out how the Bendis team that had the Red Hulk as an elephant in the proverbial room suddenly switches to Green Hulk acting pretty much what the kids except him to act as.

Was Ross fired because everybody liked better Bruce Banner's insane Hyde side, or did he quit because of the Thunderbolts he's heading?

Posted by Pixel_Kaiser

Word, I think this is going to be among the all time great Avengers storyline... the first time I've felt that way since Busiek's run. The sense of scope is so huge, but it's all smartly laid out and everything makes sense.

My only concern is that Hickman isn't quite on the same level as, say, Remender, when it comes to writing likable characters. The narratives are strong but I sort of want to see the characters shine a bit more. That said, I'm eager to learn more about Smasher.

Posted by JamesKM716

Love the art, But I don't really like the direction Hickman's taking Avengers...

Posted by NightRunner

@Babs: True, I have say I it has been very interesting the way the lesser know characters have introduced. Hickman seems like hes building to something great.

Posted by danhimself

@JamesKM716 said:

Love the art, But I don't really like the direction Hickman's taking Avengers...

I don't want this to sound rude but.....you have no idea in which direction that Hickman is taking Avengers yet.....if you read his run on Fantastic Four then you would know that judging his run based off of just 5 issues is a huge mistake...trust me when I say that if this series is anything like FF then it will take lots of different turns to get to a place that will be impossible to determine

Posted by StMichalofWilson

I think Hickman may do a good run.

Edited by TheMess1428

Where is Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, Iron Man, and Black Widow? And their icons?

Posted by Zeeguy91

I've been reading this series, but so far, I find it kind of bland. And for a book that ships twice a month, that's too much to be spending on a book that hasn't really engaged me. The first story really went nowhere to me. Last issue picked up a bit, but I'll see how I feel about this next issue.

Posted by danhimself

@TheMess1428 said:

Where is Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, Iron Man, and Black Widow? And their icons?

look around the center...there's the icons for Cap, Hulk, Black Widow, Thor, Iron Man, and Hawkeye

Posted by DonFelipe

There's too many Avengers and Avengers books and this one... couldn't even finish issue #1. However, I didn't like issue #1 of the New Avengers at first either but gave it a second chance and now, with 3 issues in, I really like it and its slow pace. I guess, with its slow pace and less characters, it's easier to focus on their characters and their controversies between the members. New Avengers is still a far cry from being a regular on my pull list... we'll see. Back to Avengers, what I do find interesting is the "Wake the World" image. A mouse over effect showing the heroes' names (and link to their wiki page) would be useful. He.

Posted by dangallant984

@Babs: I really like the large cast for this book, it just sort of makes sense with the concept, and like you say, most of them are really classic characters, many of whom have their own books, so it's okay to have them in the background or there for context. It reminds me of the original Secret Wars series; there were twenty something superheroes in that, but they still all came across as distinct. I've read the first five issues so far, and this seems to have the potential to have that same kind of classic all-the-superheroes-in-the-world feel, but without the childish tone. In fact, so far the tone has been pretty consistently epic.

In short, I've been enjoying it a bunch and would definitely recommend it to any Avengers fan.

Posted by nappystr8

I couldn't disagree with Sara more. The cast of characters (which almost all of them I'm normally big fans of) has so far been too big and unfocused for anyone to really shine. Most of the characters only get one or two panels in an entire issue (just to remind you that they are actually on the team), and they are rarely even good panels. Not even Captain America or Iron Man have displayed any personality and they have been situated as the leaders of the team.

I think It's a terrible jumping on point for new readers, I've been reading almost every Avengers title for the past 10 years and even I get confused with what's going on half of the time. The new Captain Universe is a blatant analogue of Starman from Geoff Johns's JSA. The first arc ended abruptly in a deus ex machina. And worst of all the voice over narration is way grandiose than any of the actual plotting deserves.

I like Ex Nihilo, and Jerome Opena's pencils, but that's about all good I can say about the issues I read. I haven't read issue 4 or 5, but they have been reviewed poorly by the sites that I frequent, and from what I can gather, they are little more than one shots focusing on two of what I consider to be lesser characters of the team (Hyperion and Smasher) that give the full team very little to actually do.

Not to mention this book is 3.99 and has come out once a week for the last three weeks in a row. I wanted to give Hickman a chance on developing this book further, but I just can't. I'm definitely still loving New Avengers though.

Posted by DefaultProphet

Is it just me or do Cannonball's and Sunspot's costumes look like the Order?

Posted by JamesKM716

@danhimself said:

@JamesKM716 said:

Love the art, But I don't really like the direction Hickman's taking Avengers...

I don't want this to sound rude but.....you have no idea in which direction that Hickman is taking Avengers yet.....if you read his run on Fantastic Four then you would know that judging his run based off of just 5 issues is a huge mistake...trust me when I say that if this series is anything like FF then it will take lots of different turns to get to a place that will be impossible to determine

I don't particularly care about the Avengers facing supermassive threats where people like Captain universe will have trouble. I don't care about the 80's New Universe, and I don't care about Earths crashing into each other.

I didn't read his run on Fantastic Four, And I don't really have a big desire to. As far as I can tell, Hickman's overhyped.

Posted by InnerVenom123

Better in trade.

Posted by danhimself

@JamesKM716 said:

@danhimself said:

@JamesKM716 said:

Love the art, But I don't really like the direction Hickman's taking Avengers...

I don't want this to sound rude but.....you have no idea in which direction that Hickman is taking Avengers yet.....if you read his run on Fantastic Four then you would know that judging his run based off of just 5 issues is a huge mistake...trust me when I say that if this series is anything like FF then it will take lots of different turns to get to a place that will be impossible to determine

I don't particularly care about the Avengers facing supermassive threats where people like Captain universe will have trouble. I don't care about the 80's New Universe, and I don't care about Earths crashing into each other.

I didn't read his run on Fantastic Four, And I don't really have a big desire to. As far as I can tell, Hickman's overhyped.

if you haven't read it then how do you know he's overhyped?

Posted by JamesKM716

@danhimself: I read Avengers, and It was adequate. Not super amazing. I meant that Hickman himself is overhyped, not necessarily his Fantastic Four run.

Posted by danhimself

@JamesKM716: like I said before...judging Hickman based on one issue is a huge mistake...he is a huge scope writer where you really won't get a good feel for where his books are going until a few arcs have passed....his run on FF was basically on huge arc where stuff from his first issue played a role in his last issue

Posted by JayJayCAW

so Marvel is making Captain America wear something very similar to his movie suit? Why can't DC do that to Batman lol

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

Much more for liking my Avengers as an elite team so yeah I think too much but I can be convinced otherwise, and from what I've read here and what I've read in the series so far, I'm really liking it.

Posted by longbowhunter

I like Avengers, but I love New Avengers.

Posted by spinningbirdcake

If somebody told me they could only read two Marvel titles, I'd recommend Avengers and New Avengers. Especially after New Avengers 3, it made that first Issue of Avengers so much better. I can't wait to see the fallout of New Avengers #3.

Posted by BigBDawg

I like where Avengers is going so far. :) Each time it's out, I look forward to the kind of direction that Mr. Hickman is taking the Avengers in. I mean, we've had them facing off with gods, learning about Marcus and Izzy, and now we're gonna learn about Captain Universe next week! XD And I also am curious about the New Universe stuff as well as the fact too that we've still got 6 more Avengers to reveal!

Posted by Yung ANcient One
Now can someone explain "Avengers Assemble?" (+)
Posted by TheAcidSkull

@ThunderGodsWrath said:

Hyperion looks powerful. Gave the Hulk a beating...sorta

no such thing had occurred. Hyperion never gave hulk a beating.

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Posted by TheAcidSkull

new avengers ARE far better.

Online
Posted by broo1232

The series has masses of potential but I don't think it's managed it yet but I'm sure it will get better.

Posted by jeroenr

Avengers is good, New Avengers is great. Read both series together, even better.

Posted by Perfect 10

surprised to see so many liking avengers cause i have mostly have heard bad reviews. i personally loved the first three issues. it was a welcome addition after the horror that was the last avengers series. the art is so much better and looky here they actually have a purpose. i love a book that actually makes you think and a three issue story arc verses a 12 issue story arc? count me in. brevity people, it works. there is so much told through the narrative of Ex Nihilo, the way he views the world and life, truly fascinating and hope to see more of him and learn more about those who created him.

p.s. i literally loved every issue of hickman's fantastic four pre marvel now. not feeling it so much anymore, its like all that greatness went into new avengers. if only the ff were dealing with black swan (who i hope joins them because we need a girl and she's not that bad)

Posted by sheldipez

@nappystr8:You're not the only one, pretty great art, pretty boring book IMO. Might feel more coherent when read in trades, doubt it'll make it more interesting though.

Posted by DJ1107

@Yung ANcient One said

Avenger Assemble is ment to be a loose continuity book for people who enjoyed the movie & General readers. Brian Bendis did the first few issues & it was mediocre at best. Kelly Sue DeConnick took over the book & so far it's been pretty good.

Posted by c2thaj

Meh....just picked up the New Avengers omnibus..so I'm getting my avengers fill for now.

Posted by JamDamage

I can't wait for Opena back the title. What he brings...........I can't say enough. It has been great having Kubert tho. Never a problem with him aboard. As for the stories. The first arch was good into for the characters. I'm glad they also focused on Hyperion for the 4th. The Superman level threat needs to be explained, and with Smasher getting her spotlight it's time to dive into another arch. I'm sure Hickman will do his magic and connect the dots, but I want someting to start already. The potentional is there. Lets get it going. I don't like people praising books just because of who is on it. The book has been slow, but I'm sure it'll heat up.

Posted by DP812

To begin with, a big cast of Avengers isn't really anything new. It's been done before, most-recently at the end of Kurt Busiek's stellar run. And unlike what I've read of Hickman's Avengers so far, it managed to have a lot more characterization. Hickman's Avengers feels very bland. Most of the characters feel like little more than background fixtures. And the narration comes off as extremely, terribly pretentious.

After nearly a decade of Bendis' street Avengers, what this book really needs is a back-to-basics approach. Hickman should have started off with the team for the movie, and kept it going for at least the first year of the title, and slowly work in some of these other characters. Right now, they all feel very forced and there's a feeling of being rushed through these characters. The Hyperion story should have really been three issues or so. And the Smasher issue felt painfully coincidental. A woman who studied astrology just so happens to find intergalactic goggles that enable her to travel to space and when she returns to Earth, her grandfather hands her Captain America's phone number because he just so happened to serve alongside Cap in WW2? Little too much coincidence there.

Posted by DP812

@danhimself said:

@JamesKM716: like I said before...judging Hickman based on one issue is a huge mistake...he is a huge scope writer where you really won't get a good feel for where his books are going until a few arcs have passed....his run on FF was basically on huge arc where stuff from his first issue played a role in his last issue

You won't really get a good feel for whether his books are worth buying until a few arcs have passed? Are you serious?

The average comic book arc is three issues. That's around $15. A few arcs and now you're getting into $45-50 range. And that's what you need to fork over just to get a feel for the book?

Uh-uh. If you need me to stick around for several arcs before I can make a judgment call, then I'm making my judgment call right now—not worth the money. If you're not good enough to wow me in a single issue, then you're not good enough. Writers in decades past were able to wow readers in a single issue, which back then cost a fraction of what an issue costs these days. If you can't meet that expectation, you are not worth the $3 price tag.

Posted by velvetmeds

Why you shouldn't be reading it: it sucks.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

*sigh* I have a problem with Avengers. Anybody that knows me on the Vine knows that I am a total Hickman fanboy, I mean I read everything he writes and I love it all, especially his Image work. Now logically speaking this book should be right up my ally, crazy-alt-dimension-jumping-space-faring-cosmic-sci-fi is exactly the kind of books I love and written my Hickman no less, it should be a guarantee sale for me but it's kind of not.

My interest in the Avengers as a concept falls below zero, I really don't care about it at all and now that this book is becoming a cosmic book but Guardians and Nova are becoming Earth based books it really leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Now does ragging on this book make me a hypocrite? Yea it kind of does, I'm usually the guy yelling at everybody to "read comics because of how well it's written not because of what characters are in it" But I really can't help it with this book, it may be a kickass cosmic book but it's a kickass cosmic book with all the wrong characters while the actual cosmic books I loved are being turned in to regular superhero books.

Hickman should have been aloud to write the Imperial Guard book he orginally pitched.

Posted by sethysquare

n-o.

NO

Posted by Baberaham_Lincoln

@sEsposito7: Are you joey esposito from ign?

Posted by X35

Why you should be reading Avengers? Because you're a moron.

Posted by ppetrov83

@ThunderGodsWrath: Hyperion maybe powerful, but looks kinda silly in this gold diapers of his...

Posted by Vincie_Pooh

If they bring back Sentry, who would win in the fight? Hyperion? Or Sentry?

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

@JamesKM716 said:

@danhimself said:

@JamesKM716 said:

Love the art, But I don't really like the direction Hickman's taking Avengers...

I don't want this to sound rude but.....you have no idea in which direction that Hickman is taking Avengers yet.....if you read his run on Fantastic Four then you would know that judging his run based off of just 5 issues is a huge mistake...trust me when I say that if this series is anything like FF then it will take lots of different turns to get to a place that will be impossible to determine

I don't particularly care about the Avengers facing supermassive threats where people like Captain universe will have trouble. I don't care about the 80's New Universe, and I don't care about Earths crashing into each other.

I didn't read his run on Fantastic Four, And I don't really have a big desire to. As far as I can tell, Hickman's overhyped.

How can you say he's overhyped whan you haven't read anything he's wrote?

Posted by NICKXH

@NightRunner said:

I like this series alot but I love New Avengers and they still haven't even left the Table. I think its my new Uncanny X-Force

Is that because Jerome Opena was on art?

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