One of the things I have to say I really liked about this issue and the concept in this series is the idea of creating an enormous, larger than life team of Avengers. I honestly think it's pretty brave and very bold of writer Jonathan Hickman, and it's quite obvious that this isn't going to be an easy task.
The second issue of this series opens on Mars where readers are given the narrative from the perspective of the story's villain, Ex Nihilo, who basically destroys the organic life on planets and replaces them by bringing forth new life. Mars, for example, has gone from a red-desert planet and been turned into lush garden world inhabited by new organisms. Ex Nihilo considers himself a God, something we saw a little bit of in the last issue. The beginning of this issue, however, dives deeper into the character's story, introducing him and his motives to readers in a much clearer way. This issue, although it featured that sort of cliche narrative in the beginning where the villain tells us just exactly what he's plotting, is really well written. It's not like the traditional, cliche narrative we see; it's a lot more cerebral, and in it's own way, very cerebral.
Hickman is dealing with tremendous, larger than life concepts which is something that is necessary when you're working with a team this big; and in that sense he truly excels. The writing flows well, and the issue is organized in a way that is very easy to understand. The art is absolutely stunning, and I love seeing Jerome Opena on this issue. I feel like the artist has put a lot of attention to detail in this issue, focusing not only on the individual characters and their expressions, but also spending plenty of time on the illustration of the background. He creates a fantastic backdrop for this really interesting story, and adds a lot to the narrative as a whole.
My biggest complaint is in the way this issue is structured at about halfway through. I think Hickman uses a lot of cliche's to bring this team together, and although I understand that when you're dealing with such a large number of characters that the writer might have to fall back on a bit of predictability, but I just expected a little bit more from Hickman.
This issue definitely has its flaws in the way some characters are introduced to the story, and although that was unfortunate, I think that Hickman has managed to lay a lot of the groundwork for the over-arching story in a very eloquent, well written way. It will certainly be interesting to see how Hickman deals with having so many different characters on board and whether he is able to successfully give each member of this new, very large, Avengers team their own time in the spotlight in this series. I do hope it doesn't turn into another Captain America, Thor and Iron Man title with a bunch of small appearances by twenty minor characters -- I hope he is able to give each of those lesser known characters their own time in the sun, at least a little bit. Still, an overall pretty solid issue of AVENGERS that left me looking forward to issue #3.