I need to get this out of the way, but I need to include it, as this is definitely going to shade my continued interest in this title: I paid $3.99 for this issue that included only 20 pages of Avengers story (not counting the recap page and the “Next Issue” page) and 16 pages of previews for television shows and related tie-ins. One of those previews tangentially ties in to the Avengers, but, honestly, it doesn’t ease my disgust with the balance of this issue between story and propaganda.
There. That’s done, but it needed to be. If you’re still reading this (which, evidently, you are) this is one of those Avengers stories that fans of the team enjoy. Last issue teased a changing of the guard, but this issue delivers. Sure, there have been some leaks about who joins and how, but by the end of this issue, there are three new Avengers (not new “New Avengers,” but new to this volume of “Avengers” new). Brian Michael Bendis has fun working to the introduction of the team, filtering in press coverage of the lineup announcement throughout the issue and parsing that with interactions among the Avengers. It’s some of the work Bendis is best known for: talking heads that emote character.
This is also the kind of story that works well for Daniel Acuña’s artwork. His painterly style is best suited for dramatic poses, pin-ups, and covers, but the quiet conversations draw some great work from Acuña. His characters are all filled with a wide range of emotions, some of which veer into overly comic booky, but nonetheless, they work for this story. This issue does, however, make a strong case against phototracing gone horribly wrong. As evidence, I offer up that it appears as though, in the Marvel Universe, Stanley Hudson (Leslie David Baker) from “The Office” is a news anchor. On a related note, are Tony Stark and Stephen Strange brothers?! Sure, there’s some good stuff, like the debut splash pages of Character X and Character Y (like how I kept that spoiler-free?) in this issue, too, but you have to take the good with the bad. I’d like to see more of the good, but that may be slightly cost-prohibitive.
To sum it up for you, this issue features a change to the Avengers roster. Is it earth-shattering or even must-have reading? Nope. Is it fun and entertaining? Yup. Are Avengers fans going to be happy, disappointed, sad, mad, or ambivalent? Probably. It’s a story of the roster changing and how that is affected by -- and affects -- the world around the team in this post-“Fear Itself” world. If you need a breather of an issue to reacquaint yourself with some old friends, this might just be what you’re looking for.