Tuesday, 6 September 2016

All-New, All-Different Avengers, Volume 1: The Magnificent Seven Review (Mark Waid, Adam Kubert)

I feel like Marvel should have put the “All-New, All-Different” label should be in quotation marks followed by a winking emoji because this Avengers book is only superficially new and different. It’s practically the classic line-up with some new faces in place of the originals. The team is Sam Wilson Cap, female Thor, Vision, Iron Man, Ms Marvel, Miles Morales Spidey, and Nova. 

The stories are barely worth mentioning because they’re as generic as any Avengers comics - I don’t know when it happened but apparently the Avengers disbanded and Tony Stark lost all his money, then a Chitauri heavy invades, a mysterious powerful villain fucks with the team, blah blah blah. As forgettable as the storylines are, the strength of this book is the way Mark Waid writes the characters. 

I liked how we got to see the team assemble rather than just have them appear together fully-formed like in Al Ewing’s godawful New Avengers. Cap and Tony happen to meet and from then on the team comes together in a natural way. 

Waid shows up Nick Spencer’s limitations as a writer by actually making Sam Wilson Cap likeable for the first time and he writes Tony perfectly - charmingly but also intelligently. The way Tony thinks about Thor’s language to suss out that her secret identity might not be immortal was very clever. 

There’s a subtle possible romance angle set up between Nova and Ms Marvel and a not-so-subtle love story set up with Thor and Cap, both of which are cute. I was really surprised to find Waid writes a very decent Kamala and Thor, as good as anything G. Willow Wilson and Jason Aaron write. 

I also liked seeing a friendship blossom between Kamala and Miles who develop their own version of the Fastball Special, and Jarvis returning to work at the new Avengers HQ. These guys are a convincing team who actually seem as if they like each other too. 

Adam Kubert and Mahmud Asrar’s art is fine but it’s the usual superhero slick style that’s not gonna excite anyone familiar with superhero comics and the stories are really just there to develop the characters. The Magnificent Seven isn’t the most amazing superhero book you’ll read but it’s not bad for an Avengers comic (which are usually terrible) and Waid’s deep understanding of the characters and consummate skills as a comics writer brings the team to life - worth checking out if you’re a Waid fan.

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