Thursday, November 19, 2015

Avengers #0 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

This issue is marginally better than "All-New, All-Different Marvel Point One" #1, but it's not exactly like that's high praise.

To start, it succeeds where "...Point One" failed because the framing device at least makes sense.  We learn that the Squadron Supreme has bought a company called Oracle, Inc. and plans on using its resources to fund its operations.  However, it's not the Squadron Supreme that we expect.  It's comprised of heroes from different Earths that used to be part of their Earth's Squadron.  The fact that they remember their previous Earths seems to confirm the hint in "...Point One" that, at the very least, the people not from Earth-616 remember their previous lives.  (It's unclear to me if people from Earth-616 recognize any difference between the post-"Secret Wars" Earth and the previous one.)  Moreover, the Multiverse does still seem to exist, since Captain Marvel faces a mysterious entity from another Universe and America Chavez retains her ability to kick holes between Universes.  ("...Point One had also implied the existence of the Multiverse, per Maestro's comments about the Collector's Universe being different from his Universe.)

Beyond that, I don't have too much positive to say.  Although the framing device might make more sense, it's overly mysterious for its own good.  The Squadron apparently views itself as the protector of this Earth that it's adopted, but also views the Avengers as possible rivals.  In fact, the issue unfolds as the new Nightwing spies on the various Avengers teams (with no explanation for how he able to monitor moments like Captain Marvel taking out the entity in space, for example).  As excited as I am to see a revitalized Avengers line (after dropping the main "Avengers" titles that Hickman wrote), this issue does little to excite me.  It actually did the opposite of that.  I immediately decided not to subscribe to "Squadron Supreme," as I had intended to do, given that it is a different team than the one that I thought that I was getting.  I also can't say that I'm all that enthused about "New Avengers," despite its roster containing Hawkeye, Hulkling, Sunspot, and Wiccan.  The premise of Sunspot taking over A.I.M., dubbing it "Avengers Idea Mechanics," and running it in international waters (a.k.a. a reborn Avengers Island) seems like one that will get difficult to keep fresh by issue #15.  It seems to exist merely to serve as a foil to W.H.I.S.P.E.R., the organization that the Ultimate version of Reed Richards is running and constituted from the A.I.M. scientists that Roberto forced into hiding or imprisoned.  I guess we'll learn more soon.

The best of the bunch seems to be "Uncanny Avengers," at least in terms of stories for this issue.  We learn that the Terrigen Mists are possibly killing X-Men, explaining why it seems that they're going to be enemies post-"Secret World."  Rogue is brought low here, and Deadpool has to spring a sample of the Mists so that the Avengers can save her life.  We're not told how or why the Mists impact mutants or why the sample can help save Rogue, but it seems like those details will be addressed in "Uncanny Avengers."  Steve Rogers tells Deadpool that they've been keeping the affliction quiet to avoid fanning flames of conflict, so you can see how the title is likely to start with those flames burning higher.

But, again, for the $5.99 price tag, I expected to get something a little better than the issue that I got here.  Sure, it saved me from subscribing to "Squadron Supreme," but it's hard to argue that Marvel wanted that outcome.

** (two of five stars)

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