Jonathan Hickman has been an incredibly busy man. After he was handed the reins to ‘Avengers’ and ‘New Avengers’ as part of Marvel NOW, he delivered ‘Infinity’, the most epic Marvel crossover in recent history. That’s a whole lot for even the best writers to take on, so it’s understandable that he needs to recharge after all of that. And that’s how ‘Avengers World’ was born. Announced back at New York Comic Con, this new Avengers book features Hickman sharing the writing duties with ‘Secret Avengers’ and ‘Superior Foes of Spider-Man’ writer Nick Spencer as they continue to tell the awesomely intricate story of the expanded roster of Avengers with a slight focus on some of the newer recruits.
In this first issue, Captain America brings Bruce Banner along to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier Iliad to discuss a new arrangement with Director Maria Hill about the Avengers helping the global peacekeeping organization in handling various problems that may arise. But while they’re meeting about the terms and conditions, three separate teams of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are investigating strange activity all around the world. And, as they seem to have been since the start of Hickman’s run, it looks like A.I.M. is involved somehow.
Just like everything else that Hickman has been involved in, there is a lot going on. But it’s not like it’s a bad thing. Each piece of this puzzle manages to keep the readers interested. If it’s not the unique developments they’re dealing with, then it’s the characters themselves that really stand out, but it varied from each situation. Smasher, Sunspot, and Cannonball were my favorite tandem of the issue. I enjoy their interactions and how they try not to look bad while talking on the phone with Captain America. In past issues of ‘Avengers’, we saw a budding romance developing in this group, so I wonder if that will get further explored in this series.
Another great part of this issue is Shang-Chi. I know that I talk about him every time he shows up in practically anything, but this book in particular shows that he’s just as versatile and deadly as the Black Widow. With more exposure like this and like his appearance in ‘Avengers’ #11, I hope that he emerges as more of a fan favorite and one of the cast members that gets spotlighted more frequently in this series.
As for the artwork, Stefano Caselli and Frank Martin manage to find a balance between the light of ‘Avengers’ and the dark of ‘New Avengers’. I find this style to be an interesting balance of the other two Hickman books. If those two books happened to be the heaven and hell of the Marvel Universe respectively, then I think ‘Avengers World’ is the Earth, which contains pieces of both. We’ll see if my assessment turns out to be true as the series continues, but as of right now, that’s how I see it and the art reflects it nicely.
Finally, there are a number of places that this series could go. I imagine that as the issues go on, we’ll explore each individual incident and then see how they all connect together eventually, similar to how the first few issues of ‘Avengers’ went down. But even though a pattern does seem to be emerging in these books, I think that I’ll be keeping ‘Avengers World’ around my pull list for a while to see how it develops. After all, I think I’m already enjoying it more than other Avengers titles like ‘Avengers A.I.’ or post-‘Infinity’ ‘New Avengers’.
AVENGERS WORLD #1
Written by Jonathan Hickman & Nick Spencer
Art by Stefano Caselli & Frank Martin
Cover by John Cassaday & Laura Martin