In “All-New, All-Different Avengers” #3, Mark Waid and Adam Kubert wrap up the series’ introductory story with the defeat of Warbringer and the official coming-together of the new Avengers team. While the pedigree of this creative team promises great things, the execution still feels a little light.
The plot is very straightforward; Warbringer gets the last artifact needed to open up a gateway and let an army through to destroy the planet, and then the superheroes stop him and decide to be the newest team of Avengers. There isn’t much in the way of twists or turns or even suspense. While there’s a sequence intended to be suspenseful when the younger heroes are attacked while waiting for the right moment to stop the invasion, it never comes across as dangerous or even pivotal. We’re told that it’s a scary moment, but we aren’t shown anything along those lines. Similarly, the defeat of Warbringer has no real meat to its bones. Finding Warbringer comes across as inconsequential, and the big moment to stop him doesn’t seem to have much in the way of barriers to make it tough.
Waid’s strength in “All-New, All-Different Avengers” #3 is the dialogue; Nova and Ms. Marvel’s clashes are the high point of the comic, and I appreciate that Waid tries to create some real characterization with them. However, these little bits — like the Vision’s parting words to Nova — are such a small part of the comic that they aren’t enough to balance out the lack of complexity in the plotting. For the moment, there’s nothing to make this iteration of the Avengers stand out from all of the other ones over the years.
There are a few spots in “All-New, All-Different Avengers” #3 that show why Kubert was brought on board to draw this story arc. The two-page spread — where the top half of the page lets us see through the rift to the forces on the other side — is gorgeous. You really get the impression this is a full army awaiting release, and Kubert is careful to give a lot of detail on those closest to the rift, scaling it back just enough that the background figures don’t look like squiggles. Oback’s colors work well here, with the yellows and oranges giving an almost burning sensation to the masses lying in wait. Ms. Marvel also comes across particularly well here too, from her annoyed looks at Nova to her hopeful and then excited expressions as the Avengers team forms.
On the other hand, there are a lot of spots where the art doesn’t feel like it’s quite holding up its half of the book. We never get a good look at Warbringer at any point in this issue, making the character feel like even more of a non-entity. (It’s also hard to ignore that the last page with Warbringer has one panel that is a point-blank copy of the one next to it; not even a tiny change enacted to make it look like each panel had been drawn separately.) Similarly, Thor is so rarely in the forefront of the art that one could actually forget it’s the Jane Foster version of the character, while Captain America has the same blank expression on his face no matter what’s happening at any given moment.
“All-New, All-Different Avengers” #3 checks in as average, but it should really be much stronger. The pedigree of this creative team promises much more, and the Avengers are the cornerstone of the company’s comics more than ever thanks to the two massively successful films. Maybe future issues will have a little more spring in their step now that the opening story arc has completed, but — for the moment — this is a book in need of more excitement.