“All-New, All-Different Avengers” #9 sets its sights high. On the one hand, it’s a sequel to the backup story in “Free Comic Book Day: Civil War II.” On the other, it sets up a story that stands on its own. Here’s the good news: it succeeds on being enjoyable for people in either camp, thanks to careful work from Mark Waid and Mahmud Asrar.
“All-New, All-Different Avengers” #9 introduces the brand-new Wasp, a young woman who claims a connection to one of the founding members of the Avengers. Right off the bat, she feels like a smart choice; she’s eager to help and prove herself even as she’s untested, the sort of character that fits in well with the current team’s mix of old faces and new heroes. In typical superhero fashion, she’s able to save that day on her first outing, proving her worth to the rest of the team. At the same time, she never comes across as perfect, which is an important line to keep from crossing. She’s still learning and, hopefully, future issues will find Nadia working more with the rest of the cast. More importantly, Waid takes the assumptions he deliberately left for the reader in her FCBD story and inverts them here; we understand now why she was planting bombs inside the Vision, now that the scene has been placed in context. Waid is also careful to keep from rehashing that story here, giving us just a panel or two tied with a single line of dialogue. It keeps those who haven’t read the other story moving along without making the story confusing or bogged down.
Additionally, the story isn’t solely locked into the Wasp’s arrival; the problems that the Vision experienced in earlier chapters of the series are followed up here, reminding us not only of how much he’s been tampered with but how dangerous such meddling could be. The way the Vision goes haywire is startling, both in its erratic initial manifestation, and then with the understanding of how powerful the Vision is and how deadly this moment could have become. It’s the first part in a larger story, and one that holds a lot of promise as we get to see the lengths that the Vision will go to in order to keep disaster from striking again.
I also found myself really loving the different sides of Jarvis in “All-New, All-Different Avengers” #9; he’s a character who is often underused, but Asrar and Waid make him both the voice of the audience and also of the Avengers themselves here, and his differing reactions to the Wasp as her story unfolds work wonderfully.
Asrar is a great fit for “All-New, All-Different Avengers” #9; he gives us a beautiful, gentle ink line to gaze at here. His characters feel graceful as they jump through the warehouse, and the characters are incredibly expressive (especially the Wasp and Ms. Marvel). When the Wasp first fully appears and holds her hands up in surrender, Asrar is careful to give her a panicked look, which really brings home what the Wasp is feeling, even as we also get a chance to really see her superhero outfit and check out its design.
“All-New, All-Different Avengers” #9 is a lot of fun and sets up multiple story threads (the new Wasp, the Vision’s plans, Nova’s upcoming journey into space) without feeling overcrowded. “All-New, All-Different Avengers” #9 is a good opportunity to check out the series if you haven’t been reading it up until now, even as it gives existing readers a lot to enjoy. This is good old-fashioned superheroes served up in a way that will entertain modern readers. No complaints here.