Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes #1

Marvel wasted no time cranking out a comic based on a cartoon based on a comic series. The cartoon has been rolling for almost a month here in the United States, introducing a whole new audience to a new world of characters, so it was only fitting that those characters - in that exact form - appear on the new comic racks for the audience to see and buy. While that target audience may be a very specific market demographic, this book doesn't dial in to any one age range. This is an effective and entertaining all ages book, with stories sliding out from in between episodes of the cartoon.

The best part about the crossover between show and comic is that they share the same writer, Christopher Yost. Yost has a nice handle on the Avengers and an obvious appreciation for their history, teamwork, and the individual personalities of the team. This first issue starts off with a "man out of time" story featuring (obviously) Captain America. Yost allows Cap a few very human and relatable moments though, but does so by using Thor as a sounding board. That match-up is certainly not the predictable "Cap has trouble fitting in so he needs someone to talk to" connection that most writers would have concocted. The end result, however, is quite effective.

This issue has two stories and a set of character profiles (Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Cap, Ant-Man, Wasp, Hawkeye, and Black Panther) to round it out, and the combo is a nice package for new fans and a healthy slice of nostalgia for seasoned readers.

The second story pits Hawkeye and Black Panther against Whiplash is a story about trust. It's a fun little adventure that makes a nice counterpoint to the introductory tale in this issue. The story has a quick resolution, but it does so in a manner that feels organic and provides a chuckle or two for the reader.

The art in this issue isn't quite identical to the style on the show, but it is closer to it than further away. Wegener's Cap story is angular and animated, like a Bruce Timm cartoon dropped on paper. It's a perfect fit for the battle between Cap and Batroc and then plays remarkably well to the larger battle that awaits. Scherberger's art for the second story is evocative of crayon drawings from a younger fan, but no less effective than Wegener's. Scherberger's story is more electric (literally) than the first tale in this issue, and the crayon effect plays to the strengths of the story and the abilities of the characters therein.

My kids have loved the show, and my eight-year-old asks me at least twice a week if there's a new episode of "that team with Wasp." As a matter of fact, she just tore off to the couch to kick back and read this one. Looks like I might have to go buy myself another copy. Maybe while I'm there, I'll even pick a copy up for my nephew who just turned six yesterday.

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