In “Avengers” #0, six tales provide a sample of the characters and conflicts in All-New, All-Different Marvel’s relaunch of the Avengers. A Squadron Supreme sequence frames and snakes its way through over fifty pages of story, checking in with characters set to pick up the Avenger mantle. The series samples include “New Avengers,” “A-Force,” “Uncanny Avengers,” “All-New, All-Different Avengers,” “The Ultimates” and “Squadron Supreme” from the creative teams for each respective series, with the exception of “In the Beginning,” the Captain Marvel and Alpha Flight story. Some of the individual tales flow more organically in or out of the Squadron Supreme segment than others.
Mark Waid and Mahmud Asrar’s “Eidetic” is more a cutaway scene than a transition. This creative team will be chronicling the adventures of the “All-New, All-Different Avengers” but, for “Avengers” #0, the focus is narrowed to Vision and Scarlet Witch as the former couple tries to subdue their own personal ghosts, including the lingering remnants of their fan-favorite relationship. Waid puts a couple gut-punches into this story that the rest of “Avengers” #0 has a hard time matching. Colored by Sonia Oback and lettered by Cory Petit, this chapter is a strong opener for the issue.
Rich textures and tangible fabrics from colorist Laura Martin help make the “A-Force” installment a visual spectacle. Set in space, “In the Beginning” by G. Willow Wilson and Victor Ibanez unfortunately foregoes any character development to establish the setting and the mystery awaiting readers. However, in a universe filled with the extraordinary, Wilson still manages to give readers an intriguing sliver of the unknown.
“Everything is New” from Al Ewing and Gerardo Sandoval peeks into the future of the “New Avengers,” teasing kaiju and a killer from another reality. This story hits the middle of the page and Sandoval celebrates with wild panel work containing rapid-fire glimpses that titillate. Colored by Dono Sanchez Almara and lettered by Joe Caramagna, this chapter effectively makes the “New Avengers” adversary quite apparent while providing a quick glimpse at the roster of the Roberto Da Costa-led squad.
Deadpool’s least verbose adventure ever fills the pages of “The Night That Hell Froze Over” by Gerry Duggan and Ryan Stegman. This piece has a comical lead-in transition appropriate for Deadpool as Duggan sets the plot for “Uncanny Avengers.” Colored by Richard Isanove and lettered by Clayton Cowles, this is the least Avenger-y installment in “Avengers” #0, but Duggan and company efficiently make the connection quite clear by the end of the tale.
“The Opposite of Kicking” is the most visually divergent piece in “Avengers” #0, thanks to the art of Kenneth Rocafort and colors of Dan Brown. Also written by Al Ewing, this segment gives America Chavez plenty of panels to introduce herself to readers. Ewing presents youthful exuberance and confidence in this chapter, matching Rocafort’s artwork quite nicely. Of the titles present, “The Ultimates” gains the most ground in the offering here, presenting itself as a intriguingly different squad of Avenger-related characters with a different purpose not unlike the original mission of Abnett and Lanning’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
Avengers mainstays like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor are amazingly absent, but that gives characters like Vision, Captain Marvel, Miss America and the Squadron Supreme more space to catch the attention of readers and effectively present their arguments for further interest. For instance, Captain Marvel appears in both the “A-Force” and “Ultimates” segments, allowing readers to get a sense of that character’s range. However, the “stars” of this issue are the quintet of members in the Squadron Supreme. James Robinson, Leonard Kirk, Paul Neary, Frank Martin and Travis Lanham’s framing sequence could easily be pulled into a standalone tale. It makes an efficient vehicle to investigate the ranks of the Avengers, one that Robinson uses to define the personalities of the Squadron. “Supremacy” offers the hook central to Robinson and Kirk’s upcoming “Squadron Supreme” story and I, for one, have completely taken the bait with the sample provided here.
Those bold enough to purchase “Avengers” #0 are sure to find at least a couple stories to satisfy their interests. As a sampler anthology, “Avengers” #0 gives readers more than enough to make informed decisions for the upcoming half-dozen related titles, especially with each creative team checking in. It’s not a necessity for all Avengers fans, but it certainly is a nice luxury that contains relevant, polarizing tales for the All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe.