The Avengers are once again assembling, this time under the watchful eye of writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Jerome Opena.
"The idea is that the Avengers have to get bigger," Hickman told Comic Book Resources. "That means bigger in every sense. That means the roster has to be bigger, and the missions have to be bigger, and the adversaries and scenarios they find themselves in have to be larger. I've played with this stuff a little bit over in the Ultimate Universe. Obviously, it's a completely different weight class here, but in a lot of ways that's the kind of velocity that the book should have. We (Tom Brevoort and I) also felt like that if the book was going to be about an Avengers world, it should look more like the world. Of course there are complications starting out when the necessary movie characters are five white dudes and a white lady, but, you know, bigger roster. Frankly, I'm really, really excited at how we address that. The lineup is killer."
Is bigger better? Here are a few thoughts from around the web:
Martin Gray, Too Dangerous for a Girl: "Writer Jonathan Hickman makes a confident Avengers debut, introducing new threats, promising big things and couching it all in a framework that manages to feel mythic, but not pompous. Ex Nihilo, apparently a 'Higher Evolutionary', has the calm arrogance of the supposed superior being, while main Avengers players Iron Man and Cap carry the assurance of men who have stared down gods, and beaten them. The capture of five Avengers, prompting Cap to break out the new team, has echoes of the All-New X-Men's debut with Krakoa, but it's a classic set-up because it works. And the difference here is that Iron Man saw that something this big was coming, so he and Cap have spent the previous month signing up new recruits, putting them on call."
Russ Burlingame, ComicBook.com: "It’s a sensible enough idea but it’s also been done. Done, in fact, by the only writer who seems to have the same kind of sweeping, self-indulgent, operatic aspirations for his blockbuster superhero team comics as Hickman does: Grant Morrison’s JLA did all of this. Setting up the the JV squad that would come in and save the day if the A-listers were taken down was the premise of at least one major storyline during Morrison’s JLA run — a story in which the team duked it out with Kirby-inspired godlike alien conquerors. But that series always had a bit of fun and heart to it, a bit of levity. There’s nothing of the sort in Hickman’s first issue of Avengers, just a lot of telling you how important the story is and promising that you’ll see how important it is soon. Maybe it will read better in the trade."
Jesse Schedeen, IGN: "Visually, Avengers already establishes itself as one of the best-looking books of the Marvel NOW! lineup. Jerome Opena's moody, intricately detailed style is a perfect match for Hickman's epic conflicts and otherworldly characters. Much like Esad Ribic did on The Ultimates, Opena provides a striking style that is influenced as much by science fiction as it is superhero storytelling. The action is big and bold. The character designs are striking. The ethereal colors of Dean White complement the pencils as well as ever."
Brian Cronin, Comics Should Be Good!: "I also got a real kick out of the usage of logos/symbols for the new heroes introduced in the issue. Hickman has his design thing at the end with the wheel of how the heroes all connect to each other, and I loved that all of the new heroes were given identifiable logos. Always good to see new logos. They’re a pain in the ass to come up with, so I really appreciate the effort."
Kelly Thompson, Comic Book Resources: "On the whole, this is a great start for both Marvel NOW! and for The Avengers in general. Avengers #1 feels like a book that both longtime fans of comics (and specifically the Avengers) can sink their teeth into, while speaking to a much larger film audience that might be interested in trying on this book. Blending and balancing those two ideas and audiences is no small feat and if Hickman and Opeña can keep it up, we may indeed have something really interesting on our hands."
David Uzumeri, ComicsAlliance: "So basically, it's not about who I'd recommend this comic to -- it's about who I wouldn't. If you're interested in seeing characters play off of and rub against each other, to see more like the movie where the plot is basically an excuse to see Steve and Tony act like a bickering old married couple, then judging by just this first issue, Avengers might not be for you. If you want to see world-ending threats, crazy concepts, and wild ideas; gorgeous artwork; deft characterization; and really big dudes punching each other in the face, this could be -- and most likely will be, judging by Hickman's track record so far -- the start of something really cool."