Marvel Universe Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes #1

Coinciding with the return of the similarly titled cartoon, "Marvel Universe Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes" #1 hits the racks and offers something you just don't see every day: an Avengers story. Well, maybe there are a great deal of Avengers stories on the new comics racks nowadays, but this comic offers a different take on the Avengers targeted at a much wider audience than "New Avengers" or "Secret Avengers" would ever be able to encounter.

Christopher Yost, the story editor for the show, jumps into the writer's chair and offers up two lively, enjoyable and most importantly, all ages ten-page tales about the Avengers of the cartoon. Sure, there's a healthy overlap between the cartoon cast and the "classic" Avengers teams, but Yost meticulously maintains the voices of the characters as they appear onscreen while enhancing them for four-color deadwood adventures. One such enhancement is dropping a friendly rivalry between Iron Man and Black Panther, which leads to Black Panther delivering a sharp one-liner worthy of an out-loud laugh.

The lead adventure, drawn by Chris Jones and Victor Olazaba pits the Avengers (minus Thor) against Mandarin and Fin Fang Foom. Jones gets to cut loose with a madcap scrap that includes Fin Fang Foom and Hulk squaring off like Godzilla and Bambi. Of course, Bambi wasn't gamma-powered. Through it all, Jones draws the characters in a style that is a healthy marriage of classic comic book illustration and still-captured animation. The figures and settings are detailed, but clean, working well on the page and keeping a healthy flow to the story. Clayton Cowles contributes in a great way, adding signature colors to the word balloons of each character in a way that works much better than in standard 616 books.

The second story is a static tale featuring Maria Hill and Phil Coulson reviewing Nick Fury's files on the Avengers. Adam DeKraker and inker Terry Pallot are lucky enough to draw up some great money shots from the cartoon as Hill and Coulson review just how frequently the Avengers have banded together for the greater good. His characters have a more simplistic appearance than Jones', but not so much as to make the second half of the comic a completely different book.

Of all of the Avengers titles that hit this week, this was the one I was most excited about and with good reason. Marvel Universe Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes #1 is bringing the same enthusiasm and exciting storytelling found on the show. Additionally, fans in need of a more "old-school" Avengers fix are sure to find this book is spot on.

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