Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Heroic Age begins!

In wake of Siege, Marvel pushes the reboot button, throwing out the Superhero Registration Act and giving their heroes room to breathe in a sunnier, more united world.  And of course a new, fresh start means relaunched books, new creative teams and new directions.  The past few weeks have seen a couple of new Avengers books launch, as well a reboot of Thunderbolts, and the resurrection of fan-favorite Agents of Atlas, all of which I'll speak briefly about.

The Avengers #1
Brian Michael Bendis & John Romita Jr.

Steve Rogers assembles a new team of Avengers, including Thor, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Wolverine and Hawkeye, with a slew of other superheroes waiting in the wings of this new flagship title.  And in charge of them all?  Maria Hill.  I'm pretty excited about that.  I loved having her in charge of SHIELD - she made for a great, unique dynamic - and I'm sure Bendis has some plans for her here as well.  Romita's art is a real treat on an Avengers title, getting to see him draw a wide variety of characters.  And already, there's a bunch of crazy shit happening with time travel and some classic villains, so I'm all over this new ongoing.

Secret Avengers #1
Ed Brubaker & Mike Deodato

I love Deodato's dark, clear art.  I was a fan on Thunderbolts, on Dark Avengers, and it certainly suits a book like this, which is basically a covert group of Avengers who aren't afraid of getting their hands dirty.  It's kind of the same thought process behind X-Force, doing the sketchy work that the main group may not approve of.  Steve Rogers, once more (he is Top Cop now, stepping into Nick Fury/Norman's role), assembles this colorful group of Black Widow, War Machine, Beast, Valkyrie, Moon Knight, Ant-Man and Nova.  There should be a fun dynamic between this odd roster.  Rogers claims the reason for the necessity of a team like this is preemptive strikes against terrorists and villains.  This first adventure has a good amount of covert infiltration and involves some pretty classic Avengers elements.

Atlas #1
Jeff Parker, Gabriel Hardman & Ramon Rosanas

3-D Man is back, and Jeff Parker actually makes this out-of-date character seem kind of cool, in the same way he's able to make the 50's team Agents of Atlas kick ass in the 21st century.  The series creator of Agents of Atlas gets another chance at making this book click with readers in the book simply entitled Atlas.  There have been a series of one-shots and minis pitting the team against the X-Men and Avengers, so maybe the team has kind of rubbed off on Marvel readers by now.  I've been a fan for awhile, and love the characters, particularly Namora and Venus.  As is the case with the last series, Parker is keeping the readers on their toes with this one, jumping back and forth in time and showing off what's so cool about this team.

Thunderbolts #144
Jeff Parker & Kev Walker

Jeff Parker also takes over duties writing the relaunch of Thunderbolts.  I LOVED the last incarnation of Thunderbolts, how they became such a feared force in the Marvel Universe when the Superhero Registration Act went into effect.  Whenever the ruthless, lethal-force group showed up in books like Spider-Woman and Avengers titles, I was always like "Oh, shit!"  I hope they keep that momentum going with this new direction, which sees Luke Cage take on the role of leader, and charged with making something of this mish-mash team of dangerous villains.  Interesting idea, seeing as how Cage himself was once a criminal (although he was innocent).  On the roster of this team is Moonstone, Ghost, Juggernaut, Cross Bones and Man-Thing, with characters like Songbird and Hank Pym helping out.  Great start, with a fun ending to set the tone.

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