The extent of my Marvel Comics reading the past several years has been Hawkeye, and that’s about it. I bought the Vision trade recently and loved it, but I don’t really keep track of what’s going on in the universe. Outside of Jacob and Casey talking about X-Men and Spider-Man, respectively. So frankly, I don’t really have a clue what’s been going on with the Avengers cast of characters. Sure, I know that Thor was deemed unworthy, for some reason, and Jane Foster took over. I know there was a RiRi Williams that took over for Tony Stark, but the why and hows are a mystery to me. But you know what, this is Avengers #1, and with it being a first issue, it should be a jumping on point. I shouldn’t have to know all of that stuff from before. So I’m jumping in, and let’s hope I don’t drown in the story.
We’re starting 1 million years ago, with a group shot with no names. Okay, whatever. I’ve heard rumblings about this. Pretty certain that’s Odin front and center. I’m assuming the guy with the Black Panther head dress is Black Panther. Guy with a skull that’s on fire is probably Ghost Rider. So far so good. There’s a strange Hulk like being. That’s odd. Didn’t realize Hulk was a totem that was passed down from one generation to the other. Not certain on the other people are right off hand.
Luckily, they start talking on the following pages, and are polite enough to be using each others’ names. That’s nice of them. Oh, so the red headed lady is Lady Phoenix? Really? I would ask how this fits with what was previously done with the Phoenix Force, but there’s no time for that right now. So, the Hulk guy is The Starbrand. Yeah, that doesn’t really help me either. And there is Agamotto, the Sorcerer Supreme. I’ve seen the Doctor Strange movie. That sounds somewhat familiar. And the bald lady is Iron Fist. That’s odd. If Netflix has taught me anything, it’s that whoever is The Immortal Iron Fist will continuously tell you that they’re the Immortal Iron Fist. Yet, I don’t think she says it once. In the end of this past segment, they all rush off to fight a Celestial Host, whatever that is. To me, looks like a giant robot.
We now jump to the present. Thor, Tony Stark, and Steve Rogers are all at a bar, drinking. Well, Tony is having a Shirley Temple. Nothing really mentioned about what they’ve been up to, other than that Tony was in a coma. Steve drinks to The Avengers, and that seems to be a touchy subject. Guess these 3 haven’t been in The Avengers. They all go through a woe is me bit. We’ve mentioned Tony’s coma, people are unhappy with Steve, and Thor doesn’t have Mjolnir anymore, and probably couldn’t lift it. Seems like a decent setup for where the characters are in the current Marvel Universe, without burdening people with having to know exactly what has been happening. The argument the three of them are having centers around whether or not they should be restarting the Avengers. No word on what happened with the last incarnation of the Avengers. Hopefully, that doesn’t matter. Either way, Tony is far more skeptical about this endeavor than the other two. Just then, Tony gets an alert about some crazy energy readings.
Next, we see Doctor Strange and Black Panther. Black Panther called Strange in to investigate the deaths of some archeologists. There’s a lot of exposition here. So, somehow, Doc Strange can tell that the magic that was here, but wasn’t anymore was done by Agamotto. I guess Strange could tell by traces of energy, or something. Maybe the magic left something like a footprint. Who knows. Either way, he can tell it was spell to keep something trapped in, and other kept out. Something really, really big. Maybe even as big as that Celestial we saw at the beginning. The spell would have failed when magic died while Dr. Strange was fighting a cult called Empirikul. But magic got better. But since this was an ancient spell, this didn’t get better. Which seems like a might by coincidence so that they could tell the story they want to tell without breaking any continuity. They dive down some holes to venture closer to the center of the Earth to investigate further.
Ghost Rider and She-Hulk, individually, make appearances, but nothing really happens. Maybe they’re angry about something. Whatever.
From here on out is where the action really happens. Carol Danvers is investigating some portal in space, when suddenly a giant hand comes out of it. IT’S A CELESTIAL!!! This one crashes into the water in New York City, because it’s already dead. Carol happens to run into the trio from earlier. Celestials are dropping out of the sky all over the world. And then some group called The Final Host appears, and we get the classic Avengers Assemble call
Also, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, and Ghost Rider are also fighting some bug creatures coming up from the center of the Earth. Not sure how exactly they tie into anything.
Overall, I was actually pleased with how Avengers #1 (by Jason Aaron, Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales, and David Curiel) was a reasonable first issue. I didn’t really feel lost not knowing exactly what had happened previously with these characters. There was enough information to get me caught up on where the characters currently were, but the story going forward seems like it is going to be self-contained to this series. If you’ve been wanting to jump into an Avengers book, this actually seems like a good place to start.