Avengers #1 review: Celestial party

Image credit: Marvel Comics
Image credit: Marvel Comics /

Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness team up to answer some lingering questions from a while back and re-assemble Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in suitably epic fashion.

Relaunches are commonplace for any superhero team, especially one that’s been around as long as the Avengers. Rarely are they as well-timed as the one that is going on in Avengers #1 by Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness, what with Avengers: Infinity War currently destroying box office records on a daily basis. Much has been made about the inability to link the success of superhero movies back to the comic books that inspired them, but this is, at the very least, a valiant effort.

It starts with characters fans know and love. Previous relaunches have gathered the Avengers trilogy of Captain America, Iron Man and Thor at the heart of the team, but as the heroes themselves admit while sharing a drink together (just a Shirley Temple for Tony Stark, thanks), it’s been a while, and they’ve all been through a lot since the last time.

Forget a “back to basics” approach, it’s just time.

Avengers #1
Image credit: Marvel Comics /

The rest of the team, even if they haven’t yet linked up with the others yet, was surely not picked by coincidence. Black Panther and Doctor Strange have become much more high profile characters thanks to their movie successes, and they’re paired up in Avengers #1 investigating a threat deep underground while another comes from far above. One hero on the front lines for that one is Captain Marvel, who’s about to experience her own introduction to the masses early next year.

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Then there are the wild cards, Ghost Rider and She-Hulk. Robbie Reyes already has a connection to the story Aaron and McGuinness are telling thanks to his encounter with Starbrand back in Marvel Legacy #1. Trouble has already found him in this issue, but it remains to be seen how it links back to everything else. Jennifer Walters’ role is even more of a mystery, as all we see of her this time out is her struggling to keep her gamma ray-powered side under control after a man makes an unwanted pass at her on the street.

Still, almost every memorable Avengers lineup has some unexpected additions, and McGuinness is more than up to the challenge of illustrating them, the Avengers of 1,000,000 B.C. and the mighty Celestials, who are at the center of whatever is happening — and not doing so well, as it turns out. McGuinness’ style is so well-suited for grandiose adventure on an epic scale that it seems a shame he’s never been the penciller on an Avengers book prior to this.

Avengers #1
Image credit: Marvel Comics /

And if the Dark Celestials weren’t enough of a problem to justify getting the band back together, no matter how much Tony Stark would like to avoid it (props for Aaron making a subtle reference to Jonathan Hickman’s awesome run too), the teaser for issue #2 promises Loki will play a part in this tale as well. That’s only fitting since the God of Mischief was responsible for the “day unlike any other” that helped the team form in the first place.

With these kinds of nods to the past and the beginnings of what looks like a mind-blowing present, Avengers #1 is exactly what it should be to reflect what’s in theaters back to the comics: a huge popcorn movie-style tale with awesome production values and some humor in the face of high stakes. When you’re assembling the latest version of your pull list, you’re probably going to want this on it.