Writer Jason Aaron has had a massive run on the Avengers property spanning numerous years, comics and characters. In fact, Aaron and artist Ed McGuiness first started their “Avengers” run in May of 2018. After nearly five years writing the Avengers franchise, Marvel is looking to wind down Aaron’s time with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes with a massive crossover event called ‘Avengers Assemble .’ Marvel just released the first issue of the title today with “Avengers Assemble Alpha” #1 and we are going to dive deep into the issue to see how the beginning of the end of Aaron’s run shakes out!
Cover by Bryan Hitch and Alejandro Sanchez
Written by Jason Aaron
Penciled by Bryan Hitch
Inked by Andrew Currie
Colored by Alex Sinclair
Lettered by VC’s Cory Petit
UNITING THE AVENGERS, AVENGERS FOREVER AND AVENGERS OF 1,000,000 BC IN AN EPIC SAGA THAT FORMS THE CAPSTONE TO JASON AARON’S ERA ON AVENGERS! From throughout time and the far corners of the Multiverse, the Mightiest Heroes of All the Earths are assembling as never before for a battle beyond all imaging. A war that will take us from the prehistoric beginnings of an Earth under assault by the greatest villains who’ve ever lived to the watchtower that stands at the dark heart of the all and the always, where an army of unprecedented evil now rises. The biggest Avengers saga in Marvel history begins now.
CONTINUED IN THE AVENGERS #63.
Jason Aaron has established so many fascinating plot threads for the ‘Avengers Assemble’ event. The Multiversal Masters of Evil have been conquering worlds, on their way to do battle with the Avengers. The Avengers are harboring the mysterious Avenger Prime character. Mephisto has also been lingering in the background of the comic book, waiting for his opportunity to strike! Despite the vast amount of plot threads, Aaron spends the bulk of this issue focusing on a battle between the modern Avengers and Avengers BC.
Marvel artist Bryan Hitch does great work in the comic book issue. There’s a page early on in the issue featuring the new Avengers team looking incredibly stoic. Hitch is great at drawing so many different characters on one page. Hitch illustrates nine different characters on the page to give this issue the sense of scale it needs. Aaron’s script becomes darker as the issue progresses. When Aaron needs Hitch draw eyes or tentacles; Hitch rises to the occasion nicely. One of the only things holding the art back in the series is the occasional awkward moment. The last panel of the issue is not framed very well and leads to a confusing, but important final moment. Overall though it is incredible to see just how many heroes and villains Hitch can fit on the page depending on the setting or location. Hitch brings this story in interesting new directions when he visualizes Mephisto’s extreme power in a fascinating direction. I also like how much bigger Hitch draws Starbrand than the rest of the smaller cast members.
When readers hear about big new crossovers, the idea of a huge storyline is intriguing. I’m unsure as to why Marvel devoted the bulk of the issue to two groups of heroes fighting each other when Marvel fans have decried that type of storytelling at the publisher for years. Thankfully, the last couple pages tease a little information about what Mephisto is going to do next. Also, the issue slightly moves the plot thread with Avenger Prime forward. “Avengers Assemble Alpha” #1 brings the Avengers Forever into an important new plot development on the last page of the story. Unfortunately, Aaron has lent slow pacing to the other plot threads in this story not directly involving the Avengers characters.
During the fight with numerous Avengers, several members of the team make a note about how the battle is not really serving anyone else in the story. When characters are commenting about how useless the narrative of the issue is in-story it is incredibly hard to take the issue very seriously at all. To make matters worse, Marvel even identified this issue as “The biggest Avengers saga in Marvel history” in their solicitation text for this issue. If Marvel was going to make a claim that big, I would have to think that someone would look over the plot of the debut issue more closely.
The actual brawl between the characters is not very intriguing either. Namor uses overly verbose language in certain moments. However, watching Namor interact with the Prehistoric Ghost Rider is irreverent and joyful but too brief and surface level to get anything major out of this interaction. When Thor and Captain Marvel take on the Starbrand, that same surface level interaction is on display here. The colors, characters and concepts in the story are intriguing but the ideas are not used in clever or inventive ways that could have made this title even better.
At the end of the day here, I think Marvel told a story that was too decompressed in “Avengers Assemble Alpha” #1. There’s plenty of room for the story to grow and get more epic as time goes on, but this debut script in particular is a little odd. Marvel has made this mistake so many times with stories like “Civil War II,” I would think the House of Ideas would be past kicking off an important crossover with a mindless battle. Back in the day Stan Lee utilized this trope but it doesn’t fit as well in modern day comics. Just because there is a large group of characters in this Avengers comic, does not mean that “Avengers Assemble Alpha” #1 is the biggest Avengers saga in Marvel history. I wish Marvel would have marketed this story differently.
Final Verdict: 5.0 – “Avengers Assemble Alpha” #1 is a monotonous, decompressed kick-off to an important Avengers story.