I know. It’s not a geeky fashion outfit post but I promise that we’ll get back to those soon. This book was just too good not to write about!
Yesterday saw the start of another Marvel NOW book with the release of New Avengers #1 written by Jonathan Hickman and with pencils by Steve Epting. This was the first book announcement for new Marvel NOW ongoings to really catch my attention several months ago and it’s the book that I have been anxiously awaiting ever since. And boy oh boy did it deliver!
New Avengers reunites the biggest time bomb of a team in recent comic book memory: The Illuminati. No but really: this team is the WORST idea ever. Just ask the Black Panther. He’s objected since the group was first proposed and he still objects even now as he pulls them together. These men are the rich, the geniuses, the powerful, and some of them are even kings. That many egos in a room is bound to backfire spectacularly one day even with Captain America playing referee. This issue shows Iron Man, Captain America, Namor, Doctor Strange, Black Bolt, and Mister Fantastic all arriving in Wakanda and answering T’Challa’s summons. (See what I meant about a lot of egos?)
Hickman uses this first issue to beautifully set up both the book and arc, making it fairly accessible to readers who might be newer to the Illuminati. (If you’re remotely intrigued by the Illuminati, I’d definitely suggest going and checking out the wiki entry just so you have a more completely idea of their history.) At the same time, the issue doesn’t feel like it was a filler introduction but instead tells its own story.
The last six pages of this issue are absolutely stunning and I don’t mean that purely from an artistic standpoint. Everything about them is perfect from the words, to the art, to the lettering. It drives home not just how desperate T’Challa is to save the world but also the caliber of team he’s reuniting. If anything, his invitation to Namor should emphasize the gravity of the situation. “Save me from what we are about to do” reads the final words of this issue. They’re going to save the world but who knows what the consequences might be. In all honesty, buying this issue is worth it even if it’s just so you can read these last six pages. (Yes, they are that perfect.)
What I’m really looking forward to about this book though is the team itself. Throughout Bendis’s run on the the Avengers, I always found myself intrigued by any Illuminati plot line because it’s wonderful watching all them play off each other while trying to save the world. This is really the first time we’ll be seeing them work more as a team instead of a secret society and I think it will be those team dynamics that make this book great. I want to see the friction between T’Challa and Namor. I want to see Tony and Reed play ‘I’m the smartest person in the room’. I want to see how Steve is going to adjust to being a part of this group. I want to see how a team with three kings works. This is a book that is as much about how the team works together as it is about the plot. If I want to read about a team that works well together most of the time then I’ll pick up my X-men or Avengers books. But that’s not this team. Let’s see this team get out there and save the world or possibly destroy it.
In short, the first issue of this book absolutely lived up to my expectations and I cannot wait to see where Jonathan Hickman takes us on this wild ride. Illuminati Assemble!