Ah, here comes the action! I’ve read enough of Jonathan Hickman’s work to realize he works better in trade than in floppy, and that seems to be holding true here, also. The last issue was a tad slight on combat, but Hickman more than makes up for it here.
Cap comes back with the Avengers army to take on the cosmic baddies threatening the Earth. Those villains may have cleaned up against the core team, but when Falcon, Shang Chi, and Captain Universe come calling, things go down quite differently.
This book has a big cast, so I appreciate how Hickman takes the time to introduce the main players through the dialogue. Some folks like Cannonball, Sunspot, and Shang Chi get shortchanged on intros, but they get their moments. Sunspot is still a flirt, and Shang Chi kicks so much butt, I can’t believe he’s never been an Avenger.
The new guys get some spotlight too. Hyperion takes on the Hulk and more than holds his own. I’m totally confused on which Hyperion this is, of course, but I assume that will be handled. The new Smasher is also very helpful in laying out her backstory through her confident battlefield chatter.
I will say that this lineup is so huge, that it is a good thing the book is scheduled to come out quicker than normal. There are simply too many people on the team for everyone to have a chance to shine.
Captain Universe (too bad it isn’t Monica Rambea like people hoped!) saves the day, and many of the Avengers help. But folks like Spider-Woman, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and more don’t really have a lot to do. Splitting the team should help with that.
Jerome Opena gets to do some costume redesign in this first arc. Falcon’s new suit is a nice mix of modern and classic. He’s clearly recognizable, but in a cutting edge suit. I like Opena’s take on Captain Marvel, too, Carol Danvers’ current look is hard to pull off, but Opena seems to have it. Manifold’s glowing costume is really neat, and I like Shang Chi’s new duds too.
I’m less impressed with the generic suits Cannonball and Sunspot are sporting. I THINK the intent is to harken back to the original New Mutant costumes of simple yellow and black, but the matching, simple look seems out of place on the Avengers.