Friday, February 15, 2013

Avengers Assemble Annual #1

It makes me sad that this is the last “clean-up” job Christos Gage has assigned for Marvel at the moment. He’s been a favorite of mine for years. Few people are as good as Gage at wandering around the Marvel U explaining away uncharacteristic actions and editing gaps. (In fact, I think Kieron Gillen is the only current writer who comes close.)

This annual focuses on Vision and his lack of use in any of the core Avengers titles in Marvel Now. Viz had a big return at the start of AvX, but he’s nowhere to be found on the current teams. Gage explains that by playing Vision up against the Sunturion, a great, obscure Iron Man villain with his own personal identification issues. This is classic storytelling, comparing and contrasting your lead against a guy in similar circumstances who makes different choices. While Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Giant Man and Quicksilver appear, they are all there to accent the focus on Vision. Gage uses Quicksilver the most effectively, not surprising after he wrote him so well in Avengers Academy.

But even that clean-up isn’t enough for Gage. He also explains how the Avengers let the Vision’s robotic body sit in a box for years after Scarlet Witch destroyed him in Avengers Disassembled. Giant Man and Iron Man explain away their inaction with different reasons, but both work effectively at giving the Avengers an out on why they would sort of forget about their friend during the Bendis era of Avengers.

Man, thinking about it, it really bums me out that Gage doesn’t have any Marvel work coming up. He does important work, Marvel! You need to get him on a supporting X-book, STAT!

Tomm Coker handles the art, and he’s looking a lot more computer-y than he used to. He’s got a very Renato Arlem-look going on. That’s not a bad thing; I really like his Captain Marvel (especially her helmet) and his black-and-gold Iron Man. I sort of wish he’d left the original Sunturion design alone, cause that was a great-looking Bob Layton costume, but the new one is fine too.


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