By Al Ewing, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, and Jesus Aburtov
If you find yourself flooded with too many options for Avengers books and solo member books on the rack these days, you’re not alone. It seems like there is an Avengers team book and a solo title featuring a member of the Avengers coming out all too frequently. If you only have room for a couple of Avengers books on your pull list, what do you keep? What do you let go? This is a hard question because many of these books are very good. This week we see U.S.Avengers hit the shelf. This may seem familiar because it’s written by Al Ewing who wrote New Avengers, and it features some of the same characters, like Cannonball and Sunspot. That aside, there is also a slew of new characters and a very different direction for the book.
Al Ewing has come a long way from his early days on New Avengers. He’s built up characters and crafted some interesting tales. Now here we are with another Avengers title being launched and another book that has to distance itself from all of the other titles in the line. Ewing makes it very clear this issue that this is not the mainstream, Saturday morning cartoon Avengers. Each character gets an introduction; some of these can be a bit wordy, like with General Maverick, but for the most part are effective in introducing the team. There isn’t too much different about this issue than any other introductory issue, except for the reality show style in which they are shown. Our characters are in a tough situation, and even though they haven’t been working together all that long, they need to work together to solve a problem – standard first issue teamwork stuff. Ewing makes this work by giving us just enough of the characters to want to continue to keep reading about them. We don’t know how many of these characters came to be on the team, which is interesting. It’s also cool to see Sunspot (or Citizen V) take on a tech leader role. He’s come a long way from being another New Mutant, and he’s in good hands with Ewing.
The pencils this issue are handled by Paco Medina with colors by Jesus Aburtov and inks by Juan Vlasco. Pencil wise, the art is impressive. The unveiling of the new Red Hulk is a well drawn panel that gives us an excellent look at how big his biceps are and how strong he is. All the characters look good as they take action, like the new Iron Patriot flying with sunlight shining behind her. Medina does a wonderful job here, but if there is one gripe, and this is digging, it’s that the facial expressions don’t differ that much. The colors by Aburtov are very good here as well. It’s the little things he does that make this a successful team effort. As Iron Patriot flies into action, the different shades of blue behind her may not get much attention, but they really make a difference in the panels. His work makes this an even more enjoyable read.
U.S.Avengers was a bit of a surprise. This may seem like a book that you could easily pass over due to the lack of star power on the team, but it is a very good start to the series. Well written characters and a creative way to introduce them to the audience is what sets this book apart from other generic titles on the shelf.