on 27 July 2014
I did question the addition of yet another Avengers title, but after diving into this one I'm happy to declare that I'm hooked on Avengers World.
After being totally immersed in the flagship Avengers, and the New Avengers titles, I dabbled in some of the others and found them not to my taste.
However, Jonathan Hickman, teaming up with Nick Spencer on writing duties, is crafting an exciting new chapter in the newest roster of Earth's Mightiest Heroes to delight our senses.
Set just about concurrently with the main events in the other Hickman-penned story arcs, (where do our heroes get the time though?) this volume 1, entitled A.I.M.pire, is a continuation of what's going on with our favourite scientific enemies, but without the dreariness of the Secret Avengers.
If you've read the current Secret Avengers books, you should know that A.I.M. Is under a period of aggressive expansion. And they're getting even bigger, which threatens the USA of course.
S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Maria Hill, asks for Captain America's help in dealing with this problem. Elsewhere on Hill's radar, the Far-Eastern country of Madripoor requires Avengers attention, as does the city of Velletri, Italy.
Thankfully, with the Avengers roster being so big these days, Cap is able to send teams to each of the problem areas. Enter Smasher, Sunspot and Cannonball to tackle A.I.M., Falcon, Black Widow, Wolverine and Shang-Chi get the Madripoor assignment, whilst Spiderwoman, Hawkeye, Starbrand and Nightmask take a trip to Velletri.
The story then flits between each of the three locations, as the teams encounter various threats. We discover that an evil presence is lurking beneath Italy and the dead are rising. Madripoor is sat on top of a centuries-old dragon, which rather un-helpfully awakes and takes flight, and the A.I.M. High council manage to brainwash Smasher into taking their side and renaming her their Messenger.
Other heroes are brought into play briefly, but the three threads centre around Shang-Chi, Smasher, Starbrand and brothers-in-arms Sunspot and Cannonball.
There is a chapter focused on Manifold, as the teleporter is required for the A.I.M. assignment, but his anxiety issues require the intervention of Captain Universe.
The three plots unfold, and the heroes all get into scrapes, as you might imagine. We eventually discover who is behind each threat. And it's not good.
I enjoyed this book immensely and preferred its stance on concentrating on the wider roster and newer members of the team. If you want a Hulk, Thor, Iron Man or Captain America fix, then this probably isn't the book for you, as the "big four" are confined to just cameo roles only. No, this is Avengers fiction for those that like to see the "lesser" heroes in action.
Superbly written, intelligent, humourous (I can't get enough of the Laurel-and-Hardy-esque dialogue between Cannonball and Sunspot), and expertly drawn by Stefano Caselli, this book is a treat. Bravo, I say.
Oh, and I should mention that an old villain makes a welcome return.