Written by Al Ewing
Art by Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, and Jesus Aburtov
Lettering by Chris Eliopoulos
Published by Marvel Comics
‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
A sincere heart beats underneath all the flag waving in U.S.Avengers #1. Al Ewing, who has been turning in strange and low-key great Avengers books since his debut with Marvel, pulls from past titles such as New Mutants, New Avengers, and his own Ultron Forever mini-series to deliver the next fun chapter of Roberto Da Costa’s career as one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, with a few former New Avengers and a new mustachioed Red Hulk in tow.
New Avengers artist Paco Medina returns along with this new debut, adding a nice visual consistency between the two titles, along with inker Juan Vlasco and colorist Jesus Aburtov. The returning art team adapts well to Ewing’s peak and valley like story hook, switching well between the kinetic action of the main story and the intimate confessionals from the team that lay out the title’s emotional groundwork. While the title suggests a more jingoistic take on the concept of the Avengers, U.S.Avengers #1 is a zany, heartfelt look at the continually evolving team that is too fun to be ignored.
Roberto Da Costa is an American citizen, and you can never take that away from him. Neatly laying out the logic behind this new incarnation of A.I.M. - now standing for American Intelligence Mechanics - Ewing lets his cast do the selling as he threads documentary-style interviews with the whole cast through their first mission against the Secret Empire. It is a hefty amount of character work to saddle a first issue with, but the hook is solid and Ewing’s voice and point of view for each character, in particular team leader Roberto and Enigma (formerly POD), really shines through in these slightly cheesy but sincere showcases.
That sincerity also spreads to the issue’s comic book craziness, which has become one of my favorite things about Ewing’s team books. As the team mobilizes to combat the Secret Empire’s helicarrier-volcano base combo vehicle, Ewing again plays the lunacy completely straight, adding to the wry comedy of the title (another Ewing staple that is easy to fall in love with) and the frenetic action of the scenes between the interviews. He even ups the ante in the final pages of the issue by pulling characters from the insane worlds he explored in Ultron Forever and adding them to the cast, setting the rest of the arc up for even bigger displays of crazy in the future. Though the title is a touch misleading as to its content and tone, U.S.Avengers #1 is another solid example of Al Ewing delivering both comedic spectacle and solid character work within the roiling nuttiness that is the Marvel Universe.
This debut also comes prepared with the perfect art team for its mixture of emotionality and kinetic action in the form of Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, and Jesus Aburtov. Medina, who has been handling Da Costa and his merry mutant band for some time now, bounces well between the grounded monologues of the interviews and the multi-fronted assault on the Secret Empire, keeping the transitions smooth instead of jerking the reader back and forth between silence and noise. It is a fine line to walk but Medina does it well, his pencils given precise definition by the inks of Juan Vlasco. Jesus Aburtov also has a fine first day on the job with this new title as he washes bright sunlight, soft theatrical back lights, and bold costuming colors across each page, making this title look as optimistic as its script.
It is always cool to see a creative team find their niche and with the debut of U.S.Avengers #1, I think its safe to say that Ewing and company have found theirs in daffy, fun, and character focused team books. Standing a solidly entertaining, but unexpectedly presented debut, this first issue keeps Ewing’s overall direction for Roberto and his team on track and better still, keeps evolving the team beyond their debut selves. Adding dynamism and heart to the proceedings are Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, and Jesus Aburtov, all of whom match the script beat for beat while making it their own. Sunspot and his team may now be working for the government but U.S.Avengers #1 shows that they are all still the same beautifully heroic misfits that readers responded to in the first place.