Welcome to Right to Assemble, our new column following the ongoing events in the Avengers family of titles. Marvel’s Avengers franchise may be bigger than ever, and it’s fairly obvious that Dark Reign continues to have a significant impact on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. However, today, we’re more concerned about the impact on you, the reader.
Today, I want to pose the following question: how satisfied are you with the Avengers family of titles at the moment? Let me make it clear: that’s not a knock; I’m just looking for overall opinion. One only has to cast their eyes to the sales charts to see that it’s good to be an Avenger. Nevertheless, opinions in the trenches can always vary from the stark data of sales.
For our purposes, we’re going skip solo titles and focus on the actual team books. Right now, the Avengers franchise consists of New Avengers, Mighty Avengers, Avengers: The Initiative, and Dark Avengers. While there IS a Dark Reign: Young Avengers mini in progress, the actual Young Avengers have yet to return to regular publication.
Let’s take a look at the basics of the main titles.
Dark Avengers: Inextricably tied to Dark Reign, this successful book continues to draw a lot of interest for its basic concept: “evil Avengers”. One does wonder how long this book would last without the Dark Reign support system and with different characters; one presumes that once (if?) a new status quo is achieved, Dark Avengers could possibly continue to operate with new characters as the X-Force of the Avengers family.
New Avengers: They’ve been the “Avengers on the Run” since Civil War. Though the line-up has changed a bit since Secret Invasion, this has been the “embattled Avengers keeping the spirit of the team alive” book for a while. I suppose that we would still consider this the “core” Avengers book.
Mighty Avengers: Honestly, this is the B-team book. The upside is that those books can be freeing for the creators and surprisingly entertaining for the audience. The occasional downside is that it can be hard to draw in an audience and keep them unless they see a compelling hook. While we have characters here that either have their own titles (Hercules) or following (Quicksilver), this is still going to be seen as “the other book” by a lot of readers. My guess is that this week’s Young Avengers reunion in this book is partially motivated by a desire to get more attention (and of course, to re-establish the kids).
Avengers: The Initiative: While I’ve definitely found this book frequently entertaining, it seems to be going in several disparate directions these days. Part Thunderbolts, part New Warriors on the run, part “original-Initiative-premise-with-villains”, it’s piling up a huge cast with a lot of shifting stories and agendas. That’s not to say that it can’t be great; it’s just hard these days to explain this book in a few words.
So, looking at the Avengers field, what works for you? What doesn’t work for you? Are there too many books? Not enough? Some great and fine the way they are? Some that need to change focus? You take the reins of the conversation, and we’ll talk about your opinions next time.