Avengers: Four

avengers four cover trade paperback review
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10

Avenger X has potential

Forgettable storyline

Comic Info

Comic Name:   Avengers (Volume 5)

Publisher:   Marvel Comics

Writer:   Mark Waid

Artist:  Barry Kitson/Mark Bagley/Sean Izaakse/Ro Stein

# of Issues:  5

Release Date:   2017

avengers #1.1 cover alan davis art scarlet witch quicksilver captain america hawkeye

Avengers (5) #1.1 Variant

Reprints Avengers (5) #1.1-5.1 (January 2017-May 2017).  The Avengers are looking for new members.  When the original team decides to take a hiatus from active duty, Captain America finds himself helming a new team of Avengers.  With a reformed criminal and two former mutant terrorists, the Avengers must first gain the trust of the public.  The arrival of a mysterious woman named Cressida could literally boost the Avengers powers to where they need to be in order to protect the world.  Unfortunately, the Avengers find “Avenger X” has her own agenda…and the Avengers could pay the price.

Written by Mark Waid, Avengers:  Four is a retcon flashback story occurring after Avengers (1) #16 (May 1965).  The story was published as “.1” issues with the fifth relaunch of The Avengers.  The series features art by Barry Kitson, Mark Bagley, Sean Izaakse, and Ro Stein.

I gave up on The Avengers during the Bendis period which seemed to sap the fun from the team and kept getting interrupted by “big events” storylines.  I tried to hop back on with the fourth relaunch of the title but the Infinity storyline bogged down that comic.  With a return to the original numbering I decided to leap back to the beginning of the Waid relaunch and see how it was set-up.  This throwback collection was mixed in with the new title…and it feels like more of the same.

Mark Waid is a solid comic book writer, but he isn’t a great comic book writer.  He is consistently good, but generally provides really basic, traditional comic book stories.  More dynamic comic book writers (Grant Morrison would be an example) often have success, but when their stories hit, they are inventive and different (if they miss they can be real bad).  Waid generally dodges that risk with his writing, and this collection is no different.

avengers #4.1 cover variant mike allred art

Avengers (5) #4.1 Variant

The goal of this book is to make it feel like it is seamless with the original Kirby-Lee run of The Avengers.  It is close, but it just feels flat beyond the novelty of a throwback story.  A better example of this type of storytelling is Busiek’s Untold Tales of Spider-Man which does feel more seamless while introducing new characters and ideas.  This collection provides a big letdown at the end with a fake funeral and a magic science solution to restore the Avengers to health (just forget about all the people killed by Cressida before).  It seems like a throwaway.

I also am not a fan of how the comic was released.  Comics are expensive and attracting new readers is difficult.  If a kid has just seen one of the Avengers movies and rushes to the comic bookstore to buy Avengers comics, he or she is first confused by the numbering system and second has a story that jumps back and forth…it doesn’t really help the brand as part of Avengers (Volume 5)…let Avengers:  Four be its own series like Fantastic Four:  1 2 3 4.

Avengers:  Four is a very generic comic book.  There is nothing really wrong with it (besides the fake funeral part), but there is also nothing special or distinctive about it.  It is completely forgettable (though I can’t fault the artists, it seems like Mike Allred or Marcos Martin would have been a better choice for the retro look).  Avengers:  Four can be skipped but runs in conjunction with Avengers: Unleashed:  Kang War One.

Related Links:

Avengers:  Unleashed 1:  Kang War One

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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