Seven years in the making, "
" No. 1 is well worth the wait.
No, it didn't take the creative team of Brian Michael Bendis, John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson seven years to produce the issue. They are all way faster than that. Most people in the industry are way faster than that - or else they'd starve. The only possible exception would be a book that announces Kevin Smith as its writer and Jim Lee as its artist. In that case, seven years between issues would not be far-fetched.
What Comics Guy is referring to is that Marvel made a conscious decision seven years ago to return their mightiest superhero team to prominence by taking everything fans loved about it and literally blowing it up and turning it inside-out. The team's "Core Three" of Iron Man, Thor and Captain America all experienced arguably the most traumatic events of their lives. Tony Stark was viewed by many to be more evil than Doctor Doom for doing what he thought was right, while Thor and Cap felt the touch of the Grim Reaper.
What drove many fans even crazier was that Wolverineand Spider-Man, two heroes best known as loners, were stars in a new title called "New Avengers." The feeling was that Marvel was discarding what made the Avengers unique and special in order to place their two top cash cows - and most overexposed characters - on the team.
But, like many of the bold moves during this time, Marvel's decision only helped Earth's Mightiest Heroes regain their elite status - including on the sales charts, where four "Avengers"-related titles have been consistent best-sellers.
As Marvel embarks on its "Heroic Age," it is only fitting that they kick it off with a relaunched "Avengers" title - all the other "Avengers" titles will be replaced/relaunched to fit in with the new Marvel status quo as well - that reunites the Core Three for the first time in almost a decade and reminds us why they are such a special combination.
Thor brings awesome power and nobility and strength, and the symbolism of Captain America is sure to be explored as Steve Rogers' replacement, Bucky Barnes, will continue to sling the shield. And Tony Stark? He's portrayed as a man who can anticipate the future and prepare for it - which this issue shows can cause problems.
Throw in Spider-Man and Wolverine, and then sprinkle in Hawkeye and Spider-Woman, and the potential for this book is tremendous. Comics Guy expects it to reach its potential, especially since Bendis is still in charge of this flagship title. He planned the events to get them to this point and it's clear from this issue that he has a vison for them going forward.
A bonus for fans is that Bendis' ability to depict epic fight scenes has improved markedly the past few years. He realizes that a book with this many big guns has to have scenes where they face challenges worthy of them - this can't be another of his famous "talky books" - and that, in addition to quality characterization and dialogue, there has to be a lot of action.
With heroism and hope again in abundant supply in the Marvel Universe, there really is no other book more worth your time and money this month.
The success of "Iron Man 2" means that there is a good chance you will see Scarlett Johansson kicking butt in skintight black attire again soon - and not just in a potential sequel.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige is keeping his cards close to his vest regarding a potential solo film for Natasha Romanoff, but responded to a question regarding a "Black Widow" film at a recent press conference by saying this: "Definitely possible. Yes, absolutely."