by Mark Waid, Mike Del Mundo & Marc D’Alfonso

Mark Waid and Marvel bounce back from an underwhelming mainline Avengers series with a  back to basic’s approach that’s elevated by Mike Del Mundo’s continued excellence in comics illustration.

While the concept of All New, All Different Avengers was certainly a great idea on some level, it’s execution always felt lacking. As Waid broke up the team by putting it’s younger character’s onto his new Champions series, Avengers feel’s like one of the most traditional takes on the team in quite some time with the majority of it’s cast featuring original members and it’s usage of Kang The Conqueror as their first adversary and after years of multiple Avengers titles that were all over the map in terms of their content, direction & concepts; that actually feel’s pretty refreshing. Keep in mind that this isn’t a complete reduction to the books roots, there is no Iron Man to be found in the books debut, Cap & Thor are the current comics versions of the character as opposed to their original incarnations and Spiderman is on the team to take on the role of financial patriarch. In terms of writing, this is the sharpest and most inspired a Mark Waid comic has felt since his close to iconic run on Daredevil. Waid’s script is funny in it’s use of biting sarcasm and energetic dialogue while the plot flows naturally with an inviting progression to it’s story and setting. It’s a strong opening salvo for the writer that bodes well for the series future.

While Mark Waid’s writing on Avengers could be qualified as great; artist Mike Del Mundo’s contribution continues to be breathtaking. While Del Mundo’s interior art on the two volumes of the Weird World series were never less then astonishing, it was done so within a setting that was congruent to the artists strength in it’s free form high fantasy setting. What’s impressive about Avengers is how he manages to be as awe-inspiring with a  more traditional Marvel superhero style book and it’s natural limitations. Some of this comes from the added imagination his art brings to something like the Vision being caught in a time stream but it extends to pages like Del Mundo’s beautiful illustration of New York City’s skyline, the expressive character acting or the sleek design elements. This is the quality and imagination that is to be expected from Del Mundo but it’s like nothing we’ve seen before from the artist in his  sequential illustrations. Mike Del Mundo is an automatic buy until proven otherwise and that stays in effect based on Avengers #1.

The debut of Avengers almost feels like a lot of the best DC Rebirth comics in the way it integrates a back to basics approach to the series in a modern context while still allowing for the creative flair of it’s writer and artist. As the latest Marvel Now initiative has underwhelmed on some level, Avengers #1 is not only the strongest debut to come out of the publisher’s new line so far, but one that stands out without any qualifier for it’s entertaining writing and superb visuals.