Free Comic Book Day is this weekend and fans everywhere are anticipating all of the fun, free books that the various comic book publishers are offering. Marvel and DC have figured out that Free Comic Book Day is a great way to tease their upcoming status quos and have decided to release Secret Wars #0, All-New, All-Different Avengers FCBD, and DC Comics: Divergence, which includes a tease of the new status-quo of Batman. What makes these releases so notable to Spider-Man fans is that the All-New, All-Different Avengers doesn’t just showcase the first look at a post “Secret Wars” world but it also features Miles Morales on the newest Avengers team. I managed to get ahold of a copy of the book several days before its release, thanks to a less than protective comic book storeowner, and offer this review and analysis of the book’s contents.
The book opens with a beautiful full-page spread that depicts the new members that make up the Marvel Universe’s Avengers: Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Vision, Ms. Marvel, Miles Morales, and Nova. Each character is an “all-new, all different” take on what we’ve seen before. Sure, we are getting Thor and Spider-Man on our Avengers team, but not like we’ve ever had before. The book is quick to acknowledge this and to separate the team into two groups, the old and the young.
When a giant, radioactive, green dragon attacks Manhattan’s Federal Reserve Bank, the Avengers are called into action. Turns out the attack is perpetrated by none other than the Radioactive Man. The team is split, between old and young, as the elder members tackle the raging dragon and the juveniles go into the bank to apprehend who is in charge. It seems Radioactive Man has fried all the people inside and is ready to fight off the newest additions to the Avengers team. This is pretty standard comic book storytelling and won’t rock the boat, especially considering that the big surprise is revealed on the cover.
The narrative has a clever reveal involving Sam Wilson and his relationship to these young characters but also seems like it is missing major elements of its narrative. The book doesn’t make it clear if this is a teaser meant to stand on its own or whether this is an extracted section of the first issue of the upcoming All-New, All-Different Avengers series. Characters make references to actions that should have occurred in this book but for the life of me I could not find.
Mark Waid’s writing is exactly what one would expect from him, particularly if you’ve been reading his wonderful Daredevil run. The dialogue is intelligent but fun and the narrative balances character and plot in the way the best superhero comics do, all while providing some teases about the future of the Marvel Universe. You won’t find anything grim or gruesome in this book, or anything nearly as complicated as Jonathan Hickman’s take on the team, which I consider a refreshing change of pace for the team and its readership.
Mahmud Asrar’s art is exactly what one might expect from him if they’ve been reading his work on All-New X-Men. Asrar is almost indistinguishable from Stuart Immonen’s work but slightly less detailed and less varied in his depiction of the heroes, from poses to framing techniques. Still, the colors by Frank Martin are bright and cheery, matching Waid’s script, and give this book a very Saturday Morning cartoon aesthetic that seems appropriate for the younger vibes of the book and its characters.
In terms of teasing the upcoming status quo of the Marvel Universe, All-New, All-Different Avengers reveals a number of things:
- Sam Wilson’s bird, Redwing, seems to either be alive again or he’s been replaced
- Sam Wilson is not in Steve Rogers’ favor
- Tony Stark is no longer rich, or cannot apply his money towards the Avengers anymore
- Vision isn’t as strong anymore
- Miles Morales is in the regular universe
It is interesting to me that no one ever calls Miles Morales “Spider-Man.” They go out of their way to call him “Web-head” or “Spidey.” This could imply a number of things, or nothing at all. Does this mean that Peter Parker’s Spider-Man made it through “Secret Wars,” so there can’t be two people named Spider-Man and Marvel hasn’t decided yet what to call Miles Morales’ version? Or does this mean the opposite, Miles is the lone Spider-Man and has assumed Peter’s nicknames? Only time will tell.