After spending the first six issues setting up a new team of Avengers, Mark Waid’s All-New All-Different Avengers finally gets roped into a crossover, namely that of the currently unfolding “Standoff.” That being said, however, it’s a well-designed comic that feels like it naturally connects into the “Standoff” storyline without sacrificing the series’ own integrity and standalone nature. Despite the fact that this issue collides into ongoing storylines in both the Sam Wilson: Captain America and Uncanny Avengers titles, if you weren’t reading those particular books you wouldn’t feel the least put off or confused.
Mark Waid manages to make this issue about the team you’ve been following for the past six issues, instead of making the team guest stars in their own book. It will of course remain to be seen if that continues to be the case moving forward, but for at least this first chapter I was pleasantly surprised at how natural the entire issue was. Once again, and quite unsurprisingly, the highlight of the issue was the characterization of the team themselves, particularly the developing rapport between Sam Wilson and Jane Foster. I’m glad that Waid hasn’t hesitated on letting at least one of the team’s members know Jane’s secret, and the way in which the characters connect here feels nakedly honest and truthful. It’s not a long sequence that the two share together, but it’s still a meaningful one.
Speaking of meaningful sequences, considering the events of the last couple issues, I found the interaction between Vision and Ms. Marvel to be quite enjoyable. The issue delves into Ms. Marvel’s hesitation around Vision, given his recent manipulation at the hands of Kang the Conqueror, plus her fangirl tendencies when it comes to superheroes (which feels note-perfect). Waid has found a way to resolve this conflict without letting it drag on. He manages to address a natural rift given what occurred, but also doesn’t let it fester and has found a nice way to resolve the issue and move the characters forwards.
After these two character-centric sequences, the issue jumps into the true plot of the issue, as the Avengers go up against the Night Phantom, a fight which ends up bringing them directly into the “Standoff” storyline, as they learn about Pleasant Hill, and get a visit from Maria Hill. The nature of just what’s happening with Maria Hill(s) is explored but not yet resolved here, as this issue manages to show us what happens with the All-New All-Different Avengers just prior to the most recent issue of Uncanny Avengers, plus what happens right after the last page of said issue. It’s handled in such a way, however, that if you haven’t read the most recent issue of Uncanny Avengers, it shouldn’t really impede your enjoyment or understanding of the issue.
I’m intrigued by the actual handling of Kobik in the different “Standoff” titles, as I believe she’s actively taken on other characters in two different issues (both released this week, the other being Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D.). The way in which the Avengers from both this title and the Unity Squad get repurposed by Kobik was a bit surprising, as some of the other “Standoff” titles have felt like they were headed in a different direction, with heroes combating the jailbreak occurring at the Pleasant Hill facility. It definitely piques my interest, to see what happens next in Uncanny Avengers #8 (although I hope we don’t get a retread of the fight sequence that occurs in the back half of this issue prior to getting to that point).
This issue features Adam Kubert returning to art chores, and he is fantastic as always. His comfort with the characters is evident, and he gets to have fun with portraying classic Avengers moments as well. His eye towards the smaller visual details is impressive, and his portrayal of Kamala Khan is uniquely excellent. There’s a vividness to his pencils/inks, and the colours by the team of colourists, including Sonia Oback, Dono Sanchez Almara, Romulo Fajardo and Edgar Delgado, are rich and vibrant.
Despite being part of an Avengers-line crossover, Waid’s All-New All-Different Avengers remains an engaging and enthralling read, with a clear sense of character and plot, all expertly balanced. The book feels like it naturally dovetails into the crossover, without it feeling forced on the book and disrupting the natural flow of Waid’s story. Kubert’s return is welcome, and enjoyable.