I’ve been reading trade paperbacks of comics for the last few years, focusing on the most-praised arcs and my personal favorite characters. In April, I got my very first ongoing issue of a comic when Amazing Spider-Man relaunched. Yesterday, I jumped into four other ongoing titles. Based on what characters I like, how big a role each book plays in the larger Marvel Universe, and how good the books are supposed to be, I chose All-New X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, Thor: God of Thunder, and Avengers.
I like to pace myself whenever I get a bunch of new books at once, so for today I read Avengers #35.
My first time reading through Avengers #35, the most persistent thought I had was, “This is why so many people can’t get into comics.” I know quite a bit about Marvel’s continuity and it’s current state just from reading about it online and I still found this issue all sorts of confusing. I didn’t know who anybody was or understand why anybody was doing anything. I assumed that the issue would make complete sense to somebody who had read #34 and so I felt like I had jumped on at the wrong place.
But then I went online and found out that basically nobody knows what’s going on in Avengers #35.
This issue jumps ahead eight months into the Avengers’ future as some sort of universe-altering event is imminent. There’s also some sort war between super heroes going on and there’s lots of aliens flying around doing… stuff. And there’s a big machine on an island with dinosaurs. And uh… Well, Thor looks super badass.
So, yeah, there’s lots of stuff happening here and the confusion I felt my first time through is basically the intended reaction. The mystery of what exactly is going on is actually played out really well. Gold aliens sing about stars inexplicably dying prematurely. Super heroes act concerned about having to go back to Earth. Thor scowls on a mountaintop (while looking really awesome). There’s a great sense that something big is happening and that we’ve found ourselves right in the middle of whatever it is.
Even with all the confusion the whole thing is extremely engaging. The characters, many of which I had never heard of before (like Starbrand, Nightmask, and Manifold), all feel distinct and well-fleshed out even with their scenes being so brief. A few scenes even genuinely made me chuckle. The finale helps clear up some of the bigger questions about the state of our heroes while also teasing a fantastic showdown to come. This is an issue about setting up what’s on the horizon and even though it features very few action scenes, it still proves to be an engaging story.
Four pencilers, four inkers, and two colorists worked on this issue and they all do quite a fine job here. I particularly liked the coloring on Thor’s brief scene (have I mentioned how cool he looks?) and the character work in the finale. I have a particular distates for every woman in comics being drawn with large breasts and a penchant for leaning over with their back arched so seeing well-drawn female characters like Captain Marvel here, I can’t help but rejoice a little. Overall, the whole book looks great.
This was my first issue of Avengers. I didn’t have any clue what was happening or who most of the characters were, and I still enjoyed it. Definitely check out Avengers #35. If you have the patience to suss out what’s going on there’s a very rewarding story here.