My calendar has been ready for January 2014 ever since Marvel announced that they would be putting out a slew of new titles, some of which feature characters that I’ve grown quite attached to over time. Now that the month is nearly over and I’ve managed to nab every first issue I kept my eyes on, it’s time to see what Marvel’s giving us for the upcoming year.
Avengers World by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Spencer
If you’ve been keeping up with and have been a fan of the company-wide six-issue Infinity event, Avengers World is one title you’ll want to add to your subscription list. The events of Avengers World are a result of the widespread Infinity chaos, with the Avengers promising to defend the Earth the same way they defended other planets before. Not everything on Earth, though, is sunshine and rainbows: there’s rioting, mass flooding, town-wide disappearances, and more.
With so much going on globally, Hickman and Spencer have broken the Avengers down into smaller teams of three or four people, which helps the reader keep closer tabs on who’s doing what. It also helps provide closer character moments for such a large group of people; the roster isn’t as huge this time around as it was during Infinity.
Avengers World has the promise of packaging a lot of fun, excitement, and intrigue within every issue. Already there’s so many plot points that it’ll be interesting to see where they all lead, and with Hickman and Spencer at the helm and Stefano Caselli doing the gorgeous artwork, this is definitely a title to get your hands on while it’s still early.
Black Widow by Nathan Edmondson
It’s finally happened, folks: Natasha Romanoff (“Agent. Avenger. Assassin.” as the tagline on the front cover reads) has her own comic. The first issue of Black Widow hit the shelves on January 8th and from the cover art alone it’s clear that this is a different type of comic.
Edmondson allots much time for the reader to puzzle over the question of just who Natasha is as a person, never quite giving us a definitive answer but in fact allowing Natasha to speak for herself. As the Black Widow, Natasha tries to make up for the dark things she’s done in her past by taking on jobs where she can use her unique skill set for ‘good.’ This makes for some great action-packed fight scenes (brought to life by Phil Noto’s outstanding artwork) and all the fun mischief that comes with being an assassin.
Black Widow #1 was a very strong opening for Natasha, and whether you already know of her of you’re interested in finding out more, it’s a great title that’s sure to bring more spy-genre excitement and thrills in the months to follow.
All-New Invaders by James Robinson
When I heard that Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes (Captain America and the Winter Soldier, respectively) were going to be fighting side by side on the same team again, I freaked out. A lot. My roommates, as witnesses, can verify this. But while I’m an avid devourer of all things Rogers and Barnes, I was never really exposed to the original Invaders team from the late ‘60s. So as someone who’s new to the Invaders as a team, this was a pretty solid introduction.
It was always a risky idea, bringing back a team of superheroes whose original job was to kick Nazi ass, especially because there never really seemed to be as good a reason or as big a threat to warrant the Invaders getting back together. Robinson, however, has found a pretty solid reason: aliens. Well, one alien (of the Kree) so far, but it’s this unusual blend of an old-school Invaders team-up and extraterrestrial threat that makes All-New Invaders both unique and fun.
Unfortunately, Toro of the original Invaders team isn’t in this reboot, so for people looking forward to a full reunion, that might be disappointing to hear. But I thought this first issue was strong for what it was, with a close focus on Jim Hammond, who’s a fairly fascinating character and gets a lot of time to shine here. With that said, All-New Invaders is definitely going on my subscription list.
Gabby Taub, the Fantasy Reviewer at Girls in Capes, is a senior at New York University studying creative writing. She enjoys reading, writing, watching TV, and spending time getting lost among the bookshelves at Strand Bookstore.