This story started off rough and then blossomed into an enjoyable adventure. The way I see it, Marvel had two options with Free Comic Book Day: they could either support the Avengers film with a tie-in comic book or they could snare the inbounding Avengers film audience and ease them into the contemporary Avengers storyline. Marvel chose the second option. This comic book is a preamble to a large event comic hinted at in earlier comics as “The Age of Ultron.”
This is a rare occasion in which Marvel has decided to put their shoulder into it and support Free Comic Book Day whole heartedly. This book is made by Brian Bendis and Bryan Hitch who are elite A-list talents in the superhero genre. Rather than being a non-essential side story this book directly leads into a storyline that will be of future great significance to the company’s bottom line. The notion of trying to earn “new readers” is not a going concern. Instead, the mission is to call existing superhero comic readers to attention and beat the drum for the next big comic party.
Given those parameters is Avengers 0.1 successful? That is for you to judge and your wallet will be the jury.
My personal feeling is this: if Bryan Hitch is drawing this “Age of Ultron,” I’m probably interested. Hitch is one of those modern artists who established the “widescreen” style. Popularized by his page designs on “The Authority.”
Hitch is known for his photo-referenced art style and his reliance on copying photos of famous actors. He is also well known for his ability to render the scope of superhero destruction on a somewhat believable scale.
There is a nice sequence in this comic where Thor’s magical hammer is ricocheting around just out of view. Each panel illustrates the damage that the weapon is inflicting until it returns to Thor. The hammer doesn’t actually return to his hand but Thor is reaching for it as the handle is just in the panel, its return imminent. Just as Thor is reaching for his rebounding weapon, the Avengers are bursting through the wall, scaring the bad guys even more.
This scene is a strong example of showing effect before cause. It instantly places us in the point of view of these hapless villains who don’t understand why everything is exploding around them. They are just seeing chaos left and right and above. Then boom: Avengers Assemble.