"The Golden History"
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artists: Leonard Kirk (p), Kris Justice (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Long before Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, Ant Man and the Wasp came together as a group, there was another, government-sponsored, Avengers team. But due to the vagaries of continuity, they never existed in the Marvel Universe, and Avengers Forever even saw their timeline deleted. Now it appears that the Pendulum of Indecisive Continuity has swung their way again and they did exist, but their group never went by the Avengers name. Still, in the absence of the real thing, they'll do.
Writer Jeff Parker (also responsible for the much-better-than-it-should-be Marvel Adventures Avengers) delivers a solid first issue here, adequately explaining who the members of the cast are through the use of some suitably pulpy flashbacks, before launching into an action-packed secret agent adventure. As someone who's long thought that Marvel are missing out by not publishing a S.H.I.E.L.D. ongoing, I'm more than happy to see the storytelling move in that direction here. That said, the main characters themselves do feel a bit loosely defined in this first issue, and I hope to see some development of their personalities should the breakneck action permit enough of a pause; from what little we do see here, Parker does seem to have a good grasp of his cast, and his work on the Avengers title suggests that characterisation is one of his strengths.
Leonard Kirk and the magnificently-named Kris Justice provide art that at once captures the bizarre nature of the protagonists, but still keeps things a bit more gritty as befits the secret agent shenanigans. There also appears to be a strong Alan Davis influence here and there, particularly in terms of character faces and storytelling, but that's certainly no bad thing. Most of all, the art team has got into the spirit of things and is having fun with the concepts handed to them; when you're dealing with a machine-gun wielding gorilla and a teenager in a cape and underpants who flies a flying saucer, there's no place for over-seriousness.
I really don't know if there's enough here to grab the attention of someone who has no chuffing idea who the Human Robot and Venus are, but even so a good, if not exactly A-list, creative team, an interesting cast and a fascinating premise together result in a promising first issue.
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