The Universe, and more importantly Earth, has been saved – first from the Builders and then from Thanos and his minions. However, this being the Marvel Universe nowhere is ever really safe for long (the comics just wouldn't be that interesting).
Earth has plenty of issues without having to rely on intergalactic threats, A.I.M. for one seem to be making their presence felt of late.
Bruce Banner is walking to the bridge of S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier Iliad with Captain America. Cap isn't too happy with the all of the reporters and the fuss being made about the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. officially collaborating. S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Maria Hill brushes him off and briefs him on the daily events: Some activity in Regina (fall out from the Origin bomb in Avengers (Vol. 5) #10), some extraordinary meteorological events on the eastern coast of America, riots in Madripoor and some unusual things in Italy. A low priority day! The Avengers have teams at each event and the action at each site is intermingled through the comic, but I've reviewed them as a whole for ease.
Falcon, Black Widow, Wolverine and Shang Chi check out Madripoor. There have been riots there before but these ones are the worst they have seen. Some say they started as a workers' revolt, some say local gangs were responsible and some say they are due to a local superstition based on the birds! The Avengers think the situation can not be saved and are about to leave when Shang Chi discovers the Gorgon conducting a ritual. This ritual awakens a beast. Unfortunately it turns out that the beast is a dragon and the city of Madripoor has been built on its back!
In Velletai, Italy: Nightmask, Starbrand, Spider-Woman and Hawkeye are exploring the abandoned town. They discover a stone monolith, but before S.H.I.E.L.D. can send in a science team to investigate, Starbrand touches it and it warps the four Avengers away. They have been transported to beneath the town and find the City of the Dead. Starbrand can hear voices crying out to warn them. It's the voices of the dead.
Thor, Hyperion and Captain Marvel help with the storms in America whilst Bruce and his S.H.I.E.L.D. team try and figure out what's behind it. It turns out that A.I.M. island is growing and the effects of this are causing the abnormalities. Cap A sends Sunspot, Cannonball and Smasher to A.I.M. island to investigate. They are met by an A.I.M. agent, who Sunspot think may be their double agent from Avengers (Vol. 5) #11. This is proved incorrect when the agent blasts them out of the sky. Another A.I.M. agent declares he will take this Avengers World...
Phew! Busy first day for the new collaboration! Great set up work done here whilst acknowledging recent plot points. Hickman and Spencer have constructed a good opening issue that tells us what the new status quo is and also lines up storylines for the next few issues.
There's lots of little things that I like in this issue. I like the nods back to earlier Avengers comics reminding us about the Origin bomb in Canada and the A.I.M. agent Sunspot recruited. I like the concept of mini teams of Avengers being sent to each event. The fact that Falcon was sent to the place where a superstition about birds could have been the cause for a riot and Thor leading a team to deal with major weather issues; well thought out. There's a bit of humour to be had in this issue too. Sunspot and Cannonball seem to have taken on the role of light relief in Spidey's absent. I quite like Bruce Banner portrayed as this sceptical and sarcastic genius, running things on the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier. I also quite like Banner's role in this issue as it links in well with his current solo title and him working with S.H.I.E.L.D. It's nice to see comic writers acknowledging other ongoing titles and trying to line up continuity. That said there is a possible continuity flaw in that Wolverine features in this comic, even though he has just been removed from the Avengers roster in the recent Avengers (Vol. 5) #24, although this issue could be set before that comic I suppose. Seems a silly mistake to make given Hickman writes both comics. Why specifically kick a guy of the team just to have him turn up as a member later?
Finally the art and it's pretty good. Nice use of colours helping to distinguish between each different site the Avengers are at. There's also some really good use of shadow to show Shang Chi being stealthy or Hawkeye's team exploring the abandoned town. Unfortunately my normal annoyance about misleading covers is present here, as Iron Man and Captain Universe are there on the front but do not feature within the comic. Grr!
Good start up, keep it up please.