The War of the Realms, Jason Aaron’s epic Thor-rooted conflict encompassing every corner of Norse cosmology, has been building for years, and is now mere months away. All the banners atop my comics tell me so.
But in another mythological corner of the Marvel Universe, conflict has already come and gone. The hallowed spires of Olympus lie in ruins and the Greek-inspired gods and demigods who inhabited that otherworldly paradise have been slaughtered. Time to assemble the Avengers B-team!
Towards the end of Marvel’s problematic Legacy initiative, Mark Waid, Al Ewing, and Jim Zub bravely embarked on the highly ambitious Avengers: No Surrender project, a weekly Avengers story that hearkened back to some of the greatest adventures of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. There was cosmic gamesmanship courtesy of the Grandmaster; a journey through the team’s storied past via the introduction of Voyager; and classic character team-ups, combining long-time fan-favorites and new blood alike. It was solicited with minimal fanfare (especially as preparations were in place for the “Fresh Start”), and ended up being a rousing success.
One of the reasons No Surrender seemed to worked so well is because these writers were each able to bring to the party a special affinity for certain B-list heroes. So, as an encore, while Jason Aaron is busy putting together the single most powerful iteration of the Avengers ever conceived (granted, with his own curious collection of fun also-rans — I see you, Agents of Wakanda), Waid, Ewing, and Zub embark on another self-contained epic involving an oddball assemblage of some clearly personal faves. The weekly Avengers: No Road Home premieres this week.
Voyager is back, that erstwhile Avenging daughter of the Grandmaster, along with Hercules, Vision & Scarlet Witch, Rocket Raccoon for some reason, and Hawkeye. Al Ewing’s crazy-ass fingers are all over this, because we also get, reappearing from his U.S.Avengers and Ultimates runs, Dr. Toni Ho, Blue Marvel, and Monica “Spectrum” Rambeau. And, because there isn’t anything better on the superhero racks right now than his Immortal Hulk, Ewing also treats us to the inclusion of the scariest version of the Green Goliath in Marvel history. Conversations between Hulk and Hawkeye promise to be awkward.
They have to contend with the latest deadliest-enemy-ever, this time a mysterious figure who goes by Nyx, Queen of the Night. She trounces a town of gods and has her vacuous eyes set on more carnage, so the stakes are appropriately high. These first few issues promise fantastic pencils by Paco Medina and, if No Surrender is any indication, we won’t have to worry about the kind of dropoffs in art quality that often plague series on this kind of schedule. What I do have to worry about, apparently, is what Marvel is thinking by giving this book a consecutive “Legacy” numbering that folds into the other Avengers book. I’m a completionist, guys. Don’t confuse me. Is this its own series, or is it part of the larger Avengers continuum? The first issue of NRH has a Legacy number of 708… while the most recent issue of Aaron’s Avengers is Legacy number 705. But both of these Avengers books are being solicited into the future… I don’t get it. There’s something someone isn’t telling us.
Speaking of conspiracies, does anyone else find it interesting that, right after Aaron and McGuinness knock off all the Eternals in the first arc of the aforementioned Avengers book, Waid, Ewing and Zub wipe out the Olympian gods whose names inspired those Kirby-created immortals? All while Marvel Studios is ramping up action on an upcoming Eternals entry into the MCU? Don’t feed me the tail-wagging-the-dog line; they KNOW something!