Af­fir­ma­tive ac­tion

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews - All- New picks up eight months af­ter Se­cret Wars and is, so Waid reck­ons, the first Avengers ori­gin story since 1963.

re­leased OUT NOW! Pub­lisher Marvel Comics

Writer Mark Waid

Artist Adam Ku­bert

The Avengers have tra­di­tion­ally fought on the side of the marginalised, the op­pressed; or­di­nary folks on the wrong side of great power. So, in a year when rep­re­sen­ta­tion in en­ter­tain­ment is a ma­jor talk­ing point, it’s pretty great that Marvel have as­sem­bled their most di­verse line- up yet for their flag­ship ti­tle.

A Mus­lim teen ( Ms Marvel), a black Cap­tain Amer­ica ( Sam Wil­son), a mixed- race Spi­der- Man ( Miles Mo­rales), and a fe­male Thor ( Jane Foster) join Nova, Vi­sion and team leader Tony Stark ( Iron Man) to form the new- look group – cre­at­ing the most fun Avengers ever, with Vi­sion the only true straight man in a su­per- team full of wisecrackers. It should be a tri­umph for in­clu­siv­ity, if Marvel have the courage of their con­vic­tions.

But, putting aside pol­i­tics for a se­cond, the for­ma­tion of the team is just one talk­ing point in a book that has plenty. All- New is a fun, easy read, form­ing a per­fect jump­ing- on point for any­one who hasn’t been fol­low­ing the com­plex re­cent events of Se­cret Wars. The open­ing three- is­sue arc is full of glee­ful mo­ments. If Spidey surf­ing into bat­tle on Iron Man’s back doesn’t make you punch the air, we can only as­sume you’ve re­cently had both arms bro­ken.

The plot is ba­sic, with Loki- like vil­lain Mr Gryphon need­ing arte­facts to open a por­tal to bring Chi­tauri war­riors to Earth. Mark Waid’s di­a­logue is ban­ter- packed, which matches Adam Ku­bert’s car­toony art per­fectly. It’s the sort of ti­tle we’d love to rec­om­mend to read­ers of all ages, but Marvel has slapped a T+ on the cover ( ages 13+). This is a bit baf­fling, be­cause it’s not ex­ces­sively vi­o­lent, sex­ual, or sweary. Which brings us to the sad­dest as­pect of All- New.

This team should have come to­gether like it was the most nor­mal thing in the world but Waid pep­pers the book with crit­i­cisms from by­standers. “Not my Cap­tain Amer­ica…” in is­sue one; “Where are the real [ Avengers]? Man, the world’s get­ting so po­lit­i­cally cor­rect th­ese days…” in is­sue four. Giv­ing a voice to the book’s in­evitable de­trac­tors not only weak­ens its im­pact, but strength­ens their ( dumb) ar­gu­ment. With­out this more adult el­e­ment, per­haps All- New would have been rated more re­al­is­ti­cally, and all ages would be able to ad­mire a group of peo­ple who now look just like they do. Sam Ashurst

All- New should be a tri­umph for in­clu­siv­ity

Don’t catch that scarf in the es­ca­la­tor…

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