COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Avengers #1 (The Final Host)

Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America look to put the Avengers back together, like it was in the beginning. However, as new threats begin raining down from the sky, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes must take action with the help of some exciting new members!

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Avengers #1
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Ed McGuinness
Inker: Mark Morales
Color Artist: David Curiel
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics


What You Need to Know:

Thor Odinson. Steve Rogers. Tony Stark. The Big Three of the Avengers are reunited at last! And just in time to save the world from total annihilation at the hands of their most powerful enemies yet: the 2000-foot-tall space gods known as Celestials. Behold the coming of the Final Host. Who will answer the call to assemble for a wild new era of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes? Hint: one of them has a flaming skull for a head. And what strange, world-shaking connection exists between the Final Host and Odin’s ancient band of Prehistoric Avengers?


What You’ll Find Out:

One million years ago, the prehistoric Avengers gather to discuss the incoming enemies that threaten their very existence. Consisting of Odin, Black Panther, Starbrand, The Sorcerer Supreme, Ghost Rider, Iron Fist, and the Phoenix force, the group plots on how to prevent their demise, justifying their previous actions as necessary for defense. Phoenix and Odin share their feelings for each other one last time before the group storms off to face down the incoming Celestials falling from the sky…

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Back in present-day Earth, Tony Stark, Thor Odinson, and Steve Rogers all sit at the bar together and reminisce about their most recent adversities. Tony being in a coma, the unworthy Thor, and Hydra Cap created hardships for the Avengers team. However, they all agree that the three need each other, and if they are to put the Avengers back together it must start with them. They agree that the other members will become apparent in time, and they will know when. Just as Tony smarts off about waiting for a calamity to happen, his warnings go off loudly, describing multiple energy fluctuations near Earth’s orbit.

Elsewhere, beneath the plains of South Africa, Doctor Strange, and Black Panther enter a cave to explore the ancient remains that Black Panther had recently discovered. A group of Archeologists lie dead just inside the cave, and Black Panther soon discovers carvings on the wall that are emitting cosmic radiation. Within moments Doctor Strange identifies it as Agamotto’s magic. He tells Black Panther of the recent death of Magic during his battle with the Empirikul and says the spells guarding the cave must have died with it. Black Panther tells him the symbols of the Avengers are all on the wall and although they must go to the center of the Earth, he must bring the Avengers of today with them.

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Meanwhile, In East L.A, Robbie stands outside leaning beneath the hood of his car when his brother Gabe approaches asking for a ride. Robbie refuses, saying the car has been too weird lately as he looks into the reflection to see the Ghost Rider staring back at him. In the upper west side of Manhattan, Jennifer Walters attempts to exercise with a jog through the city when a group of guys begin harassing her. Using catcalls and derogatory comments, they finally stop her in her tracks. Before the man behind her can finish his sentence, her skin turns green and she faces the man, demanding to be left alone. As he sprints away for his life, she walks on telling herself not to Hulk out…

Just outside of the Alpha Flight Station, a massive cluster of active hyperspace warp-holes has appeared and Captain Marvel rushes toward it to punch whoever is coming through it back where they came from.  She soon discovers that it’s no alien armada though, as a huge hand of a Celestial reaches through.

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As the Avengers fly beneath the portal in the sky and plan their next moves, Black Panther and Doctor Strange are miles below the surface where they discover what looks like thousands of dormant life forms, and a few missing ones…

Back in L.A, Robbie struggles with the powers of the Ghost Rider when suddenly a group of terrifying insect creatures come digging up through the road. Without hesitation, the Ghost Rider comes forth and bears down on the creatures, promising to deliver hell himself.

While Doctor Strange and Black Panther begin to witness the insect creatures erupting from their pods and plot their escape, Captain Marvel guides a falling massive dead celestial down from space into the ocean, just barely missing the city. Much to the surprise of the three Avengers, she lands and immediately returns to the air to catch the other Celestials now falling from the sky. As the dead Celestials rain down all over the Earth, the Avengers gather their wits and prepare for battle while Ghost Rider, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and Captain Marvel are already in action.

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Just as Tony and Cap question who could be powerful enough to kill entities as powerful as the Celestials, a living group of Dark Celestials falls on their feet before them. With nothing left to wait for, Captain America leads the charge and assembles the Avengers!


What Just Happened?

Marvel’s “Fresh Start” kicks off with a brand-new Avengers #1 from Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness. Featuring a return to focus on the “Big Three” consisting of Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America, the creative team hopes to return the Avengers series back to a core lineup that is true to their name while still offering some exciting additions.

The story beginning with a prehistoric Avengers team was quite intriguing and left many fans speculating how the Phoenix’s presence on the team impacts the mutant’s continuity. Despite this, the introduction is an unbelievable team-up that almost makes you wish for a series following their own story. As the narrative begins to introduce the additions to the Avengers like Ghost Rider, She-Hulk, and Captain Marvel, audiences are thrust into a battle that is both falling from the sky and rising from beneath. This creates a duality that can perfectly explore the abilities of this new Avengers team.

Although the first issue doesn’t delve too deep into their actual formation quite yet, seeing Ghost Rider handle the dirty work on the ground while Captain Marvel guides the dead Celestials from the ground hints at a great future to come!

One of the most compelling moments in the issue happens in what turns out to be the most mundane setting of the issue. Inside the bar, Tony, Thor, and Steve discuss their past and what has brought them to this moment. However, in a moment of honesty, the group discusses the past Avengers teams as well. How they once believed times had changed so much they should step aside, and how they know they can’t prepare for everything. They each know that they cannot run from the Avengers though, and they all agree that they need each other now more than ever. This effectively establishes the heart of the Avengers lineup with those three and provides a much-needed moment of emotional release not just for the issue itself, but for the Marvel Universe going forward.

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Despite the attempts to keep its focus on Iron Man, Thor, and Cap, the story does a great job showing just how much their world has changed. While they discuss and plot their next moves as the Celestials begin raining down, there are heroes already stepping up and saving lives, proving their worth. This foreshadows what the “Big Three” hope to accomplish with the Avengers; knowing that times have changed, they can now see who is needed. Unfortunately, the issue doesn’t find quite enough time to explore the narratives of Ghost Rider and She-Hulk as much as the rest, with the later only receiving a page in the story. Although I am sure they will become much more prominent in future issues.

The artistic direction from Ed McGuiness and the rest of the creative team shows a modern aesthetic that respects the history of the team. As the various characters explore surfaces beneath the Earth, on the streets of its cities, and even in space, the creative team captures memorable imagery that accentuates the grand scale of the story unfolding and the spectacle of our newest Avengers.

While the debate rages on regarding whether Marvel is rebooting their titles too often, they are able to kick off their “Fresh Start” initiative with an incredibly powerful and entertaining Avengers #1. It is fun, action-packed, and nostalgic while still looking towards the future. If you have been wary of Marvel’s comics for a while, like many have, Avengers #1 offers a perfect jumping on point for new readers and long-time fans alike.


Rating: 9.2/10

Final Thoughts: Marvel’s flagship comic returns with a new #1 issue that sees Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor finally returning to the forefront of the Avengers team. The story is a sprawling epic with beautiful imagery, but more importantly, it is an homage to what made the Avengers so popular while still focusing on the future of storytelling in the Marvel Universe.


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