Jeff Parker is a writer who understands that comics should be fun for everyone. Parker’s titles, from The Age of the Sentry to Thunderbolts and even his new run on the DC Digital First series BATMAN 66, based on the campy Batman TV show with Adam West, all exhibit his amazing skill for naturally making comics that are fun to read no matter what age group you’re in. His Marvel Adventures: The Avengers is no exception.
The team boasts a diverse lineup of all stars — including Captain America, Storm, Hulk, Spider-man, Giant-Girl (Janet Van Dyne, commonly known as the Wasp), Iron Man and Wolverine — and they all work together well. The characters begin on solid footing so that the book feels like a mainstream Avengers title, except they face less drastic consequences when things go awry. Captain America functions as the leader, but when he gets kidnapped, nobody questions Storm taking over. And having Storm in the book is excellent. Giant-Girl, untethered from the dangers of continuity (and her marriage) gets to have fun in the book.
Fun is always on the menu here, and the jokes come fast.
During the run, The Avengers pick up a new rogues gallery in the Masters of Evil consisting of The Abomination, The Leader, Baron Zemo and finally Ultron. Honestly Jeff Parker’s version of Ultron is a fantastic foil for the other villains. Ultron being the cold-thinking robot he is, gets undone again and again by the posturing Zemo in a way that feels natural and realistic. Plus, Ultron literally has a diverse army of different robots with Ultron faces that just make me smile. While they may be Masters of Evil, they never feel overly menacing or dark, making it an appropriately light book.
The art is equally fantastic. Manuel Garcia illustrates the books with Scott Koblish inking. Garcia does a great job non-sexualizing the female characters. I bring this up because I continued reading past the first art team and the next artist made Storm and Giant-Woman less kid-friendly. Garcia lacks distinction, but for an all-ages title, the art is beautiful in its simplicity and its ability to support the story. There weren’t expressions that took me out of the moment, and the art didn’t seem too dark and gritty like some adult titles. It was … fun.
The first run, which is collected in Volume 1, only features four issues, and I’d recommend skipping the writer for Volume 2, because where Parker does excellent stand-alone issues that still work as serialized pieces, the next writer doesn’t work. The writing loses the joy and things get messy. Luckily Parker returns after, sans Garcia and Koblish, but with equally talented artists. Parker brings back the fun in issue nine by turning the entire team into MODOCs (the Computing instead of Killing version of MODOK).
Marvel Adventures: Avengers by Jeff Parker, Manuel Garcia and Scott Koblish is a home run of humor, action and fun and I highly recommend it. The series is available digitally on Marvel Unlimited and through Amazon.