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Music for Swingin’ Muggles: Graeme looks at some Avengers-related books from 7/18

Graeme McMillan

This weekend, I am a Harry Potter widower. The book arrived via UPS this morning at 9am (in a box that warned muggles not to open it until July 21st), and Kate’s been reading it silently ever since. Occasionally, she sighs or pauses to tell me that “Voldermort’s a bad dude,” but for the most part, I think this weekend’s going to be all Potter all the time for her. Me, I have haircuts and laundry and writing to do. And reviews!

AVENGERS CLASSIC #2: Man, Art Adams can do some nice covers. That’s really the best part of this otherwise Eh issue; the early Avengers issues by Lee and Kirby really didn’t do anything for me – I didn’t start enjoying the book until Roy Thomas came on, to be honest – and the new back-up story by Dwayne McDuffie and Mike Oeming is light and nothing we haven’t seen before. As much as the Avengers may be Marvel’s most popular franchise right now, it’s books like this that’ll change that sooner rather than later…

AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #4: I get that this is the militaristic New Mutants of the Avengers line, but it’s still not really created enough of an identity for itself, nor a reason for it to have been upgraded from the miniseries status it was originally given. This World War Hulk crossover illustrates that point; the story in this issue could’ve been told using any rookie superheroes, and isn’t anything new – with the exception of a subtle “Iron Man’s anti-Hulk plan would’ve worked if it wasn’t for those pesky kids” subplot – nor really anything interesting. Eh, again.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #28: He’s still dead, and Brubaker’s continuing to keep the book more alive than it’s been for years because of it. Unlike the last few issues, though, this feels more like it’s playing for time – Obviously, events are building to something big very soon, but this issue seemed more like the reaffirming what you already know calm before whatever storm’s about to hit. That said, we saw Nick Fury, which surprised me; I really expected Fury to end up returning as part of a big reveal in New Avengers or something. Good, but part of that may be because of the expectation of what’s to come.

THE ORDER #1: Ian Brill and I were talking about this the other night; I was pretty disappointed in this Eh opener of Matt Fraction’s new series, and I think a large part of that comes down to the lack of the distinctive skewed perspective that Fraction’s brought to his Punisher and Iron Fist books (as well as his creator-owned stuff, obviously); this book feels much more generic than Fraction’s other superhero work, and that wasn’t what I expecting, so – I told Ian – I felt let down; with the exception of Henry, the narrator of the issue, everyone else seemed cookie-cutter and rather uninteresting to me (Yes, I get that each issue will probably focus on a different member of the team, but I’m just going on the first issue here…). Ian pointed out that may have been intentional, considering the theme of the book is the interchangability of the members of the team (And also, he added sarcastically, they’re not completely interchangable – “One of them’s in a wheelchair!”). And that’s a possibility, I guess, but doesn’t having your characters be interchangable go against any dramatic tension of the fear of losing any of them at the moment’s notice? If you don’t have empathy with someone, surely there’s no reason to care about their being in the book or not? Maybe it’s Barry Kitson’s art, which is in some respects always good, and in others, always kind of unexciting… Either way, not the runaway success I’d been hoping for, but faith in Fraction will see me picking up the next issue anyway… And isn’t it random coincidence that Diana, Jog and I all end up reviewing the same book on the same day…?

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