AIM used to be a rather evil bunch of mad scientists. These days, they’re still a bunch of mad scientists but a whole lot less evil. Which is a good thing, because SHIELD really needs to get back to the days when they had all those James Bond-like Q-sytle super-gadgets. Naturally, to help matters, they’re also the brains behind the latest super-team, the U.S.Avengers. Because, when a cult of religious zealots who look like Star Wars Royal Guards attack, who are you going to call?
Led by Citizen V, they leap into action: Iron Patriot, who refuses to have lethal weapons built into the Stark-inspired armoured suit; Enigma, whose ability to phase through solid objects makes her hard to get to grips with; Cannonball, a former X-Man, and Squirrel Girl, who truly is unbeatable since she has the powers of both squirrel and girl; 20XX’s Captain America, star-spangled hero from an alternate future; and Red Hulk, a keen military tactician and soldier who has the abilities of the Hulk for one hour every 36 hours. But is this new team ready to handle the $kullocracy?
As first issues go, U.S.Avengers #1 does a fine job of establishing the characters and situation via a series of piece-to-camera scenes, in an in-house promotional video for SHIELD to help the intelligence community accept the new attitude of AIM. It’s a smart storytelling device, and while not everything is explained for newcomers it should help readers understand exactly what’s happening with these characters. Sadly the obligatory action sequence though feels a little disjointed and the villains of this issue come across as pointless cannon fodder, and the helicarrier/volcano hybrid ship seems to be unnecessarily goofy.
There’s lots of potential here, and the assortment of characters is reminiscent of Exiles or Runaways, allowing for fun, excitement and hard-hitting drama. Unfortunately, that’s also one of the problems here, because it isn’t made clear what the actual tone of this series is. It seems lighthearted, which is always welcome, but there’s a strangely uneven tone to it.
Given the shake-ups in recent Marvel history, it really doesn’t seem like the right time to be adding yet another team to the mix. However, that isn’t a fault of this book itself, and, hopefully, this series will find its footing fast. If it does, then this could be Marvel’s next big sleeper hit series.