Comic books: Living in an 'Avengers World'

  • Article by: ANDREW A. SMITH , Scripps Howard News Service
  • Updated: December 12, 2013 - 1:39 PM

It’s an Avengers World, and we’re just living in it. Literally. That’s not just because “The Avengers” movie made a bazillion dollars (although it did). Or because the number of Avengers titles at Marvel Comics have been expanding (although they have).

It’s because in those comics, the Avengers have declared Earth an “Avengers World,” a term that has a specific meaning after recent events in a mega-story called “Infinity,” which had its own miniseries and affected the major Avengers titles. And to underscore that point, “Avengers World” the series launches with a first issue Jan. 8, with a second issue arriving later in the month.

Here’s the deal: In “Infinity,” the Avengers showed their chops to the various galactic powers in a big-deal fight against a threat called the Builders. In the process, they placed various planets under the team’s protection.

“We saw a number of Avengers Worlds during ‘Infinity’,” said longtime Avengers editor Tom Brevoort in an e-mail interview, “so it’s possible that we’ll revisit them at some point. However, the action in ‘Avengers World’ will primarily center around Earth, though all across the globe.”

But as much as the concept arose organically, it will also serve as a release valve for the writer of the franchise’s two main titles, “Avengers” and “New Avengers.” Jonathan Hickman, known for his intricate, big-concept stories, has been juggling a cast of more than 18 Avengers in those two titles, spread across the galaxy.

“The idea really originated with ‘Infinity,’ and the toll that producing that series took on Jonathan,” Brevoort said. “He was already having to produce more scripts than he ever had before just to keep up with ‘Avengers’ twice a month and ‘New Avengers,’ so adding in ‘Infinity’ atop that crushed him. Consequently, for a period of time after ‘Infinity,’ we’re going to be slowing down our release schedule on ‘Avengers’ to only one issue per month for awhile, until Jonathan can catch his breath.”

However, as the expression goes, the show must go on.

“In order for this to not derail our overall scheduling plans, and because the combination had worked out very effectively on ‘Avengers’,” Brevoort continued, “the idea came up of launching a second title, ‘Avengers World,’ that Jonathan could oversee with Nick Spencer, and that would still allow us to release the same amount of ‘Avengers’ as we had been. So the whole thing has been a new adaptation to the ongoing ‘Avengers’ plan to take into account conditions on the ground — and the series has become much more heavily Nick’s as we’ve moved into it. He’s really the primary creator on this book from a writing standpoint.”

That’s a whole lot of editor-speak, but when you translate it, “Avengers World” will still be mostly a Hickman title. And it will give greater screen time to some newer Avengers that Hickman has added to the team that haven’t had a chance to shine yet. Instead of Captain America, Thor and Iron Man on center stage, we’re likely to see a lot of Cannonball, Hyperion, Shang-Chi, Smasher, Starbrand and Sunspot.

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