It’s been a while since the comics biz had had a good x-over. In the 90s we couldn’t get enough of them. Batman teamed up with everyone. Spider-Man teamed up with everyone. Punisher and Archie teamed up with each other.
Now the concept is back. In grand fashion. Two teams from Marvel and two teams from Top Cow in the same book is a great way to start. Of course, Top Cow artists have been doing cover and interior work for the House of Ideas recently, so this is no big stretch. Fusion debuts spectacularly, with plenty of cool costumes and powers to please any fan of superheroes. This issue primarily focuses on the Mighty Avengers and Ripclaw, but with two more issues to come, the balance should be restored.
It begins with a lone man named Ellis (from Hunter-Killer) sitting at the ancestral home of Ripclaw (from Cyberforce) before taking us to the Quinjet where we meet the Mighty Avengers, who in this time frame, have only been together for a week. Setting this between Civil War and Dark Reign was a smart move on the part of frequent writing partners Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. Out of the four teams in this series, The Avengers have the most complicated recent history. They wisely steer away from assuming readers are familiar with the happenings of this assortment of characters, and the two page intro for each costumed character is a welcome aid.
In the Quinjet, where the word “celebritard” is introduced, Wonder Man, Ms. Marvel, Wasp and Black Widow of the Mighty Avengers get attacked by a mad Ripclaw before leading them to an investigation focused on the who and why.
Not much happens in this issue, but it’s impressive that for a series that will contain over 20 characters, this first ish isn’t complicated or overbearing. Abnett and Lanning keep things simple. After the fight with Ripclaw, the Thunderbolts watch the aftermath from a distance, before attacking Ripclaw after another Hulk-out. Then the Mighty Avengers venture to a lighthouse that isn’t what it appears to be before seeing Ripclaw again. I can only assume that there’s more than one crazy Ripclaw out there, due to the absence of time and place transitions, and I guess the Hunter/Killer crew is involved in that.
As is to be expected, the fighting begins right away as the heroes – or at least Ripclaw, isn’t his usual self. Perhaps the two of the teams will join up and fight the other two, or all four teams will become allies and take the battle to a new enemy.
The book looks suitably fast paced and daring. Tyler Kirkham’s style may have early “Image house style” written all over it, but it works, and the use of three different inkers doesn’t show. There’s also no desperate attempt at trying to explain away how these teams meet through a parallel universe or some such, so ths story can focus on lots more pummelling. For fans of any of these teams, or those who know none of them, this superhero smorgasbord is a good entry into two vibrant companies properties.
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