Earth’s Mightiest Heroes take a hard-boiled —but stylish!— turn into the noir-inspired detective genre Avengers Inc. #1.

With a team as widely proliferated as the Avengers, it’s important for any spinoff of the team to find a niche that makes them stand out from the rest. In Avengers Inc. #1, writer Al Ewing and artist Leonard Kirk send Janet Van Dyne –the original Wasp— and others into the detective genre, where their usual bombast just won’t work for the job at hand. These sleuthing Avengers need to be lowkey and discrete to solve a murder… and perhaps most importantly, look good doing it.

Leave it to Ewing (newly of the similarly elevated Immortal Thor) to zig where others zag, offering up yet another comparatively high concept series with classic characters. In Avengers Inc. #1, Janet discovers that a supervillain she feels responsible for incarcerating has been murdered in prison, and the dominoes only start falling from there, leading her to decide she needs to form a new team to get to the bottom of things. Making matters more complicated is the fact that the deceased villain not only comes back from the dead, but identifies himself as one “Victor Strange” — the very same human alias used by Vision. What does it all mean? Who knows! 

Even though I personally wasn’t as enamored by this first issue as I would have liked to be based on the premise, there’s no denying that Ewing is a master of his craft, always finding interesting new angles to look at long-established characters. The closest Avengers thing I could compare this to in tone is the original run of Secret Avengers, but with a dash more Alias as far as the detective angle is concerned. (Speaking of which: a Jessica Jones guest appearance has to be inevitable here, right?)

Avengers Inc. #1 is a very dense issue that throws a lot of information at you without much explanation –such as Luke Cage’s recent election as mayor of New York City, which happens in Devil’s Reign— but if you’re onboard with the concept here, you probably already expect that from Ewing. Leonard Kirk’s art also reflects the muted vibe of the action by not calling too much attention to itself, if slightly less interesting than it could have been. Perhaps future issues will deliver on the strong premise here a bit more, but Avengers Inc. #1 has potential all the same.











  • Writer: Al Ewing
  • Artist: Leonard Kirk
  • Color Artist: Alex Sinclair
  • Letterer: VC's Cory Petit
  • Cover Artist: Daniel Acuña

Credits (cont)

  • Editor: Tom Brevoort
  • Publisher: Marvel Entertainment
Nico Sprezzatura
Nico Frank Sprezzatura, middle name optional. 24. Schrödinger's writer.

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