REVIEW: Holy #%@&! Electric Warriors #1 is a good time

Electric Warriors is out 11/14.

By Zack Quaintance — Whoa. This is an unreal book, like a neon fever dream in the head of the world’s foremost DC continuity scholar. Electric Warriors #1 by Steve Orlando and Travel Foreman is, quite simply, unlike any other Big 2 comic in recent memory, so unique is it in concept and tight with execution. We’ll get to both concept and execution in a moment, but let me first note this is a series I unabashedly recommend to all superhero fans, as well as most space opera and sci-fi readers, with extra points for those (like myself) with deep interest in DC continuity.

Okay then, let’s start with the concept: Electric Warriors is wisely set after Jack Kirby’s Great Disaster, a cataclysmic event of global proportions which eradicated civilized society on Earth-AD (according to one DC wiki). Earth-AD is essentially the normal DC Earth we know, with the AD standing for After Disaster, which means that Electric Warriors is set in an alternate DC future, one in which the galaxy is starting to get its sh*t together, presumably en route to more enlightened times that will later be home to The Legion, the United Planets, etc.

In this timeline, Earth is a somewhat late-comer to a burgeoning and (relatively) peaceful galactic order that averts war between major powers by having them all submit one champion (an electric warrior) who does combat powered by seeds that electrify their skills and abilities. All great cosmic powers have one champion, one, except Earth, which riven by tribal divisions insists on having two, one evolved animal and one human. This speaks to some powerful anthropologic notions about our civilization while at the same time extrapolating our long long history to a logical extreme. Essentially, Electric Warriors posits that even after an apocalypse and subsequent enlightened ascent, we still can’t get along, not entirely.

So that’s the concept, and it’s strong. I know the way I’ve explained it might seem convoluted, but upon reading the comic, it’s not at all, which is a credit to the work of Orlando and Foreman, and to the second facet of the book I’d like to discuss, it’s execution. First, Foreman’s artwork is stellar, used here to great effect to differentiate this story from usual DC superhero fare via a futuristic aesthetic, glowing and urgent and sharp. Foreman is as visionary an artist as is found in superhero comics, and he’s in full command of his formidable powers here.

Second, Orlando grounds this story so well in entirely new characters. His creations are dynamic and complex. Orlando is a writer perhaps most associated with revenge, but that signature thematic interest is absent here. Instead, characters are motivated in one case by duty and another by self loathing. Those motivations aren’t dwelled on much, which serves this complex narrative well, instead making brief appearances as catalysts to actions. Add in a major (and thrilling) reveal at the very end, and this is Orlando’s best work all year, perhaps even better than his recent run on Wonder Woman, all of which I liked quite a bit.

While DC fandom has largely focused on forthcoming runs like Grant Morrison and Liam Sharpe’s The Green Lantern, G. Willow Wilson and Cary Nord’s Wonder Woman, and Kelly Sue DeConnick and Robson Rocha’s Aquaman, Electric Warriors has flown under the radar. I have a strong feeling that’s about to change.

Overall: Today is a major day for new comics, but if you take a chance on one new book, make it Electric Warriors. This is part one of a six-part miniseries with vast potential to be something truly special. Fans are going to be talking about this comic tomorrow. 9.5/10

Electric Warriors #1
Writer:
Steve Orlando
Artist: Travel Foreman
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99

For more comic book reviews, check out our review archives.

Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase. He also writes comics and is currently working hard to complete one.

Five Questions With Creators: David Moses LeNoir

By Zack Quaintance — David Moses LeNoir sent us his first comic earlier this year, saying a review would be cool but more than that he just wanted to share it. That, I think, is indicative of a passion for writing and drawing (both of which he does...and does well, too) that also shows in his work. Dave, as you’ll read in a moment, is heavily influenced by Jack Kirby, both in aesthetic and in the sort of larger than life (yet grounded in dynamics) stories he likes to tell.

The best way to get to know him (in addition to the questions below) is probably to read his comic, which is available here (and highly recommended). You can also find him on Twitter @MosesLeNoir and his ongoing comic @GJSwmlf. It’s called Galactic Junk Squad (Well, More Like Family), described by its Twitter page as a cosmic cacophony about a family of space beings who run an intergalactic junkyard. The book is written and drawn by LeNoir, with lettering by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. Think Jack Kirby writing/drawing a dysfunctional family sitcom and you’ll have a decent idea of what to expect.

The cover for issue #1.

Anyway, enough! Onward to the five questions…

Q: I think the phrase I see most often associated with Galactic Junk Squad (Well, More Like Family) is Kirby-esque…what kind of relationship do you have with Jack Kirby’s work?

A: For me, Kirby attains a level of dynamic energy and has a connection to the marrow of life that is unmatched in comics. I haven’t been able to shake the purity of his creative expression. His imagination was unhinged from limitation, and he used it in service to humanity - to pursue tough questions. Kirby is equal parts artist, philosopher, and prophet. For example, he did an interview alongside Carmine Infantino where he reveals the underpinnings of the Fourth World, which dealt with the effects of technology on humanity; he was both prescient and ambivalent as a futurist. But his exploration of technology always came back to his philosophical center: the struggles and potential of the human spirit. I think that’s the thing for me: wherever Jack goes he pushes the boundaries, but the core is always humanity.

Q: So then, can you narrow it down to a top 5 of favorite Kirby creations?

A: That’s a tough one! Many people think Jack needed editing, but I disagree. Most of my favorite stuff from him was what he wrote for himself. Top of the list has got to be Forever People, simply for the subjects he tackled: fascism, the promises and pitfalls of youth, and the practical failure of heroism that is, somehow, ultimately hopeful. It’s extremely relevant today. Close behind that is the rest of the Fourth World, which was massive in scope, but dealt with mundane circumstances; like, here are gods that have to disguise themselves and deal with bureaucracy or bullets or Darkseid - the embodiment of evil - chilling on their couch! Next, 2001: A Space Odyssey, mostly because of the beautiful cosmic absurdity. I feel like he was the most unfiltered in that series. It was pure, high-concept Kirby philosophy. And Mike Royer, who’s my favorite inker for Jack, does some truly beautiful work there. Next, it’s mid-to-late era Fantastic Four. Sinnott’s inks were incredible, and Lee did great work interpreting Jack’s story sense - not to mention, the FF are the foundation for the Marvel Universe. Then, I think, everything Black Panther that he did, because Jack wanted to push the conversation forward. He knew he was writing mostly for kids, so he built in assumptions that countered the general American narrative about race. The period of his work between 1967-1976 was where I think he hit his strongest stride.

Q: I know you mentioned that this was your first comic. Can you talk about where the idea for this book came from and how it developed into a fully-formed comic?

A: Before this, I wrote a full five-issue arc of a comic in an entirely different style, and I was planning on farming out the art duties. My wife kept prodding me to do the art, but I didn’t feel ready. Then one day we were driving out of town when suddenly this thought poked into my head: “hillbilly space family that runs a junkyard in space,” and for the rest of the night I couldn’t stop thinking about it. This was the thing I knew I wanted to draw, and I was going to pack as much Kirby crackle and reflective metal into it as I could! So I took that initial idea and started teasing it out into a script. It became a cute little one-shot with a happily-ever-after ending. But in the process of drawing it, I thought, what if it didn’t end there? It became a sandbox for me, where I could explore any and all ideas that I have. So more characters, like The Catastrophe Twins, started surfacing. More and more of the mythos of this world developed, and even though it became decidedly less “hillbilly” than the original idea, I wanted to try and retain a humorous element.

Q: The banter in this book strikes me as being as witty as a well-done sitcom. What are some of your favorite TV family comedies?

A: Thank you! That’s nice to hear because I feel like I’m not particularly good at banter. Brooklyn 99 is a modern classic. I feel like each show has at least one big laugh. Definitely the first three seasons of Arrested Development - I am in awe at what Mitch Hurwitz was able to do with thirty plot threads and subtlety. The IT Crowd is another one. Also, reaching way back, the Dick Van Dyke Show, which my wife and I have watched through three times.

David Moses LeNoir, as drawn by his 3-year-old daughter.

Q: Not to be too intrusive, but has your own family read your work, and if so, has there been any feedback?

A: Yes! Good feedback, actually! We’re all very supportive of each other’s creative endeavors. All of the family that has read it has been encouraging. Even if comics may not be their “thing,” they still support it. I haven’t gotten, “Hey, is that supposed to be about me??” Really, I have not been writing it in a way where I’m directly referencing things that have actually happened, or where characters are based on my family members. If anything, the Galactic Junk Squad (Well, More Like Family) represents different sides of myself, each vying for dominance - or at least a modicum of control - and I say, “Let’s see what happens when it all falls apart.” I want to make it as human and relatable as I can, but set it against a crazy cosmic backdrop.

+1: Funniest family drama story you’re able/willing to share…

A: When I was probably two or three, my brother told my mom that he wanted a TV for his room for Christmas. This was back in the 80’s when there was just one TV in most homes. My mom said, “Get realistic,” and I said, “Yeah, get real lipstick!

Check out our other Five Questions with Creators pieces and other Comics Lists here!

Zack Quaintance is a journalist who also writes fiction and makes comics. Find him on Twitter at @zackquaintance. He lives in Sacramento, California.

Fantastic Four #1 (1961) and the Birth of the Marvel Universe

Fantastic Four #1 (1961) is universally recognized as a landmark comic and, in many ways, the start of the Marvel Universe.

By Theron Couch — The Fantastic Four returned to comics this week for the first time in years, following the 2015 event Secret Wars, which essentially ended with Reed and Sue Richards, as well as their children, wandering off the rebuild the multiverse. Without an ongoing title staring Marvel’s First Family, comics just haven’t felt the same. One could even argue there would be no Marvel Universe without The Fantastic Four, the first of many memorable characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.  

With all that in mind, it’s worth checking out the original Fantastic Four #1 from 1961, taking a closer look at how Lee and Kirby did it the first time.

Fantastic Four #1 (1961): The Story

Fantastic Four #1 opens with a call to action: Mr. Fantastic has sent the signal for the Fantastic Four to assemble. Sue, Ben, and Johnny each abandon what they’re doing and race back to headquarters. As the team arrives, the story flashes back to their origin, wherein an ambitious Reed Richards wants to initiate a mission to space. To do so, the foursome sneak aboard a rocket and launch. This trip has unintended consequences, with cosmic rays granting different powers to each of them. Realizing that they are more effective as a team than they are apart, they return to Earth and become The Fantastic Four, using their powers in tandem to benefit mankind.

Once the flashback has ended, the team is off to Monster Isle, where they believe someone is causing cave-ins across the world. This someone is revealed to be the Mole Man, who intends to launch his monsters all over the planet. Fortunately, The Fantastic Four are able to seal the Mole Man away forever, ending his threat.

Fantastic Four #1 (1961): The Art

Kirby’s art in Fantastic Four #1 deserves much praise, which is unsurprising given that this is The King, Jack Kirby. His work here delivers a dynamic opening sequence that showcases the powers of all four main characters. He packs a great deal of visual information on every page with layouts that often exceed six panels. What always strikes me about Kirby’s art—and which is on display in full here—is his ability to convey characters’ emotions through facial expressions. Doing so continues to elude many comic artists even today, and Kirby—whether it is images of the main characters or random soldiers never to be seen again—knocks this trick business out of the park in every panel.

Fantastic Four #1 (1961): The Writing

Writing wise, Fantastic Four #1 is every bit a story from a bygone era. Lee pens an origin for a four-person team as well as an adventure that begins and concludes in the space of one issue, rather than standing as the first part of an arc designed to fill a trade paperback. Fantastic Four #1 has much in common with other Marvel comics of its time, wherein Stan Lee created memorable characters starring in plots that are almost afterthoughts. Indeed, the final battle with the Mole Man is handled in one page and conveyed almost entirely through narration, rather than stunning visuals or complex dialogue. This is a comic book that definitely tells rather than shows. Despite these quaint characteristics, however, Lee displays surprising sophistication in how he tells the story.

The pages in Fantastic Four (1961) all feature more than 9 panels, a stark contrast to today's often less-dense superhero comics.

Fantastic Four #1 begins, as I noted at the start, in media res with Mr. Fantastic sending out a call for the whole Fantastic Four to assemble. Brief vignettes show each character making their way to headquarters; en route they are put in positions to showcase their powers for the reader. Once the team has assembled, but before the crisis is revealed, the story flashes back to the team’s origin, which cements the relationships between characters and reveals their motives while simultaneously building suspense for whatever threat forced the team to be called together. Following the origin story, the team goes on its mission to Monster Isle only to be split up, which allows for the story to be intercut, preserving the suspense for as long as possible before revealing the Mole Man’s origin and, finally, taking readers through the final battle.

Overall, Fantastic Four #1 is undoubtedly a product of its time. It’s almost hard to take seriously a comic book that features Ben Grimm wearing a rain slicker to a place called Monster Isle, subsequently taking the rain slicker off before fighting a monster, and then putting it back on until he comes upon the next monster. Yet, the way its plot unfolds is also without question an influence on later comics that routinely use time—including flashbacks and intercuts—to tell stories, a technique that was novel back when this issue was first published. The five pages devoted to the team’s origin could almost have been left out, given the action-packed opening Lee and Kirby delivered. In spite of all that, this is just a well-designed comic book, easily one of the best I’ve read from the period, and one that I’d put up against many modern origin issues.

Theron Couch is a writer, blogger, and comic book reviewer. His first novel, The Loyalty of Pawns, is available on Amazon. You can also follow him on Twitter at @theroncouch.

SDCC 2018’s 10 Coolest Comic Announcements

By Zack Quaintance — Yes, San Diego Comic Con is more about movies and TV than it is about comics, but! That doesn’t mean there aren’t still some pretty cool comic announcements happening the week of/during the con (some of which I got to be in the room for!). These are, of course, announcements about real printed comics, dozens of which are somehow written and drawn and shipped to small businesses across the country each week (which is all pretty crazy if you think about 2018 and the media landscape long enough).

With that in mind, we’d like to take a quick look today at 10 (plus one extra) of the coolest comic announcements to come out of this year’s con, ranked below in a fairly random order...let’s do it!

10 Coolest Comic Announcements

Electric Warriors Mini Series by Steve Orlando and Travel Foreman
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: November 2018
More Info: Diplomacy and Death via the Electric Warriors
Why It’s Cool: DC has essentially given Steve Orlando—one of its best writers when it comes to capturing the beauty to be found in obscure bits of continuity—and Travel Foreman—a visionary comic artist if ever there was one—a fairly-open canvas to do with what they will. This canvas—Jack Kirby’s Great Disaster future—is inherently Kirby-esque (seeing as he created it) and now we’ll get what is likely to be complex and surprising take on it spread through six issues. Sign me up.  

A potentially Dune-esque high-concept sci-fi story heavy with 2018 sensibilities by G. Willow Wilson and Christian Ward.

Invisible Kingdom by G. Willow Wilson and Christian Ward
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics and Berger Books
Release Date: March 2019
More Info: G. Willow Wilson to Write for Berger Books
Why It’s Cool: Speaking of visionary science fiction, have you seen the cover for G. Willow Wilson’s forthcoming Berger Books comic, Invisible Kingdom? Phew. The art is something, and the solicit evokes Dune-esque ideas of exploring the intersection of religion and commerce (presumably without all the stuff about how “spices” can expand one’s mind). Wilson is a thoughtful and attentive writer, and a take like this edited by former-Vertigo heyday editor Karen Berger is very cool indeed.

X-Men Black
Publisher: Marvel
Release Date: October 2018
More Info: News from Marvel's X-Men Panel
Why It’s Cool: The X-Offices have tapped a super eclectic bunch of writers to do X-Men Black, a weekly series this October in which each issue centers on a different villain. It’s a pretty cool move to have Chris Claremont writing about Magneto one week, noted Maggott aficionado Leah Williams doing Emma Frost the next, and Scott Aukerman (Hot Soccermom) of Comedy Bang Bang on Mojo the next. Pretty cool indeed, especially as it seems to be leading a revival of Uncanny X-Men in November…

Gail Simone Overseeing Lion Forge’s Catalyst Prime
Publisher: Lion Forge
Release Date: Simone seems to be hard at work on this already
More Info: Gail Simone Discusses Being Named Architect of Catalyst Prime
Why It’s Cool: Speaking of cool oversight gigs, how about Gail Simone becoming the architect of Lion Forge’s still-nascent Catalyst Prime Universe? Cards on the table, I’d been contemplating jumping off this line after the former architect, Joseph Illidge, left for Valiant earlier this year, but now with Simone at the wheel I’ve scratched those plans and re-upped my excitement for this concept.

Donny Cates ‘Showrunning’ a Marvel Knights Commemoration
Publisher:
Marvel
Release Date: November
More Info: Donny Cates and Team to Commemorate Marvel Knights’ 20th Anniversary
Why It’s Cool: Speaking yet again (last time, I promise) about cool oversight gigs, Marvel announced that big ideas/bigger personality writer Donny Cates would be “showrunning” an event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of its classic (for my generation, anyway) line of Marvel Knights properties, which back in the day told prestige TV-esque stories about characters like Daredevil, Moon Knight, and Black Panther. Joined in this effort will be an exciting new guard of Marvel writers that includes Matthew Rosenberg, Tini Howard, and Vita Ayala. Cool!

The Laphams doing ‘The Lodger’ for IDW’s Black Crown
Publisher: Black Crown via IDW
Release Date: October
More Info: Shelly Bond Announces Laphams Book on Black Crown
Why It’s Cool: From its inception, Shelly Bond’s Black Crown imprint at IDW (which has an aesthetic I describe as slightly drunk at a DIY punk rock show) has seemed to promise edgy and interesting comics, and the first batch was, indeed, strong. The second batch, however, is shaping up to fully capture Bond’s vision, starting with Euthanuats and continuing now with The Lodger, which is from the Laphams, a husband and wife duo behind the modern noir classic comic Stray Bullets.

Rush album cover artists are burning with jealousy.

Green Lantern by Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: November
More Info: Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp to Take Over Green Lantern
Why It’s Cool: It’s Grant Morrison writing a cosmic book in the DC Universe, which alone would be cool enough to make this list, but, hey, it’s also Liam Sharpe on art! And his early work looks like an insane prog rock album cover. This, friends, is going to be epic.

Aquaman by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Robson Rocha
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: TBD (I think? Info seemed scarce on when…)
More Info: DeConnick and Rocha Take Over Aquaman
Why It’s Cool: I couldn't find a release date, but Kelly Sue DeConnick writing Aquaman in time for the character's spotlight via a new movie is super cool. DeConnick is an exciting and polished comic writer, perfect for pushing Arthur in new directions after Dan Abnett’s safe and slow-moving take on the character.

Vision by Chelsea Cain, Marc Mohan, and Aud Koch
Publisher: Marvel
Release Date: November
More Info: Marvel’s Mic Drop Moment at SDCC
Why It’s Cool: Chelsea Cain is coming back to Marvel, in spite of a harassment campaign that resulted from a character wearing a pro-feminism t-shirt in a book about a strong female secret agent. Groan. But it’s good to see Cain back! Her last book for Marvel, Mockingbird, was a complex puzzle box of a story about Bobbi Morse, a.k.a. Mockingbird, one that incorporated interesting character and relationship developments for its lead. Tom King’s Vision is an impossible act to follow, but it will be cool to see Cain, Marc Mohan, and Aud Koch tell their own story with everyone’s favorite Marvel android.

Here's hoping we enjoy this book as much as the Shazam family is enjoying this roller coaster.

Shazam! by Geoff Johns and Dale Eaglesham
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: November
More Info: Shazam Comic Announced by Geoff Johns
Why It’s Cool: Geoff Johns’ take on Shazam in the New 52 might have been a bit polarizing (I liked it well enough), but circumstances now seem right for him to tell a very cool Shazam story. He’s returning to writing as a main focus and is presumably fired up to do so. Plus, holy cow of all the new art dropped at SDCC, I think Dale Eaglesham’s Shazam piece is my favorite.

Plus One More

Mars Attacks! by Kyle Starks & Chris Schweizer
Publisher: Dynamite
Release Date: October 2018
More Info: Dynamite Relaunches Mars Attacks
Why It’s Cool: Kyle Starks, whose Rock Candy Mountain is quite possibly the funniest comic ever, is now collaborating with Chris Schweizer on a Mars Attacks story. Yes, please.

Zack Quaintance is a journalist who also writes fiction and makes comics. Find him on Twitter at @zackquaintance. He lives in Sacramento, California.

Top 5 Avengers Eras: A Look at Avengers Teams of the Past

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By Alex Wedderien The Avengers may be a massive name in comics and entertainment now, but that wasn’t always the case. Created in the early ‘60s as a way to fill a slot left by a late issue of Daredevil, The Avengers are a product of Stan Lee smashing together some of Marvel’s most popular heroes to form the company’s first super team. From those humble beginnings, the team grew from plucky upstarts to comic book icons.  

Now the basis for a multi-billion dollar movie franchise and a major part of Marvel’s most-recent publishing initiative under comic scribe Jason Aaron, The Avengers look to be in good hands for years to come.

In looking ahead, though, it’s important to also remember comics are a unique medium, and along with their headstrong march into the future, they always keep an eye on the past. With that bright future for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in mind, I'm taking a look today at The Avengers of the past, specifically at the best lineups of years gone by. These are the five bestin my humble opinion of course.

5. The Late '80s Avengers

By the late 80s, The Avengers team was in flux. Taking over for a beloved run which featured what many people feel is the definitive Avengers lineup, Roger Stern and John Buscema decided to mix in some lesser-known heroes to give their book a new dynamic.

Boasting a lineup that featured Monica Rambeau, Black Knight, Dr. Druid, and Namor among the likes of veteran Avengers Captain America and Thor, the run also includes classic storylines like Avengers Under Siege, which sees a Helmut Zemo-led Masters of Evil destroy Avengers Mansion.

4. The West Coast Avengers

If Avengers is the cooler older brother, West Coast Avengers was definitely the scrappier younger brother. Born in the early ‘80s, West Coast Avengers became the first ever spinoff of The Avengers, as well as an answer to the question, Why are all superheroes in New York City?

Based in Los Angeles and featuring a unique roster, the West Coast team was lead by Hawkeye and comprised of Wonder Man, Tigra, Mockingbird, Jim Rhodes’ Iron Man, and eventually even Moon Knight. West Coast Avengers served as a breath of fresh air alongside an Avengers lineup that had remained pretty consistent for the past decade, but by no means were they an inferior version of the main team.

Throughout their 10-year run, the West Coast team battled important Avengers foes like Ultron before it was eventually folded back into the main lineup.  

3. The Late '60s/Early '70s Avengers

Being the follow-up to a beloved debut run can be daunting, but when the duo you’re following is Jack Kirby and Stan Lee it might as well be an impossible task. That’s just what Roy Thomas, Barry Windsor-Smith, and Sal and John Buscema walked into with their late ‘60s/early ‘70s run on Avengers.

When it was all said and done, however, they would create one of the best Avengers eras of all-time, their greatest villain in Ultron, iconic stories like The Kree/Skrull War and the debut of one of the team's most beloved heroes, the android Vision.

Along the way Thomas and crew would add a returning Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye, as well as the debuts of Hercules, Vision, and Black Panther to the team, leading the small core of heroes to some of their most classic storylines.

2. Captain America Returns

It was clear in the first three issues of The Avengers that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes would need a leader to rally its members. More of a ragtag group than an inspirational team of heroes, the original Avengers were a loose alliance who seemed like they could turn on each other at a moment's notice.   

That all changed with the discovery of the long frozen Captain America, who would shape not only the history of The Avengers, but superhero comics themselves. Almost immediately the team became a unified force under Cap’s tutelage and would go on to become the juggernaut it is today. Simply put, it all started here.

1. New Avengers Vol. 1

New Avengers came directly after the disbandment of the original team in Avengers: Disassembled, and it explored the idea of having a group of characters who had largely never been Avengers previously. Fan Favorites like Spider-Man, Wolverine, Daredevil, Iron First, and Ms. Marvel bolstered the popular lineup that quickly became known for its strong characters and frenetic action.   

Bringing the team back to the forefront in a big way after The Avengers had slipped out of mainstream comics consciousness, New Avengers was the start of The Avengers renaissance that continues to this day.

Alex Wedderien is a writer and pop culture journalist. Find him on Twitter @criticismandwit.