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Top 5 Avengers NOW! Titles for New Readers in 2015: Part 3

The countdown to the best Avengers NOW! titles that readers should add to their pull list continues! Part 1 started us off with S.H.I.E.L.D. at no. 5 and Part 2 continued that with Uncanny Avengers at no. 4 and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl at no. 3.  The one caveat so far is that all these titles have yet to show up on shelves. My recommendations were solely based on the strength of the characters involved and their creators’ track records.

In today’s section, which concludes the list, I pick two titles which have been out for a couple of months, so even if you don’t trust me, trust the reviews these two have gotten already. Okay, enough talk, let’s go!

Thor #3 Variant Cover Art by James Harren Credit: Marvel.com
Thor #3
Variant Cover Art by James Harren
Credit: Marvel.com

2. Thor

Thor is now a woman.

But that’s not even the biggest change this title has gone through! The new Thor finds she has to live up to the title of “Goddess of Thunder” and wield the hammer Mjolnir. All this while the male Thor is still a part of the picture! In the aftermath of the crossover “Original Sin”, Thor was unable to pick up the hammer as he had been found unworthy. When Frost Giants began to attack Midgard, an unidentified woman picks it up and becomes the new Thor!

The new volume of Thor is arguably the best jumping on point for both new readers and old. So far, it’s featured her involved in some amazing action sequences with Frost Giants that are wonderfully illustrated by talent artist Russell Dauterman. The first few issues deal with her grappling with her new role as “Goddess of Thunder”.

What’s arguably more compelling, though, is the mystery of her identity. Who is this woman? Yet the mystery makes her more relatable as it’s easier to just focus on her inner thoughts than get distracted by having her be someone we don’t think will make a good Thor. As for readers who still want the male Thor, not to worry, as his storyline will continue to unfold as he handles his new status of being “unworthy”.

Thor #3 went on sale 10th December.

Mighty Avengers #3 Cover art by Luke Ross Credit: Marvel.com
Mighty Avengers #3
Cover art by Luke Ross
Credit: Marvel.com

1. Captain America and the Mighty Avengers

I cannot recommend this book enough.

It features a solid roster of characters, diverse both in ethnicity and gender, yet still lives up to the Avengers name. In fact, one might argue that this team features more familiar Avengers than those in the current Avengers title. Fans of the old-school team (and I’m talking from before Brian Bendis got his hands on them in 2004) would appreciate the more grounded feel of this “Mighty” version, which deals with local issues rather than the universe-changing events that Avengers writer Jonathan Hickman has been dealing with in recent years. Featuring fan favourites like Spider-Man and Luke Cage, yet also showcasing lesser-known characters like Spectrum and White Tiger.

Writer Al Ewing is one of the few writers today that recognise that superhero comics are meant to be a balanced mix of heart-racing action, laugh out loud humour and thought-provoking drama. He brings all these elements into the title’s first issue, and you find yourself re-reading it just to better appreciate the subtle nuances. Artist Luke Ross (Secret Avengers) works well in capturing the new Captain America in flight as well as the grounded drama of character interactions.

The only problem I had with the title was that, it deals with the consequences of a major crossover, AXIS, which has caused personality “inversions” of heroes and villains. For a new reader, or an existing one who is not following the events of AXIS, the characterisation of beloved heroes as hardened, cold and generally unlikable is probably going to take some getting used to. The gamble is that readers will be willing to give these new personalities a chance, especially if a great story comes out of it. Rest assured, though, I’m convinced it’s a temporary arrangement, and that our heroes will be back to normal in no time.

Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #3 went on sale this week, 17th December.

Well, we’ve come to the end of the list, but there have to be some special mentions that didn’t make it to the Top 5! For Asgardian shenanigans, check out Angela: Asgard’s Assassin, out now. For single dad based in Miami shenanigans, there’s January 2015’s Ant-Man title by Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas. And for shenanigans of shenanigans, look no further than March 2015’s Howard the Duck by Sex Criminals co-creator Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones.

Missed the previous sections? Here’s Part 1 and Part 2.

Note: A version of this post was contributed to and will appear in an upcoming edition of the newsletter of Facebook group Singapore Comics Kaki.

Peter Lin

His teenage years spent nursing a giant man-crush on Steve Rogers, the first Captain America, Peter naturally found himself drawn to many other heroes who depicted strong, manly qualities, including the honour-bound warrior Worf, first Klingon in Starfleet, and the muscular rock hard abs of The Thing.

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