How Many Avengers Titles Is Too Many?
Marvel is teasing a new series spinning from the finale of their latest event, Age of Ultron, titled Avengers A.I. This new series and team will be headed up by Hank Pym, and include other scientific characters like The Vision, a reformed Doombot, and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Monica Chang, a character from the Ultimate universe who’s being repurposed for the “regular” Marvel one. With the release of this title, Marvel will now be publishing SIX titles featuring “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”.
Never one to miss out on cashing in when the getting’s good (just look at Marvel Zombies and the seven sequels it spawned), it would be foolish of Marvel to not take the biggest money maker of 2012 and spin it off into a bunch of new directions. But at this point, it’s impossible for people coming in from the movies to pick up an Avengers book and be expected to know what’s going on. With the exception of the adjective less Avengers title, there isn’t an easy explanation for any of the books. New Avengers has a really interesting take, but new fans will have to go all the way back to Marvel’s Civil War event to get the full back-story on the “Illuminati” of Marvel, consisting of Beast, Tony Stark, Dr. Strange, and others. Secret Avengers sounds like a lot of fun as well, and would probably be the third book I’d keep if I were allowed to manage Marvel’s line of Avengers books.
As for the others, I feel like Young Avengers and Avengers Arena are splitting the customer base. The two books features casts of young heroes and are pale imitations of series that were previously canceled (and seem to already be struggling). Avengers Assemble seemed like a good jumping on point for people leaving Avengers last summer, but outside of a handful of issues, that book is unnecessary as well. The new announcement of Avengers A.I. leaves me unmoved, especially when the only two characters I have a fleeting interest in are going to be surrounded by a bunch of new characters that will probably be killed off or forgotten when the series eventually ends.
Perhaps I’m being too hard on A.I. It could be good, and I am basing my feelings on the press release and first images of the book. But as a comic fan on an ever-tightening budget, I question if Marvel ever takes into account the fans that got them to the place they are today. At $4 a pop for a majority of their books, they run the risk of alienating fans not because of story content, but of cost and over flooding the market. Marvel has a huge stable of characters that could all get their own on goings, but instead, they choose to keep adding to the already overflowing IPs that they have. They know they sell, and that’s why they keep doing it. Until fans stop buying all six Avengers titles, it’s not going to end.