Avengers Of The Wastelands #1 Review

by Charles Martin on January 29, 2020

Avengers Of The Wastelands #1 Review
Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Jonas Scharf
Colourist: Neeraj Menon
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

I'm heading into this comic with pretty high expectations. I always felt that the Wastelands setting was ripe for more stories beyond following an aged Logan or Hawkeye or Star-Lord on a post-apocalyptic road trip. And this series is off to a great start at delivering something new and different.

Dwight, whom we first met as a kid playing with the original Ant-Man helmet, has grown up into a man. Dr. Doom has burned down his community and sneered at his attempts to be a hero. So he brings his woes to the doorstep of Bruce Banner Jr. and Dani Cage.

Are a thoughtful young Hulk and a bulletproof woman with a Mjolnir enough to take down Dr. Doom? I'm looking forward to finding out!

Artist Jonas Scharf concentrates his attention on his characters first, and it pays off in a big way. He has no trouble replicating iconic designs; I'm thinking of his solid Dr. Doom when I write that. But he invests Dani and Dwight and Bruce Jr with personality and emotion. It's the perfect treatment for fresh young heroes who are emerging from their forerunners' shadows, and it blows away the potential problem of these characters lacking memorability.

Ed Brisson's script does a lot to bring the characters into focus, too. This is a busy story with a lot of plot development (and, unfortunately, some of it has to be delivered in straight exposition), but there's awesome character work lurking just beneath the surface.

I'm particularly taken with the subtle divide Mr. Brisson creates between Dani and Thor. Like Jason Aaron's Jane Foster edition of Thor, Dani's thoughts and words are altered when she wields Mjolnir. It's more than just getting that cool Asgardian font; Thor and Dani have different opinions on what to do about Dwight's Doom-problem.

Will future issues widen that divide and bring Dani into conflict with her alter ego? It doesn't necessarily have to happen, but Mr. Brisson is laying interesting groundwork if it does.

Colourist Neeraj Menon gets to use a wide-ranging palette while also proving himself adept at the Wastelands' traditional browns and yellows. Night-time scenes allow more variety, as does the greenery of Dani's home. (Turns out, post-apocalyptic agriculture gets a lot easier when you can call thunderstorms on demand!)

The bulk of #1 is devoted to explaining the set-up I've summarized here in more detail and getting the heroes into action with an initial Doom-fight. There's a final piece to the puzzle that's only revealed on the final page, and it's just too spoiler-riffic to discuss here.

But I think I can say it does promise to answer one of the biggest mysteries of the Wastelands in the very near future.

Avengers Of The Wastelands kicks off with a solid blend of set-up, action, and characterization. The Wastelands' "native" heroes are ready to lead, and their story is told with all the skill required to make it engaging. This promises to be an eventful ride, and I don't think I'll regret climbing aboard at the start.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
I said at the start that I was looking forward to a non-road-trip Wastelands story, but the cover for #2 suggests I better buckle up.