Considering how many times The Avengers has been rebooted over the years, any new launch requires a big opening statement, and Jason Aaron certainly supplies it. His run begins with an iteration of the team a million years in the past led by Odin having just killed a Celestial. More to the immediate point, almost all of them have a counterpart superhero in the present, who gather when dead Celestials begin falling to Earth. Each new writer activates the core trio of Captain America, Iron Man and Thor before adding some other regulars and their own personal wild card. In Aaron’s case it’s Ghost Rider, which doesn’t seem an easy fit, but give him a chance, besides which, he’s respectful enough to have Loki being the indirect cause of the Avengers coming together, which ought to please old-timers.

Plus points are definitely Loki, given a fine line in snarky dialogue, which occasionally transfers to Iron Man, and as drawn by Ed McGuinness the Celestials radiate power. Now, that’s all well and good, but beyond the opening sequence set in the past there’s not a great deal to a plot that has Earth subject to the awakening of giant bugs buried beneath the surface since Odin’s day. McGuinness relies on poses and punches, and doesn’t have much time for storytelling. Full figures are rare, and close-ups are common.

Aaron tells the story in the same way, too much explained after the fact rather than seen, including entirely repurposing the Celestials and the Eternals. The secret origin of humanity is a nice touch, and there’s nothing inherently wrong in springing a surprise by revealing a truth that’s actually false, but the scale of that required on behalf of the Celestials is like pressing the delete button on a couple of hundred old stories. Plus, with the bigger picture in mind, was killing the Eternals in 2018 with their movie imminent really a sound proposition? The overall feeling is that the blockbuster isn’t Aaron’s natural territory.

Paco Medina steps in to help out on the art in the final chapters, and modifies his style to fit with what McGuinness is doing, which keeps the art consistent, although some might prefer Medina’s usual more measured art throughout. Sara Pichelli illustrates the prologue, and supplies the best art here, powerful yet clear.

In one sense there’s a clever ending, this involving Loki, but the situation not being resolved and seemingly continuing in World Tour doesn’t bode well for a story that’s already dragging. Depending on your view it’s either better or worse that the ending is actually taken for granted and never presented in World Tour. This is Aaron settling in for a run that in terms of issues only Roy Thomas and Brian Michael Bendis have bettered in the franchise history, and as of writing he’s closing on Thomas’ total. However, Thomas wasn’t inspired at the start either, so let’s hope for better to come.

This is combined with World Tour in hardcover as the first volume of The Avengers by Jason Aaron.