That Geoff Johns had a brief spell writing The Avengers now seems almost incomprehensible given his later long association with DC, but when Kurt Busiek signed off with The Kang Dynasty, Johns wrote what’s been collected into four paperbacks, or two Complete Collections. World Trust begins that run.

Johns immediately makes a statement via returning the Black Panther, the Falcon and the Wasp to promote greater diversity among the Avengers, and another priority from the start is to have two Avengers that just don’t get on. That it’s Ant-Man and Jack of Hearts, neither essential to the team as far as the readership is concerned, nor headliners, enabling Johns to take that plot where he likes. To further add to the internal conflict, he also returns Nam0r, the Sub-Mariner. By the end of the opening chapter the Avengers have been asked by the United Nations to lead the world. This is because almost every capital city has disappeared.

The title story is drawn by Kieron Dwyer, and his version of the Avengers is unimaginative. It’s the characters we know, but stiffly posed and lacking visual distinction. It’s also strange to see Rick Remender inking Dwyer’s pencils. He’s a better writer than he is an inker. Gary Frank’s art for the final chapter was drawn very early in his career, yet despite the occasional odd pose and some expressions being over-egged, they have a clarity and elegance absent from Dwyer’s pages.

While there’s a viable idea and the use of a well known Marvel artefact behind the events of the title story, it’s a very scattered affair, Johns having a large cast at his disposal and never sure where the focus ought to lie. He sets up forthcoming stories well, giving us several mysteries and has a nice line in personalising some of the cast, but this isn’t the Johns who’s been so good at creating exciting superhero stories for DC. Standoff continues his run, with both combined in The Avengers: The Complete Collection by Geoff Johns 1.