The Marvel Universe is not a normal place. It is not something that, when I glance out of my window, I can see in living color. If nothing else, New Avengers #1 takes this idea and designs a practical resolution to fit. If the Marvel Universe is a dangerous place crawling with villains and evil, what kind of solution could stop these threats to the universe? Enter Memento Mori, the first arc of Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting’s New Avengers run. Memento Mori is a Latin term that translates roughly to "remember your mortality." The idea presented as a solution is the reintroduction of the Illuminati idea that Brian Micheal Bendis wonderfully introduced in the Illuminati miniseries. THe Illuminati is a secret society hidden throughout history first introduced in 1776. The first issue shows a more detailed breakdown of the new formation of the team. Every member accepts without questioning except for the Black Panther who asks the questions of morality everyone in the audience is truly thinking. What gives Steve Rogers ,Reed Richards, Stephen Strange, Namor, Blackagar Boltagon, Tony Stark, and Dr. Henry McCoy the right to oversee the Marvel Universe. The answer is of course because these are the men who answered the call of the universe.
Art by Steve Epting is grim and has many harsh lines that fill the story with ominous waves of gloom. This of course perfectly shows off the tone of the book and includes Epting at his best. Which is why the colors of Frank D’Armata are somewhat disappointing in the sense of the people he shades all have a shiny look that drags the art down a few degrees. Although the humans looking shiny can give an ominous feel at the end of the day there is a plastic hollow feeling that negates this work of art from greatness. That being said the art is certainly detailed and beautiful for the most part.
The Black Panther goes through a whole evolving character arc in these mere 24 pages. He starts a man skeptical to the ways of Steve Rogers and the rest of these New Avengers but leaves with a sense of purpose. A new villain shows up and threatens the nation of Wakanda while leaving the Panther nothing short of desperate. The Panther fails to even pursue the evil pair of unnamed super villains that threatened his home. Hickman impresses further by giving the book a touch of graphic design which makes his comic feel cinematic. Pages like the reveal of the name of his first New Avengers arc are not only a well placed break from the story, but also serve as a stunning sight to behold. Many Marvel books could take away some of these new sensibilities from Hickman. Overall New Avengers #1 is a stunning book to behold and a Marvel NOW! book to watch in the future.