No, your eyes do not deceive you and it is not a typo – we’ve got a tie for the #38 most-wanted omnibus, and that tie brings us the newest of all the runs in the survey results.
Avengers by Jonathan Hickman, Vol. 2 is the #38 Most-Wanted Marvel Omnibus of 2017 on Tigereyes’s Secret Ballot. Visit the Marvel Masterworks Message Board to view the original posting of results by Tigereyes.
Past Ranking: This is a 2017 debut; Volume 1 debuted at #10 with a bullet in 2016.
Probable Contents: It’s complicated. I cover it in full at the bottom of the post.
Creators: Written by Jonathan Hickman.
The co-writers and other artists vary wildly depending on what gets collected, but the core issues that we’ll see no matter what were drawn by Salvador Larroca and Leinil Francis Yu (Avengers) and Simone Bianchi, Rags Morales, Valerio Schiti, Kev Walker, and Larroca (New Avengers).
Can you read it right now? Yes! This Avengers and New Avengers portions of this run have now been collected in three formats, all still readily available. Avengers World is around in TPB only. It’s all covered on the Guide to Avengers Flagships.
The first Avengers by Jonathan Hickman Omnibus will be in our hands in a matter of weeks, and it collects exactly what fans were hoping for (and exactly what I predicted last year) – an integrated run of Avengers and New Avengers that incorporates Infinity, ending with Avengers (2013) #23 and New Avengers (2013) #12.
There is much debate over what a second volume of Hickman Avengers will contain, and I’ll cover that in detail below. What’s in common between the three possibilities is that it will surely cover both Avengers and New Avengers through the start of the “Eight Months Later / Time Runs Out” period, which begins in Avengers #35 and New Avengers #24.
The issues leading up to that point are very different across the two titles.
In Avengers, Hickman seems to be struggling to keep the book on track across a pair of arcs. “Rogue Planet” was meant to be a thrilling re-entry into the series starring the full Avengers cast, but it’s a slow burn that puts a maguffin in play that’s only marginally important to the end of the series. The “Original Sins” arc is time travel wankery with a limited casts that drops lot of hints to Hickman’s endgame in a way that’s marginally important to the end of the series.
Sense a trend? Neither are bad by any stretch, and the artwork on both is gorgeous, but they are missing any kind of zing that the first dozen or so issues had.
It’s worth noting that Hickman’s Avengers was always meant to be a twice monthly book, yet it fell back to monthly for much of this run. Maybe that’s why were got a pair of such obstinately impersonal arcs without much team flavor between them. Those sorts of interactions were shunted off into Avengers World, which Hickman initially co-plotted.
It doesn’t feel like coincidence that Avengers World runs for exactly as long as it takes for Avengers to wrap up. These more personal, high-adventure stories make full use of Hickman’s massive cast and more, giving everyone a moment to shine. Even if World dragged on a bit longer than Hickman would have done with his own alternating arcs, alternating a few of these stories with “Rogue Planet” and “Original Sins” on a double-ship schedule would have likely left fans a lot more satisfied by the content of Hickman’s run rather than just the story structure.
Meanwhile, New Avengers is on fire in the same time period. Hickman’s version of the Illuminati bargaining for the future of our Earth is a spiraling tragedy of epic proportions as we see other Earths fall to the machinations of the builders while the Infinity Stone holders argue and splinter as they make an increasingly questionable string of alliances.
Wow, that was quite a sentence. Please feel free to diagram it at your own leisure.
It’s hard to single out any one of the cast as the lead in the dense story, but Reed Richards, Black Panther, and Namor all receive heavy focus – in fact, all three recur from the first half of Hickman’s run on Fantastic Four, elements of which are referenced here. Doctor Strange also has an interesting journey, which is somewhat shunted off to the side as the months press on only to remerge for the finale.
Altogether this was a fascinating period of Avengers comics that would benefit massively from one of Hickman’s trademark integrated reading orders in a collected edition. It will feel like the biggest Avengers OGN of all time!
Will we see this omnibus in 2018? Yes. Absolutely. 100%.
We’re getting the first one in July of 2017. There’s no way Marvel dallies more than 18 months to get a second volume out. They took only 13 months between volumes of his Fantastic Four.
Would I recommend buying it? It all depends on the contents.
If Marvel just collects the material between Infinity and Time Runs Out, it’s a no for me even with cleverly interspersed ordering of the the series. In fact, even if Marvel adds all of Time Runs Out, this is still a hard pass for me.
However, if Marvel integrates Avengers World or other material, then I’d say: yes!
What will it collect?
To figure out what Avengers by Jonathan Hickman, Vol. 2 will collect, let’s review the total material existing to be collected.
First, here’s a recap of the material already covered in the first omnibus:
- Avengers #1-11: Collected in Avengers by Jonathan Hickman, Vol. 1
- New Avengers #1-12: Collected in New Avengers by Jonathan Hickman, Vol. 1
- Avengers #12-23: Collected in Avengers by Jonathan Hickman, Vol. 2
- Infinity #1-6: Collected in Infinity along with Avengers #14-23 and New Avengers #7-12 in integrated story order (i.e., you cannot only read the Infinity issues – they’re all mashed together).
Here’s what’s remaining and where it is already collected:
- Avengers #24-34: Collected in Avengers by Jonathan Hickman, Vol. 3
- New Avengers #13-23: Collected in New Avengers by Jonathan Hickman, Vol. 2
- Avengers Annual 1 & New Avengers Annual 1: Collected in the Avengers: Revelations TPB. Neither were penned by Hickman, although you could argue that the New Avengers annual had a bit more continuity to its run than the Avengers annual.
- Avengers #34.1 & 34.2: Collected in Avengers World: Time Runs Out TPB, but both occur before the 8-month gap. Neither were written by Hickman.
- Avengers World #1-16: Collected in three paperbacks; this all occurs before “Time Runs Out”
- Avengers World #17-21: Collected as Avengers World: Time Runs Out TPB, but this happens before the material in the main series “Time Runs Out” story.
- Avengers #35-44 & New Avengers #24-33: Collected as Avengers: Time Runs Out
- Secret Wars FCBD & #1-9: Collected in Secret Wars
That’s 77 possible issues in total – too much for one Omnibus! So, how will it be collected?
Option A is “the obvious option” – you subtract the 25 non-Hickman issues (the annuals, .1s, and Avengers World) and probably also Secret Wars (since some of those issues were oversized and wouldn’t fit into a 52-issue omnibus) for a tidy 42-issue book.
Avengers by Jonathan Hickman, Vol. 2 – Option A: Collects Avengers #24-44 and New Avengers #13-33.
The problem with that obvious option is that it totally repeats the entirety of the “Time Runs Out” pseudo-omnibus OHC. Marvel has started getting into the habit of recollecting prior omnibus-esque books into official omnibuses, but this feels like an especially huge and painful double-dip.
However, pulling out those issues would take 20 issues out of the mix for a second omnibus. What would result? There’s a slim, non-Avengers World Option B which simply combines a pair of OHCs…
Avengers by Johnathan Hickman, Vol. 2 – Option B: Collects Avengers #24-34 and New Avengers #13-23
That’s not a very attractive buy except for those people explicitly trying to fill the space between their Hickman Vol. 1 and Time Runs Out, and even for them it’s a rather dull affair.
Compared that option to a thicker Option C that pulls in the Avengers World content and intersperses it with Hickman’s Avengers for a juicy, integrated story with plenty of character beats.
Avengers by Johnathan Hickman, Vol. 2 – Option C: Collects Collects Avengers #24-34 & 34.1-2, New Avengers #13-23, and Avengers World #1-21.
I will keep flogging this point until Marvel gets the collections right: Avengers World is a vital part of Hickman’s Marvel mega-arc that just happens to not be written by Hickman. If Marvel doesn’t take this opportunity to collect it with the flagships, the so-called omnibus isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.
The only real argument against that would be that it “strands” the Time Runs Out pseudo-omnibus along with Secret Wars. I’d rebut that neither of those are “Avengers by Jonathan Hickman” – they are uniquely “Time Runs Out” and “Secret Wars.” Neither of them particularly benefit by being paired with each other or anything that came before.
The 2017 Most-Wanted Marvel Omnibus Secret Ballot Results
- #60 – What If? Classic Omnibus, Vol. 1
- #59 – House of M Omnibus
- #58 – Captain Marvel by Peter David, Vol. 1
- #57 – X-Force by Kyle & Yost
- #56 – Namor, The Sub-Mariner, Vol. 1
- #55 – X-Force, Vol. 3 AKA Cable & X-Force, Vol. 1
- #54 – Conan The Barbarian, Vol. 1
- #53 – Thor: God of Thunder by Jason Aaron
- #52 – Incredible Hercules by Pak & Van Lente
- #51 – Amazing Spider-Man: Brand New Day, Vol. 1
- #50 – Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch, Vol. 1
- #49 – Captain America (Silver Age), Vol. 3
- #48 – Doctor Strange by Roger Stern
- #47 – Marvel Horror of the 1970s
- #46 – Killraven
- #45 – Captain America by Mark Gruenwald, Vol. 1
- #44 – Runways by Brian K. Vaughan
- #43 – Superior Spider-Man
- #42 – The Punisher by Rucka & Checchetto
- #41 – Black Panther by Christopher Priest, Vol. 1
- #40 – Avengers West Coast by Roy Thomas
- #39 – Amazing Spider-Man by JMS
- #38 – TIE:
- Wolverine Vol. 3 AKA by Hama & Silvestri
- Avengers by Jonathan Hickman, Vol. 2
- #37 – X-Factor by David & DeMatteis