To Mr. MacKay, With Apologies

I might have been wrong about something. It's time to make amends.

When the creative team of the current volume of The Avengers was announced back in January, the logical part of my brain knew that writer Jed MacKay and artist C.F. Villa made sense for the book. Villa’s a real talent, 6 and MacKay was a fitting choice on this Kang-centric volume thanks to his work on the Timeless one-shots. The only problem was, as I put it when this announcement hit, “MacKay just…doesn’t really inspire a lot of energy or enthusiasm in me.”

In that piece, I cited my perceived lack of buzz around the writer as the primary reason for that belief. I had never really heard much enthusiasm about his work or saw it bandied about online. While I knew the first issue of his Black Cat run was an unexpected smash, I also knew much of that stemmed from a robust variant approach for it headlined by J. Scott Campbell and the en fuego Artgerm. Its success felt more like a reflection of that effort than MacKay’s.

More than that, I had really only read a couple issues of his Black Cat title at that point. While those were solid, with writing that felt like a great fit for Black Cat, that was Black Cat. This? This was the headliner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Was this really the guy Marvel wanted to bet on when it came to an Avengers relaunch after an extended, extensive run by writer Jason Aaron?” I wondered to myself. With an A-lister departing, I expected someone of a similar stature to follow. Because of that, the Avengers reveal just didn’t feel like a big one to me, despite the title’s relative importance to the line.

It’s important to emphasize this fact: I 100% believed that at the time. My skepticism was real. I even quizzed people in and around comics about how MacKay was viewed leading into that write-up — in which readers and retailers assured me I might be underrating him — because I was genuinely unaware. It wasn’t just me being difficult. Now, though?


My skepticism was real at the time, but one could easily argue it was also unearned. You see, since I wrote that post, I discovered something interesting: Jed MacKay is one of the strongest writing talents in Marvel’s current mix, and someone deserving of the Avengers throne.

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  1. A Stormbreaker, even!

  2. That it also delivers a swift slap across my face to wake me up to MacKay’s charms was an unexpected secondary benefit.

  3. Both this Strange run and Immortal Hulk even smartly used fill-in artists for certain stories to buy the main artist time. All Marvel titles have fill-in artists, but there’s something about how those two do/did it that just makes more sense.

  4. A disciple who is actually normal, has a family, and is otherwise unassuming, showing that this type of belief can come from anywhere. That said, it’s a fantastic choice that Dormammu notes many of his followers come from the financial industry.

  5. I’m not counting Hickman here because he’s sort of just doing his thing away from everyone else.

  6. A Stormbreaker, even!