It’s becoming clearer that Jonathan Hickman is building up to something big in his Avengers series. He’s created several new characters that are capable of breaking entire worlds, a world gardener who may or may not be a powerful villain, and sentences resembling “the world is broken” are often spoken. Seeds are being planted throughout the narrative that are starting to build on each other. If his Fantastic Four run is anything to go by, terrible things are in the future for the Avengers. That said, it’s not all that enjoyable so far.
Hickman’s Avengers series is taking too long to get moving. Nearly half of this issue doesn’t even feature the Avengers, save for two entirely new characters. Even when they do show up, their only purpose is to contain those two characters after the storytelling was dealt with. There isn’t all that much character work in this issue, and none of it focuses on any pre-existing Avengers. You’d expect a series called Avengers to focus on the Avengers. This issue also begs the question, why did the Avengers leave Ex Nihlo and Abyss on Mars? Their presence is only causing them further difficulties.
Again, compare this to Hickman’s brilliant Fantastic Four series. Sure, the first chunk of the series had plenty of build-up, but there was both character development and payoff throughout the entire series. Each story arc functioned just fine on its own, while they still built up to a much larger story. Even in the middle of the epic climax, there was room for character development and humour.
The art on the other hand is very good. The environmental detail is always impressive, whether it’s the establishing shots of the worm infested beach or skyscrapers covered in shiny windows. Character costumes and facial expressions are easy to recognize, even in the chaotic battle that caps this issue off. The fight scene is easy to follow, and it’s made epic by the various energy blasts colliding all around.
If you’ve been enjoying Avengers so far, you’ll likely enjoy this. Personally, I’m quickly losing interest. I’m strongly considering dropping this for now and picking up Avengers Assembled instead. If I do that, I’ll still pay attention to Hickman’s Avengers, and may eventually pick up the rest of the series in paperback. I’ll wait until my cold is gone before I decide though.