Infinity has finally drawn to a close and Avengers can go back to doing what it was. However, things are not over for this little title. Now, it is about to enter the next phase of the story, just in time for Marvel Now 2: Electric Boogaloo. What does Jonathan Hickman have in store for us? Is it good?
Avengers #24.NOW (Marvel Comics)
From far in the distant future of 3030, a time traveler comes to the present to warn the Avengers about an incoming planet. It has somehow fallen out of its orbit (for any possible number of reasons) and is barreling toward Earth! If they don’t stop it, there will be an epic Earth shattering ka-boom to follow!
Easy Hawkeye, no need to be pulling out your bow and all that.
This issue definitely felt like the beginning of the new story. The changing and shuffling out of characters (which is perfectly fine; not like Hickman was even using Wolverine), the new status quo with what happens ultimately to the rogue planet, and the forewarning from the traveler about the events to come. These are potentially interesting elements depending on how they are played out, so I am a bit more hopeful for the future with this title than usual.
One of the better moments of the comic was not with the actual planet story itself, but rather with the characters relaxing and just having a breather. What the comic ultimately has been suffering from for the duration of this run is that it is so impersonal. The characters just exist to serve the plot and have barely-to-no defining personalities or characterization, leading to very dry and empty stories throughout. Here though, something as simple as the characters hanging out and talking to each other, reminding the audience that they are not simply props, can really elevate the situation and make the audience connect with themand care about the individuals. Sure, some of the things they do or say are a bit odd (hitting golf balls off a skyscraper and taking shots at them? Hope you hit them all, otherwise you’re all in a heap of trouble if that hits someone below), but it is still nice.
Yeah, it’s also as if Spider-Man is a different person or something…
What isn’t so nice is the main plot with the rogue planet. Think about this for a second if you will: The Avengers have just gotten back from an intergalactic war with aliens that were nearly invincible and unstoppable, then they came back to fight off Thanos who had conquered their planet. Sure, they themselves didn’t necessarily win those fights personally (Captain Universe and Thane did or made things much easier), but still. After all of that, the planet hurling at Earth just seems like a big step back. A serious threat to be sure, but it does not have the same impact or gravity to the audience. This feels like something that should have happened earlier.
But besides not having the same effect, that part of the story is rather dull. The dialogue and situation call for the scenes to be tense, but since the audience doesn’t believe anything will go wrong, there is no real reason to fear. The dialogue is pretty dry and forgettable for the most part, outside of the hints of the future. The story’s pacing here is very quick and glossing over details. For instance, the characters make a big deal out of the planet coming toward them and how difficult it will be to build something to stop it, but the next scene—immediately following their trepidation—is them building the final parts to do just that. Then it cuts again to when they are about the put their plan into action. The comic makes the situation sound like a big deal, but it then immediately contradicts itself by making it look as if it wasn’t a challenge at all. I’m grateful for the fact that this wasn’t padded out over several issues (sort of like that prologue for Infinity), but a little bit of dialogue change to make the characters sound confident that they can do this would easily remedy this problem.
So wait, this person hasn’t taken the helmet off in weeks? How have they been eating? Does it stink inside of that armor? Does the suit have ways of cleaning the inside of it if you sneeze?
The artwork in the comic has a rather large cast contributing to it. There are four different artists on the book and four different colorists. To the credit of the book, their styles do have some similar qualities and elements to them, so the feel and tone of the book never really feels off. Sure, you can tell when there is an art shift, but for the most part, it doesn’t pull you out of the book.
Every artist puts forth good, quality work and they all tend to have some impressive looking panels or images. Some put more detail into their work than others (compare the suit of the time traveler a couple of times throughout the book, you’ll see) and some characters are more expressive. The only real thing to note is the artist who did the work for the barbeque scene at the beginning, who I think was Butch Guice. His characters tend to look a lot weirder with their expressions and faces, sometimes looking a lot older than they normally are. Costumes can also seem off as well, like with Captain Marvel where her mask in one panel looks like it fits her face perfectly and in the next panel, it looks like she is wearing a pill capsule helmet with some beady little eyeholes cut into it.
No one will ever notice that these panels look completely different from each other, right?
- Has a lot of potential and interesting elements.
- The characters moments in the comic feel good.
- Artwork has its moments.
- The threat is pretty weak and lackluster after Infinity.
- The second half can be problematic.
- Art can look off and not transition well between artists.
Is It Good?
Avengers #24.NOW is a decent enough start to the next act of Hickman’s Avengers run. It has a bunch of problems, to be sure, but there is potential there that could result in some exciting stories later on. The only thing to note is that the issue costs five dollars. While there are more pages to the comic than usual, it’s still a lot of dough to ask for a single issue.