Take one look at the cover and you should be excited for one hell of a brawl between the Avengers and a team that looks strangely like the Justice League. Ooohhh this is going to be…wait is it good?
New Avengers Vol. 3 #18 (Marvel Comics)
If you’re just joining this series I’d advise you to at least read up on the goings-on on wikipedia. The quick summary is thus: the universe is in shambles and planet Earths are smashing into each other. The Avengers have got a ton of tech set up by now to manage and view these other worlds to prepare. Needless to say, they’re having a crisis when it comes to destroying entire planet Earths, but it needs to be done to protect their own planet. Last issue it was revealed a planet with heroes is barrelling down on them and they need to be taken care of. The best part is they all have powers similar to the Justice League, a Superman, a Flash, a Green Lantern, and a Batman too. The battle is coming…but not in this issue.
Horror and shame is what heroes are all about!
I was under the impression from the cover that Jonathan Hickman was delivering this battle, but he’s scaled it back a bit and made this issue all about the heroes coming to grip with what they must do. That’s fine, but it does feel very misleading that the last issue teased this battle, this cover teases it, and yet there is no battle. That said, this issue does a decent job balancing the emotions of the characters, although it does do this with a very long winded approach.
Ugh, stop wasting our time!
The book opens with a two page check in with Black Bolt, then cuts to Black Panther as he discusses his fear of killing heroes to the spirits of the previous Black Panthers. This scene lasts a good eight pages. That’s a big chunk of the book, considering we only get 20 pages total. We then get two full pages of Dr. Strange coming back and Namor commenting on him looking a little upset. Okay…why two pages though? This is followed up with two pages between Beast and Banner discussing the bomb he just activated. That’s a bit scary, and helps establish the stakes, but then we get four pages of Tony Stark whining about not getting answers. The remaining pages showcase all the heroes suited up and readying for battle. the long and the short of it is that’s a lot of pages to express some simple ideas. Decompression really makes this issue feel worth far less than its asking price.
I will give props to how the story seems to be setting up the Avengers to be the bad guys. They are convincing themselves of doing evil, so when they do end up doing it, it’ll be interesting to see their shame when they realize what they’ve done. You can even see how it’s being expressed visually with all the characters and their beady eyes and evil looks.
The art by Valerio Schiti is good and suits the dialogue heavy pages. There’s really no action, but he does an excellent job expressing emotions through faces and getting the point across. Plenty of panels go unused, but that’s not his fault. They’re just there to establish pace and slow things down.
I love how these guys just stick each other without warning. Isn’t that kind of rude and almost villainous?
Is It Good?
The emotional impact is obvious and good here, but the decompression makes you want to tear your hair out. You feel cheated due to the cover and the promise on the last page of the last issue, but you get very little for it.