And thus, we have reached endgame. This is the road to the finale of Jonathan Hickman’s run on Avengers: Time Runs Out. Hickman will certainly pull something out of the woodwork for the final arc and start having everything make sense…. RIGHT?! Is it good?
Avengers #35 (Marvel Comics)
So let’s flash forward 8 months later after the events of the last issue:
- Ex Nihilo and Abyss are in deep space, where its becoming clearer and clearer the universe is collapsing. (Both characters were last seen in Infinity).
- Somewhere… Manifold teleports Sunspot to the home of Cannonball to… catch up with him I suppose. Things seem to be interesting for Cannonball since he and Smasher hooked up and had a kid (glad that random, out of nowhere romance that made no sense went somewhere off screen). Also, they live close to the Imperial Guard is.
- At someplace called The Orisian Field, Starbrand and a much younger looking Nightmask are destroying one of the last robots from that Builders disaster last year.
- In the Savage Land, Thor and Hyperion are having AIM build a machine for them with the help of those kids we last saw over year ago.
- Also in the future, Avengers is now under the control of S.H.I.E.L.D. and they are trying to capture Amadeus Cho, who is now a member of the Illuminati and trying to retrieve data from the former Avengers Tower, because that’s where Iron Man kept all the important files. Also, Iron Man is gone now.
That’s not Izzy, that’s clearly Spider Woman from looking at her and… oh my god, what the hell is up with her left foot?!
So yeah, that’s a lot of stuff going on in the future and I have very mixed feeling regarding this issue as a whole. First of all, HOLY CRAP! Things are actually happening in this damn comic. Let’s look back on the entire year we’ve had with Avengers? What was accomplished outside of the Adaptoids, Bruce Banner joining the Illuminati, and Captain America now remembering and wanting to stop them? Seriously, think long and hard about what has happened over these past ten issues? Yeah… basically nothing. All of the interesting stuff was designated into other books, such as Avengers World and New Avengers, so the main Avengers title got completely shafted this year and did barely anything of value. So it’s wonderful that this title felt actually feels relevant and not just a place for Hickman to talk about his science fiction ideas. Heck, the ending even shows some promise and seems to be setting up for a pretty interesting confrontation later on.
But on the flipside of that, wow — this was a rather meh issue regardless. We may have things happening for once in this book, but at the cost of basically skipping over tons of interesting story ideas, character development, and concepts that would actually benefit from some exploration; especially when there are some plotlines you just have to scratch your head at, like AIM now being owned by Sunspot, Avengers being completely apart of S.H.I.E.L.D., why some characters are a part of the Illuminati now, etc. While it is not a bad idea in theory to jump forward a lot in a story in order to build mystery and intrigue, it actually doesn’t work here too well with how radical some of the changes are and how lazily they are implemented at times. The writer has not been developing his characters or his subplots very well or not at all, so by jumping forward, he can conveniently have everything and everyone in a place where they need to be instead of having to develop it himself naturally.
S.H.I.E.L.D. has an ugly color scheme.
Problematic and awkward plot choices aside, the rest of the writing isn’t bad. The pacing and storytelling are fine but the dialogue is up and down — in the sense that half of it is Hickman’s usual dry as sand dialogue (basically the entirety of Ex Nihilo scene) and the other half has some personality and humanity to it (some of the Sunspot and Hyperion stories). This can end either making the story enjoyable to read or a slog to get through. The entire issue in general is basically setup: establishing all of the new plotlines, subplots, and personalities seen here. Because of that, the book can get very heavy on the exposition and can come off as being rather unnatural at points (again, seen in the Sunspot and Hyperion stories). Finally, a minor nitpick — but annoying nonetheless; look at the cover. 1 out of 5 people there are seen in this actual book. False information, damn it!
Let’s take a look at the artwork for the book. There are four different artists and five different inkers working on this single book. While that may seem problematic, there’s a reason for it. Each of these storylines (though one of them shares an artist with another) gets their own artist. That’s not a bad idea personally, since it helps differentiate the stories from one another. The artwork seen here overall isn’t bad, and its quite appealing looking in different areas, with some great looking imagery and intense action. The only real weak aspect to the art is whoever is drawing the story with Sunspot and the rest; his style is far more cartoonish and at times, creepy looking. His art stands out like a sore thumb in comparison to the other people who worked on the book that have a much more serious style to them.
Stop looking at me with those dead soulless eyes!
Is It Good?
Avengers #35 feels like its getting the series back on track and having it actually do something instead of biding time like it has for most of the year. There are some interesting plotlines and ideas being developed here that show potential going forward. The big problem though is that the time skip ended raising way too many questions and feels more like convenience for the writer with characters and stories instead of benefiting actual story. This starts the death march towards the end of this comic book run and whether it gets better or not from here, remains to be seen. Let’s just hope it does.