Some are saying this is a lead-in into next summer’s Secret Wars Marvel event, so I decided to dust off my Avengers break and give it a go. But is it good?
Avengers #40 (Marvel Comics)
The story so far is a complicated one, but for those of you like me who have semi paid attention it’s easy enough to jump in (although you might not have any idea who some of the characters are). This issue sticks with the heroes we know, but the most important details are that the Illuminati minus Xavier (he’s dead) and Captain America (his mind was wiped of ever being on the team) have been blowing up Earths that were coming too close to ours. An incursion would take place and both universes would be destroyed, so Mr. Fantastic, Beast, Namor, Black Panther and a few others decided better their universe than ours. Cap discovered he was mind wiped and now wants them all to face a jury and be tried for their sins. This issue opens with him telling them as such, but they stop him to tell him the Cabal, a group of baddies including Thanos, is about to be eradicated forever in a plan they’ve hatched.
I have no idea what they’re talking about.
Let’s forget the fact that Cap allowing them to blow up Thanos and the other bad guys makes him implicitly guilty of what he demands they be tried for and just go with the flow, shall we? Writer Jonathan Hickman writes a pretty well formulated story in this issue. Having not read this series for a few months I quickly found good aspects that were entertaining. He does a nice job flashing back to Black Panther’s past and the importance of a sword the king wields. This ends up having symbolic meaning later in the issue that strengthens a very serious turn of events. There’s also a very strong moment for Black Panther when Cap demands to know if each of the Illuminati will face their sins and be judged.
There is of course a lot of wordy moments that drag on with characters going on and on about what they are about to do. It’s understandable considering the root of this series is to express the psychological right and wrongness of what they are doing, but it drags things down into conversations that become boring.
There’s Hulk, always overcompensating!
The final pages are incredibly well rendered with a lot of drama pushing you along its panels. That’s of course due to the art and writing working as one and artist Stefano Caselli should be commended. He perfectly captures the rage of one character in particular: the gravity of the moments of the last few panels and the ferocity of Black Panther when he will not admit he did anything wrong. The sense of pride is very much a thread Hickman has been relaying and Caselli masters it with his great facial expressions.
Now that’s baller.
Is It Good?
This issue surprises you in a good way with a very balanced issue that effectively uses flashbacks to make a big moment even bigger. Still, it’s rife with dialogue heavy moments that you’d just rather skip than read.