And there came a day unlike any other, when Marvel Comics released the fateful final issue of its amazing Avengers throwback series, which reminded readers of the types of stories only the House of Ideas can produce in that mighty Marvel manner! Sorry, True Believers, something about this retro series just makes me want to channel Stan Lee! On to the review, and Excelsior!
Avengers #5.1 (Marvel Comics)
Cressida, the new Avengers’ power-enhancing ally, stands revealed as the sinister Avenger X – enemy to Earth’s mightiest heroes. She’s sucked the life from Captain America, Hawkeye, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, which prompts the original team – Iron Man, Thor, Giant Man and Wasp – to come out of retirement to save the day.
Sorry for not including spoilers just now – I figure it’s no real shocker the new Avengers aren’t actually dead, despite what this comic’s cover tells you.
Anyway, if you’ve been reading this very enjoyable mini-series, you know exactly what to expect from this issue: old-school storytelling with modern flourishes. Really, a blueprint all modern Marvel books should be following. But as I read this concluding issue, two things became clear to me. First, that this mini-series exists to lay the foundation for a future Avenger X story, and second, because it allows writer Mark Waid to tell a classic Avengers tale.
Seriously, you just can’t do this kind of stuff in modern continuity. Today’s Hawkeye is off on his own and Captain America is an undercover Hydra agent. Basically, everybody’s too busy doing other stuff to avenge like the good old days. So enjoy every last page of Avengers teamwork on display here!
If this issue has a fault, it lies in the art. Barry Kitson has done a terrific job throughout this mini-series, but this issue he needs an assist from not one, but three other pencilers! Mark Bagley, Sean Izaakse and Ro Stein, to be specific. Their efforts are by no means offensive – but it does make for a bit of an uneven read. When you read a comic, you want to escape into the story – not stop every other page and question whether you’re hallucinating or if the art changed.
With that said, I enjoyed seeing Bagley’s takes on characters like Hawkeye and the Wizard so much, I kind of wish he’d drawn the entire series.
Either way, if you consider yourself an Avengers fan or just a fan of old-school Marvel, do yourself a favor and track down all five issues of this series. Or, just wait for the eventual trade paperback (which will hopefully include the retro ads). Either way, it stands as a colorful example of how superhero stories don’t need death, crazy shake-ups or politics to tell great stories.