Lordy, lordy, who put these Secret Empire Avengers together? Why, it was Cap himself, with some help from, YES, the Superior Octopus! Get ready for an eclectic crowd in Avengers #10. Is it good?
When did Ock learn to fly a Quinjet? Was it downloaded to his brain, Matrix-style, when he got that sweet, SUPERIOR body? At least he’s got a steady tentacle-hand to stop coffee spillage.
The rest of the team … not so steady. Well, Odinson is there, but that’s only because he’s loyal to Captain America. Vision’s been reprogrammed and who the hell knows what’s going on with the Scarlet Witch.
But Deadpool! There’s a lot of Deadpool, so rest easy if you were concerned he’d somehow be a bit player. Taskmaster and Black Ant are serendipitously along for the ride, although when the truth comes out about the alien bugs attacking the Earth’s shield generator, guess who knows just how to play it to ensure the desired outcome?
Something else you’ll be glad to know — in Avengers #10, Mark Waid does a great job resurrecting a Superior Spider-Man vibe for this once again falsely-heroic Otto Octavius. Those in melodramatic dialogue withdrawal rejoice, for the die is cast!
Waid continues to prove he’s the master of getting into characters’ heads, as he somehow whips up reasonably believable reasons for this random assemblage to work together. His Deadpool, a character he relies on more than any other in this issue, is hit or miss, however. The opening scene achieves his fly-buzzing annoying just right, but the dialogue degrades into something more puerile by book’s end.
The story itself is kind of flimsy, which can almost be forgiven when the artwork is the star of Avengers #10, but the issue’s end is strangely and uncharacteristically unbelievable. It’s clearly setting up the rest of this tie-in arc, but man, it requires a character to do something that he would never do, considering his stingy nature — and I’m not talking about Ock. I’ve never used the term “plot-induced stupidity” in a serious way before, but it’s difficult to find a description more apt.
Artist Mike del Mundo (with a little help from Marco D’Alfonso on colors) turns in work up to his usual caliber, but despite recent improvements, his painted figures just aren’t dynamic enough to communicate action. Even when the panels are specifically constructed to do so, it’s more like looking at individual pages in a flip book than visualizing actual motion. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all beautiful and borderline poster-worthy, but it’s missing that second part necessary for sequential storytelling.
Avengers #10 is a short but fun romp through the Secret Empire world, with beautiful visuals that don’t optimally communicate all of the book’s action. Waid’s characterizations and dialogue are spot-on for the most part, but the issue’s finale will leave you slapping your head in frustration. The whole thing is a mixed bag that has certain appeals in certain places, but the complete package, while still not bad, is somehow unsatisfying.