If the Hulk wins, we all lose. Good luck, Wonder Man.

In Avengers #686, the Immortal Hulk is almost at his goal. With the final Pyramoid will come victory for the Challenger, and destruction for the Earth. Is it good?

The Skinny

The Avengers fly as fast as they can back to the auxiliary HQ, with a Thor windstorm assist! But Wonder Man has already intercepted the Hulk, and he’s not looking to use his nigh-immeasurable strength to combat him — remember, Simon Williams is a pacifist.

So he tries to talk Bruce down. Sorry Simon, despite the eloquent prose, Bruce Banner isn’t home right now. Somehow an erudite, bloodthirsty Hulk is even MORE terrifying. Will what Wonder Man’s said have ANY effect on him at all?

And how does the Challenger feel, now that it’s all said and done? Probably better than his brother does.

The Lowdown

As the weekly “No Surrender” story has been wont to do, Avengers #686’s point of view character changes yet again, this time to the supremely powerful pacifist, Wonder Man. The writing team of Jim Zub, Al Ewing and Mark Waid continues to prove they’ve done their homework, as Wonder Man retains his most recent characterizations, complaining about the Avengers methods in a way that’s reminiscent of Brian Michael Bendis’ Revengers two-part story from 2011. And he’s got a point — when has punching the Hulk ever done any good?

The two twists in Avengers #686 are fairly predictable, in contrast to other, recent issues. On the way, the creative team tries to have one of those “this is why the Avengers are great” beats, but it doesn’t quite feel earned, and the desire to include it in the first place is a little Silver Age. Still, there’s yet another effective cliffhanger that sets up major changes for the next issue.

Paco Medina returns on art duties, with colorist Jesus Aburtov again in tow, but something feels … off this issue. There doesn’t seem to be as much detail and everything’s a little too bright for a potentially world-ending cataclysm. At least the Hulk looks scary. Gritted teeth and slobber for all!

The Upshot

Avengers #686 is another fine installment of “No Surrender,” pushing the story forward in not unexpected ways, but doing some nice character work with Wonder Man and this new, intelligent yet still murderous Hulk. The art seems to be a step down somehow, but not so much that it’s overly jarring. It feels like we’re finally entering the third act, and there’s no way of telling what will happen now, so it’s safe to assume the action-packed pace won’t abate in the near future.

Avengers #686
Is it good?
It's perfectly fine, but nothing outstanding. It's good to see Wonder Man's characterization maintained and a new take on the Hulk.
Great characterization of Wonder Man
A talkative, smart, sinister Hulk is somehow even MORE terrifying
The end of the issue promises things will only ramp up from here
A little on the predictable side
Art seems less detailed than usual, and overly bright
8
Good

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