The Avengers vs. the Final Host. Who ya got?
The Avengers are giant-sized and kicking Celestial butt when this issue opens, which is a good sign when you have the most powerful team in the universe fighting toe to toe. Jason Aaron has done a good job establishing high stakes and epic scale reminding us Marvel characters aren’t gods, but they sure as hell are our last defense.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
THE FINAL HOST CONCLUDES! The final battle against the Dark Celestials. A battle unlike any the Avengers have ever experienced. A battle a million years in the making. The new team of heavy hitters assembles at last. But will the young, inexperienced Ghost Rider prove to be the most important and powerful member of all?
Why does this matter?
This is the big finale to the first “fresh start” arc for Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness (with Paco Medina) so if you’ve come this far you’d best stay to see how the heroes win. Or maybe they don’t and Loki wins. Time to find out!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
There’s a certain point when you have to let your suspension of disbelief allow everything in, which this series has done and then some. We’re talking skyscraper-sized She-Hulk, Thor, and others battling Celestials. Aaron brings this all to the forefront making it easier to swallow when the concept of humanity (and especially our heroes) being the product of Celestial vomit. That’s something said over and over and it works because it’s such a bonkers idea. This is the best kind of turn-your-brain-off entertainment. In the end, the heroes come together with an interesting twist too. As far as a big superhero team book Aaron has nailed it.
Part of that is due to time spent reminding us Earth is populated with all kinds of heroes, creatures, and supernatural groups all of which are witness to the events of this issue. That helps add gravity to the situation and make you believe the world can come to an end. At the very least it comes very close, heightening the impact of this issue.
The art continues to be very Kirby in its in your face style. Ghost Rider in his Celestial form is quite cool (it’s action figure ready Hasbro!) and the light effects of his powers shine through well. The art team does a great job establishing Ghost Rider as a lead character on a team of the greatest heroes. There’s also iconic shots of the entire team in action and some well placed visual gags too.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Aside from an establishing shot the size of the heroes doesn’t come off too well. That’s partly because the environment isn’t drawn behind or around the characters nor is there establishing shots showing where the characters are in relation to each other. A few of the Avengers never get large–which could have been used to show the size difference–but the art pushes too close to the characters too often.
I like how the resolution requires the team to connect in an interesting way, but it comes very quickly and unbelievably. Yes, there are giant Avengers running around so your suspension of disbelief is working hard as it is, but I the resolution isn’t established well enough to feel earned.
Is it good?
The “fresh start” Avengers have established themselves as a team that is epic in scale and surprising in their approach. The lineup is a mix up of sorts thanks to Ghost Rider and, shockingly, he comes out of this series even better than ever.