REVIEW: Avengers #676 (“The Greatest Avenger You Never Knew”- Avengers No Surrender Part 2)

The Earth has been stolen but it’s ok, the greatest Avenger you never knew is back!

Writer: Mark Waid, Al Ewing & Jim Zub
Artist: Pepe Larraz
Colorist: David Curiel
Cover Artist: Mark Brooks
Publisher: Marvel Comics

What You Need to Know: The Avengers, what’s left of them, has been called to assemble by a mysterious woman, Voyager. An Avenger from the past who has reappeared to help with the current crisis. The Earth has been stolen and is in chaos with natural disasters. Add to that, most the worlds heroes and villains have been locked in a sort of stasis. Leaving what’s left of the Avengers to figure out what’s going on and what to do to save the world.

What You’ll Find Out: While the Falcon assesses the situation, commenting on how it looks to view the world through the eyes of birds. The world’s natural disasters are getting out of hand. Valerie Vector, the mysterious Voyager, has the Avengers attention and those who seem to know her are expecting her to take the lead. To the surprise of those around, Voyager declines to lead and says the leaders they have are more than adequate. They do relive her time with the Avengers and state how important Voyager was until her untimely death. Voyager’s Death is explained and that her existence and even the memory of her was erased until the Earth was stolen.

Rogue, Falcon, and Lightning are the leads for the Avengers and each tries to pull rank on each other. This loses the confidence of the Avengers very quickly and things begin to unravel. And due to lack of communication and surveillance around the world, it goes unknown when the Black Order and the Lethal Legion land on earth. The two teams attack each other and they seem to be evenly matched until an unknown being stops them. They are reminded of the rules the two teams must follow in a contest they have been chosen for. The two teams separate, going their own ways as the Avengers continue to fix their surveillance problems. Quicksilver is doing what he can when Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight appear overhead and destroy Avengers Mansion with the Avengers inside.

What Just Happened? When introducing a new character, it can be difficult to get the reader to not just get interested. But to care and invest in the new character. It’s especially tricky when this new character has apparently been around and the reader didn’t know it, sort of. Marvel has played this trick before with the Sentry and for the most part, it worked. Now Mark Waid, Al Ewing, and Jim Zub have the unenviable task of trying this again. And while Voyager and the Sentry don’t have the exact same backstory on how they were forgotten. It still feels like “I’ve been on this ride before.” The rest of the story will tell if it matters or not that the reader is expected to just accept that Voyager was this legendary Avenger, forgotten and brought back. That aside, the story itself on the earth being stolen, and some mysterious game being played is well written on its own. The addition of the Black Order and Lethal Legion brings more danger and intrigue. Why are these two teams are chosen and what exact game is being played lends to the auspicious inclusion of Voyager. So there is so much more to this story than introducing a new character.

The art is crisp and clean, just as you would expect from Pepe Larraz. Larraz is a good storyteller and his transition from past panels to current time frame panels is extremely well done. David Curiel’s colors are just as good and lend to Larraz’s pencils. It is fun to see old school comic book art next to the current style and see just how much things have changed over the years. And while it’s a bit strange to see Voyager in classic panels. They do their best to make it look like she’s been there all along.

Rating: 8/10. Final Thoughts: This story has the potential to be a really fun ride. There are plenty of elements to this story that any reader would be happy with. A worldwide crisis, villains galore, lives hanging in the balance, mystery, and intrigue. So why worry right? Voyager is the only thing that can make or break this. And it’s a valid concern considering we’ve been through this song and dance before. While Waid, Ewing, and Zub are good writers. They’re skating on thin ice just to pull this off as it is. Not just to make Voyager work but also give you a good Avengers story overall. So far, so good…

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