***WARNING: This review contains major spoilers!***
Russia is putting together a super-human team to respond to the Atlantean threat and to try and win the super-team race against the T’Challa-led Avengers. This “Winter Guard” consists of Ursa Major, Crimson Dynamo, Vanguard, Darkstar, Red Widow, Vostok Chernobog and Perun.
Meanwhile, Stark is showing Robbie the Avengers ropes while Thor and Captain Marvel clear helicarrier debris from the Atlantic seafloor. Jennifer is working with T’Challa on better controlling her Hulk-self as well as learning how to be a diplomat for the Avengers. Cap meets with General Ross and informs him that the Avengers answer only to the Earth, not Wakanda, not the U.S.; Ross reacts poorly to this and calls in “The Agent”.
Flash-forward to Namor and his Defenders of the Deep are attacking an international aquatic biosphere located in the south Pacific. Namor has raised the “Aquapolis” to the surface, where the Avengers intercept them and attack. As the fight ensues, the Winter Guard shows up to join the fight, though they also start to scrap with the Avengers. After Namor retreats, the Avengers and Winter Guard standoff until Red Widow suddenly orders the Russians to withdraw, then the Avengers are able to evacuate the Aquapolis. Later, General Ross is speaking to Agent Coulson, welcoming him to the “Deep State”. With him, Coulson has brought The Squadron Supreme of America, a Marvel analog to DC’s JLA, comprised of Hyperion, Nighthawk, Doctor Spectrum, Power Princess, and the Whizzer.
After the Aquapolis conflict, Robbie has returned home to give his bother a repulsor-powered chair gifted to him by Tony. While walking to the Hellcharger, Robbie is ambushed by Odin himself, and run-through with Gungnir. Instead of dying, Robbie flames into Ghost Rider and chains up the raging, drunk, god-assassin. They cease hostilities long enough to talk, and it turns out Odin was out to avenge the apparent murder of Starbrand, but Ghost Rider explains that Starbrand had lost its mind and was destroyed in self-defense. Over a drink (of coffee), Odin regales Robbie with tales of the primordial Avengers and the premier Ghost Rider and warns Robbie that he may be required to kill more Starbrands to come.
The surviving Celestials of The Final Host are torturing Loki for his misdeeds in the “far reaches of space”. His agony is interrupted by Phoenix-Force Wolverine, who rescues him after warning that the coming war is worse than anything Loki has foreseen.
Cut to Wasp, who is invading Dracula’s castle in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania (formerly Transylvania). Her objective is to rescue an imprisoned Blade in return for his services as an Avenger; he accepts.
Art: Each act was drawn by a different artist, so the style varies, but none as much as Act 2. Though I LOVE Andrea Sorrentino’s art, it contrasted so much with the rest it was jarring. Regardless this big issue was a pleasure to look at.
Writing: I was hoping for somewhat of a slow-burn build from what occurred in issue #9 to what would eventually lead to a head-to-head battle with the Avengers, but unsurprisingly, Marvel would have none of that! I’m very fond of how Cap and the others feel the U.S. has lost its way, and are eschewing its directives in favor of global cooperation. This Avengers team is one built to protect the earth, free from political machinations of the superpowers that be, therefore this arc is more focused on involving the whole earth in her fight for survival. Russia is the first to get involved in Namor’s war, which was set up a few issues ago when Namor retaliated against the Russians for killing and defiling the Atlanteans that attacked them. I seem to never get tired of Aaron’s dialogue/monologues, he’s a true master.
Though the Avengers quickly came to blows with Namor’s Defenders, apparently it needed to happen because a bigger storm’s a-brewin' and Earth is in its path!
Avengers #10: Earth’s Greatest Heroes 700 Times and Counting!
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 6/106/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 7/107/10
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