Deep in outer space... at the heart of the mighty Shi'ar empire - something awful stirs.
After interrogating a lone Brood survivor as to the details of the disaster, Gladiator sets out to investigate for himself. His efforts take him to the biggest space prison in the known cosmos, strung out across numerous premade worlds! Kallark is no fool, though. He knows what he's walking into, and leaves strict instructions on who to call should he fail in his mission...
...the mighty Avengers!
The team blasts off into space, but in the span of a day, disaster has struck. The mission has gone terribly wrong... some of them may be dead... others are missing... and the mightiest among them isn't even human anymore!
Things look very bad for our heroes... but little do they know, they're about to get much, much worse!
Avengers has, in the past year and change, had something of a Jason Aaron problem. He’s a talented writer, but he just hasn’t found the right tone or execution for this title thus far into his run, which is a major problem over two-dozen issues in. Every so often amidst the disarray, the real Jason Aaron peeks his head out – the guy who wrote Scalped and Thor: God of Thunder and Ghost Rider. And then he goes back into hiding and unfocused silliness ensues.
That said, I’m happy to announce that the OG Jason Aaron in full effect this issue – and it’s not a stretch to say that Avengers #27 may just be the best issue of his run yet, hitting every beat with expert precision and nary a false note to be had.
Things kick off with an ominous tone right from the bat, and swiftly go from bad to worse. Cap and company blast off into space and with the turn of a page, readers find them in a position they’re unaccustomed to: not just defeated, but completely and thoroughly demolished. We’re not sure what exactly happened just yet, but suffice to say it’s bad enough that even Captain America isn’t too optimistic about the team’s chances of survival, let alone mission success.
Throwing the Brood into the mix raises the stakes considerably. Though they’ve always been a clear knock-off of H.R. Geiger and Ridley Scott’s infamous Xenomorph, they’re nasty critters who are a mortal threat to anyone and everyone they touch, and Aaron doesn’t mess around with treating them as anything else.
The Avengers being caught flat-footed is, as stated above, something fans simply aren’t accustomed to seeing. Captain Marvel is missing, Cap’s uncertain of everyone’s survival, Thor has been horrifically transmogrified, Blade is – well, you’ll see. Throughout the issue, the pacing moves like a rocket, but the mood is never anything less than a worthy successor to the old catchphrase, “In space, no one can hear you scream.” The heroes are in far, far over their heads – and it’s only going to get worse.
On the art side of things, Ed McGuinness makes his triumphant return after taking a break for a couple of arcs. But although he’s up to his usual standards, he’s not the first artist I would have chosen for this story. To do Aaron’s tone and mood here justice, somebody more akin to Andrea Sorrentino should have been drafted – someone whose art isn’t lacking for dark, dark shadows and a perfect blend of impact and subtlety. McGuinness is just a bit too cartoony. His brood, especially, look too exaggerated and borderline goofy. It’s a good thing Aaron’s script is as strong as it is, or based on the art, it would be hard to take them seriously as antagonists or threats. But this is a minor niggle in an otherwise fantastic issue. Here’s hoping Jason Aaron has at last found his stride on this title – and is here to stay.
Writer Jason Aaron knocks it out of the park this issue, landing a near-perfect script that oozes with ominous mood and flawless pacing. The issue is a bit hampered by having Ed McGuinness' art mismatched to the tone of the story, but the overall script is strong enough to overcome. If you've been (im)patiently waiting for Aaron's run to finally hit its stride - your wait might just be over. Time will tell if he can pull off an entire arc that's as good as this first chapter!
Avengers #27: Space Madness!
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9.5/109.5/10
- Art - 6.5/106.5/10
- Color - 6/106/10
- Cover Art - 5.5/105.5/10
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