Avengers Beyond #1
Someone has been manipulating the Avengers for the past several months, altering the very fabric of reality in an attempt to prepare the planet for a threat that could destroy everything. Here, now, this unseen individual is to be dragged, kicking and screaming, from the shadows and into the light—and is revealed as the Beyonder! Something big is coming to the Marvel Universe…
Avengers Beyond #1 picks up with the aftermath of All-Out Avengers #4, something the book reminds you about on nearly every page. 50% of this issue is a recap for the last miniseries, with the other 50% being heavy exposition delivered by everyone’s favorite retcon king, The Beyonder. That’s right, Avengers Beyond is a Beyonder-centric series, which means it’s time for a universe-bending retcon! Fans of All-Out Avengers will likely love this, but anyone looking for a new/fun Avengers story may want to skip this.
Everything that readers learned in Secret Wars, Secret Wars 2, or Bendis’s Illuminati can all be thrown out the window because the Beyonder is an offshoot of The Lost One, the actual creator of the race of Beyonder… and he is pissed. Now it’s up to the Avengers to clean up his mess, but this time they have the Beyonder’s machinations to fight this new threat.
The Beyonder has always been controversial, with his near-unlimited abilities making him too much for many fans. Adding a being above him into the mix makes things even more complicated. This series will explore how the Avengers can defeat a threat like this, but does that even matter at the end of the day? Landy’s Avengers series is starting to feel like Dragon Ball Z, with the villains somehow coming out as super powerful, beyond anything that anyone has ever seen before, even though no one has heard of them until now. This may work for some fans, but ultimately, it is too formulaic.
That all being said, Landy does introduce one ridiculous but well-played concept here between Iron Man and Black Panther. The reveal is that Iron Man and Black Panther have secretly been working on two parts of the same machine, but without each other’s knowledge, that would come together to capture the Beyonder. They each relied on each other to know they should make this machine, and in the end, they were right. Hilariously enough, Blade questions the ridiculousness of this before readers have a chance to, lessening the confusion before the concept grows too otherworldly. The idea of two people building the same machine in hopes that the other would know to do the same thing can only work in comics, and props are due to Landy pulling it off.
Greg Land continues his art duties in this series, and his work misses the mark more than it hits. The characters’ faces, in particular, are all over the map. Land’s default facial expressions are a closed-eyes smirk, a squinty-eyed smirk, or a surface having a regular conversation with someone. Still, for some reason, their eyes are closed. On top of that, every character looks the same, with only their costumes differentiating them in any way. Even Captain Marvel and Thor look eerily similar, with their long blonde hair hardly being determined. Thankfully colorist Frank D’Armata takes care of the heavy lifting, helping distinguish things on otherwise muddled pages. Unfortunately, his use of a more muted palette makes the book feel rather dull on what should be splashy, bright pages.
Finally, Corey Petit’s letters finish off the creative team and add fun to this issue. For nearly an entire page, one section in particular, towards the end of the case, lacks any words or speech bubbles. One thing letterers don’t get enough credit for is where they choose not to place their speech bubbles. In Petit’s case, the absence of any dialogue made for a good change of pace, letting the action-oriented panels speak for themselves.
Avengers Beyond #1 is an overindulgent continuity mess that will likely confuse readers. The art hurts more than it helps, with Land’s controversial style hindering the character designs.
Avengers Beyond #1: Beyond A Mess
- Writing - 6/106/10
- Storyline - 3.5/103.5/10
- Art - 4.5/104.5/10
- Color - 6/106/10
- Cover Art - 7.5/107.5/10