Avengers Beyond #2
The Avengers underwent a series of missions that they could only partially recall, leading them to suspect that they were being manipulated by an unseen force. Black Panther and Iron Man constructed a device to detect unknown energy and force it to take physical form. After the Avengers activated the device, the Beyonder appeared and was unmasked as the mastermind behind these recent events.
The Beyonder revealed the existence of an immensely powerful being called the Lost One. Recently freed from imprisonment, the Lost One has been hunting down all of the Beyonders. The Beyonder fled to Earth and attempted to provide the Avengers with the tools they’ll need to defeat the Lost One. Tiamok, the Lost One’s emissary, then attacked the team, and while the Avengers were subduing her, the Beyonder fled.
In Avengers Beyond #2, after learning the scope of the threat the Lost One poses, the Avengers and friends are in the streets of Manhattan – fighting regular humans who have been given powers and a lust for blood. The Wasp leads the battle while Blade finds and neutralizes the underlying threat.
The second issue of Avengers Beyond is what could be called a “boots on the ground” story. This is when a cosmic threat extends to lower-powered heroes like Daredevil, Spider-man, and Wasp, while the heavies like Iron Man deal with the primary threat. Essentially, it’s a venue to showcase a variety of fighting styles in an urban setting while allowing the brawling heroes to reinforce their core values by protecting civilians in the face of a cosmic or alien onslaught. This type of story keeps the narrative from veering into pure space opera and widens the book’s scope. It gives the comic an “event” feel and provides a richer, more humanistic reading experience. When executed poorly, the comic loses its flow and feels like a mishmash of actions and tentacles. How well does Avengers Beyond #2 expand the scope of the series with medium and lower-powered heroes?
Greg Land has a lot of strengths that make him a good fit as a penciler for this story. His cinematic approach to panels is a definite plus and gives this issue an epic feel. Having always appreciated his gritty rendering of swift and sudden actions, it offers a certain weight to sucker punches and the landing of boots against jawlines – combined with an understated and effective smattering of blood and spittle. A personal favorite is how he draws the Wasp and puts her at the forefront of the action. Some writers and artists tend to render her a “sting and retreat” character, but Land gives her an action-hero feel, which works well in this book. The Wasp takes a good, old-fashioned beating that feels high stakes and weighty. She manages to prevail after showcasing her values as a compassionate teammate who puts herself in danger to save Luke Cage. This is decidedly the Wasp’s issue, and it’s a testament to the excellent writer-artist pairing of Derek Landy and Greg Land that her story, told amongst the chaos of Spiderm-man and Daredevil (among others) fighting back a surge of minor threats, drives this story. As the action subsides, they manage to keep her true to her plucky and whimsical personality in a genuine way.
It’s difficult to read any story about the Beyonder with a slew of Marvel heroes engaged in fisticuffs without comparing it to the legendary penciling of Mike Zeck, who drew the first Secret Wars series nearly 40 years ago. Zeck is one of the best illustrators of Earthbound heroes in comic history. Comparing him to Land makes one wish that Land would use his gift for wide shots to more significant effect and showcase more of the frantic action with other heroes in the background. It would give this story a more prominent feel and make it seem like more of an event book in an era when crossovers have become the norm, and having multiple heroes across teams and alliances appearing in the same book is now more or less routine.
Fans of the Wasp will love her role in this story and the effective and compelling way that Greg Land renders her fight scenes. Hopefully his book continues to be engaging and not just a series of battles predicated on “lessons” from the Beyonder in service of a future book or event.
Avengers Beyond #2: The Wasp Stings!
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 7/107/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10
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