The prehistoric Avengers may have postponed their destruction, but the Dark Celestials have returned to Earth seeking global extermination. The Avengers assemble to defend their planet once again, but they will soon discover a much more dangerous enemy in their midst…
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Ed McGuinness
Inker: Mark Morales with Jay Leisten
Color Artist: David Curiel
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
What You Need to Know:
One million years ago, an impossible assembly of gods, mutants, and monsters led by Odin vanquished a mad Celestial, and the First Host was sent to Earth in retaliation.
Now, dead Celestials are raining from the sky as a horde of unstoppable insects invades from below. And as the Final Host of Dark Celestials marches on Earth, the call goes out once more…AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!
What You’ll Find Out:
As the Big Three charge the Dark Celestials head-on, Black Panther and Doctor Strange battle their forces underground while Captain Marvel takes to the skies to catch the falling Dark Celestials. But someone has orchestrated all of this. They have the Avengers racing to assemble over yet another catastrophe, placing them right where this person wants them.
Ghost Rider finally finishes with the insects that had him surrounded, and soon speeds off in the hell charger unaware of where the car is taking him. Meanwhile, Jennifer Walters’ is confronted with a falling Dark Celestial and a swarm of insects. Though she tries to keep her temperament, she Hulks out and starts squishing every insect in sight. Before she can finish them off, the Dark Celestial teleports her right in front of Ghost Rider’s hell charger, and she only becomes angrier.
As the Avengers continue their losing fight against the Dark Celestials, Captain America takes their ship into flight and tries to get them into orbit, but Captain Marvel soon appears, carrying a battered Thor on her shoulder. She tells Tony that Alpha Flight is helping and reveals the omega-level warp grenades that will send the Dark Celestials right into the sun.
Meanwhile, She-Hulk continues to smash the hell charger, finally bringing Ghost Rider into face-to-face combat with her. He quickly wraps her in his chains and blasts her with a plume of flames, all while telling her that he is not her enemy. Although She-Hulk disagrees at the moment, they are soon surrounded by insects once again and must fight side by side!
Captain Marvel and Iron Man speed up to the Dark Celestials with the warp grenades in hand, but Captain America has flown too close to one. Within moments he is teleported away, but Thor, Iron Man and Captain Marvel are right behind him. In their attempt to save him, however, they too are captured in a stasis before the man who has brought all of this to fruition reveals himself…the God of Mischief himself, Loki!
What Just Happened?
Following a strong first issue, Avengers #2 excellently continues the momentum while broadening the focus to other Avengers rather than only the Big Three. Ghost Rider and She-Hulk provide a versus battle that won’t be forgotten anytime soon, showing their amazing abilities and foreshadowing the power they can bring to the team. This is all occurring while Captain Marvel essentially leads the Big Three, even carrying Thor for part of the battle, further showing why the Big Three needs these members if they hope to defend Earth.
The first issue placed a primary focus on the Big Three and why their involvement was so important to the foundation of the team and to Marvel Comics in general. But with the inclusion of new fan favorite characters, the series shows a respect for the past while still being able to firmly establish characters that will bring Marvel into the future.
Unfortunately, as this issue turns its focus to Ghost Rider and She-Hulk it lacks any narrative continuation for Black Panther and Doctor Strange. Hopefully, this is meant to build up each character and establish a connection with their story before introducing all of the members together as the Avengers. If this trend of focusing on only portions of the team continues, the series will undoubtedly suffer, but for now, it does help to elaborate on the motives of some of the lesser known characters.
Jason Aaron confidently pushes the story beyond predictability and brings in an unexpected villain in Loki, who has brought the Final Host to bring global extinction on Earth. This serves as a welcome surprise in the face of somewhat generic “world-shattering” villains like the Dark Celestials. This twist is also quite reminiscent of the first Avengers film in the MCU where Loki brings the Chitauri army to Earth. A subtle nod like this does interesting things for the story as it invokes even the casual fan’s experience with the Avengers. While some may dismiss this as a simply copying the narrative, it actually contributes to the themes established in the first issue. Getting back to the core of the Avengers.
The artistic direction from Ed McGuiness and the rest of the creative team has been met with mixed opinions. However, I think it uniquely accentuates the themes that are being explored in the series, combining a modern aesthetic with classic designs. The culmination of such an epic story along with this compelling artwork results in a reading experience that is easy to get lost in.
The second issue of the latest Avengers series continues to explore the heart of the Avengers, all while ushering in a modern team who must confront a classic villain that brings the Avenger’s past to the fight!
Final Thoughts: Avengers #2 shows that Marvel’s “fresh start” initiative is about more than just explosive first issues. This is a compelling narrative continuation that is gorgeously presented. It showcases all-time greats and modern fan favorites but unfortunately, is still unable to bring the full Avengers team together. Hopefully, we can see all of the Avengers assemble soon, but with Loki in the mix now, that could be mischievously disrupted…
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