The Avengers face off against an all too familiar foe, but it will take every able body to survive the fight and save the planet once again!
Story: Jason Aaron, Paco Medina, & Ed McGuinness
Artist: Ed McGuinness
Inker: Juan Vlasco, Mark Morales, & 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.
A million years later, dead Celestials began raining from the sky while a horde of unstoppable insects invaded from below. As the Avengers reassembled to combat the Final Host of Dark Celestials marching on Earth, the architect of the mayhem finally revealed himself: Loki, God of Mischief, is pulling the strings of the current catastrophe. The only question is…why?
What You’ll Find Out:
After She-Hulk and Ghost Rider finish taking care of the swarming insects coming out of Earth’s surface, She-Hulk smashes a hole deep underground and jumps in with Ghost Rider in his Hell-Charger right behind her. As Doctor Strange and Black Panther continue fighting the insects at the Earth’s core, they notice their strength increasing as the fight draws on, but soon they hear the screaming of She-Hulk. Her and Ghost Rider come smashing through the rocks above them, joining the fight.
Captain Marvel, Thor, and Iron Man are taking on Loki and the Dark Celestials in the sky when Loki tosses a handful of warp grenades attuned to the Sun at them. From deep inside the Celestials orb of energy, Captain America emerges and throws his shield right into the grenades, teleporting himself, Loki and the Dark Celestials into the center of the Sun.
Although Captain America tried to fight Loki inside the Sun, the Dark Celestials are able to shield them from danger and escape unharmed, bringing Cap and Loki with them. Using Alpha Flight to confirm his whereabouts, Captain Marvel, Thor, and Iron Man are able to get their bearings. But soon Carol and Tony are back at each other’s throats. Luckily, Ghost Rider’s Hell-Charger bursts through the wall, interrupting their heated debate.
Inside, Black Panther and Doctor Strange offer guidance, but after a rough landing, they must let She-Hulk out of the trunk. Black Panther quickly gets the group together and tells them how the Avengers are needed.
At the North Pole, Loki has Captain America chained up. Cap attempts to appeal to Loki’s good side, however small, but Loki uses the power of the Dark Celestials to take Cap where he believes the root of humanity’s infection has grown. Back at the city, the Avengers group up and formulate a plan. They start separating into teams to deal with all of the issues, but out of nowhere Thor takes Shu-Hulk and after a crack of lightning the two appear at Old Asgard and confront Odin.
While Ghost Rider attempts to use his Hell-Charger and a dead Celestial to track where he needs to go next, Loki reveals to Captain America deep beneath the North Pole who he calls the father of the Avengers, the Progenitor.
What Just Happened?
As the fight wages on against the Dark Celestials, the Avengers are confronted with an all too familiar villain, Thor’s brother, the God of Mischief himself, Loki! The story continues in a beautiful fashion, finally uniting the team to save Captain America, but unfortunately is mostly about appearance rather than any substantial content. There was an introduction of a new villain, the Progenitor, through a classic Avenger villain. But as readers, we really only got a name and a location.
The artistic direction could be the best yet, featuring memorable panels filled with brilliant colors and detailed characters. Although the panel layout can become somewhat busy at times, the artwork helps the pacing by contributing to the overall narrative.
The issue suffers mostly when it comes to the content of the story and what actually occurs. There are some great action sequences, but for the most part, the narrative consists of finally uniting the Avengers and introducing a common goal that allows each of their abilities to become useful. Except for Ghost Rider. Despite his presence in the ancient drawings, the team decides that he must find his own way and forces him to seek a path with only the help of his Hell-Charger.
While it was certainly an entertaining reading experience that showcases some beautiful artwork, the story wasn’t anything that you will be talking about a few days after reading. It sets up the following issue nicely enough and if you are following this new rendition of the Avengers, it offers a great moment of unity that hints towards the future.
Final Thoughts: Featuring consistently gorgeous artwork and a strong narrative focus, the latest issue of the Avengers, unfortunately, stumbles in its pacing, proving to be more of a set up for future issues than anything truly impactful. Although a new villain is introduced through the lens of an old one, we will have to wait longer to find out more about their agenda.
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