The newly resurrected H.A.M.M.E.R. comes down right on top of the Avengers!
The Avengers are split up into smaller groups. Each of the duos have been engaged by agents of H.A.M.M.E.R. and it isn’t going well for our heroes. Despite trying to outsmart the Hydra Hulks by telling them she’s a double agent for Hydra, Spider Woman is captured with Hawkeye. Red Hulk is taken down by miniaturized agents after Storm’s debut outing as an Avenger was cut short. Protector is nearly able to stop the Osborn-controlled Iron Man suit but ultimately fails. Finally, Captain America and Maria Hill are taken out by giant agents when their Quinjet is taken down. The only Avenger able to escape is The Vision. Will he be able to save his friends?
Much like the other side of Norman Osborn’s plan taking place in the pages of New Avengers, this arc is pretty satisfying. It doesn’t quite have the same punch in the action department as the last issue of New Avengers, but it still entertains with a more classic feel to the plot. Osborn’s clearly decided it’s best to divide and conquer and, so far, it looks to be true. It’s an old fashioned way to take on the Avengers. This is a tactic seen in stories dating back to the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby days.
Instead of being bored by the concept, it actually restores my faith that Avengers stories can be told like these in the two “main” titles. Brian Michael Bendis is getting to the point. He’s not meandering about in the story. He’s giving it some action and tension and, ultimately, a drive that hasn’t always been present. This issue doesn’t stop to make the Avengers out as if they are the cause of the problems. Instead, the team is embroiled in the actual fight. This team isn’t distracted by onlookers in distress or trying to make a statement. They are fighting H.A.M.M.E.R. Between this issue and the aforementioned New Avengers #20, Bendis is bringing some of his best work in his entire run.
As far as the art goes, Daniel Acuña steps away from this issue and Renato Guedes takes over. This Superman alum is exactly the artist I wanted to see in this series. He’s got a solid foundation in the superhero genre and his work kinda takes me back to the style I remember as a kid. His gray Hydra Hulks evoke Jack Kirby’s style ot expression and form. There are a couple shots in this book that covers both the more contemporary style (Iron Man capturing Protector) and the classic poses of the Bronze Age (Vision leaving the Quincarrier to battle a giant H.A.M.M.E.R. agent). I know I’m about to see one of my all time favorites in Walt Simonson stepping into the series to do an arc in just a few short months, but if the future of the Avengers is going to be looking for a more regular artist, my vote would go to Guedes. He really shines in this issue from that classic style that I’ve been yearning for in this series.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Solid writing and the art I’ve been searching for in this series.||Would have liked a tad more exposition as to where these different Avengers-inspired agents came from, but it might have really slowed down the issue. Besides, that further exposition may yet come.|
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