Ex Nihilo plans to remake the Earth, but can the Avengers stop him?
On Mars, Nightmask and Star Brand are seeking answers from their “creators” Ex Nihilo and Abyss. As Abyss examines Nightmask and Star Brand, she discovers that the break in how they were created is not with the process or the subjects, but the Earth itself. Ex Nihilo has delivered evolutionary bombs to Earth that is beginning to change the entire planet into a living being. When the Avengers arrive in Croatia, where the planet’s “brain” is developing, they find Star Brand and Nightmask. When the brain tries to pull Nightmask into itself, Star Brand’s aggression in his attempt to save his friend, he destroys the brain. Nightmask laments the destruction of this new world, and the Avengers plead with Star Brand who has finally shown his full range of power to step down and let them help him. After a massive battle between Nightmask and Star Brand against the whole of the Avengers, it’s finally decided that these two heralds must not remain on Earth and are transplanted to Tony’s power collecting station orbiting the sun.
It can’t be argued that what Jonathan Hickman has built with this series has been the Avengers on a new level. Forget that there seems to be a gigantic team of Avengers. It’s more about how these first nine issues have played out. There’s a larger story than just this Ex Nihilo character with his boredom. It’s almost as if Hickman has been creating an entire universe. Ex Nihilo and Abyss are brand new characters that bring a giant threat to Earth. Above and beyond that, the Avengers themselves are an ever evolving team with brand new characters being created and filtered into this series. It’s a really large story full of a seemingly over-abundance of characters that we simply haven’t known too much about.
Part of this is the problem of the series. I’ve enjoyed the scope of the story thus far. It feels like the Avengers have graduated to a universal scale. Unfortunately, there are so many new characters, it’s hard to really get a handle on them. Even in the individual issues featuring the different characters that are new, we’re still not sure what really brought them all together. Yeah, Captain America would likely be able to recruit anyone he wants, but trying to figure out the who and why of these individual Avengers, it makes the series a little more exhausting than anything else. Hyperion is a major force on the team, on the level of the Hulk and Thor, but aside from his individual issue, he’s been not much more than a wrecking ball. Captain Universe, though having a really nicely done spotlight issue, hasn’t been much more than crazy pants. There’s Manifold – is it the same Manifold in New Avengers? Who is this dude? It’s these types of questions that come up while reading the issue that quickly distracts me from what I’m reading. By the time we get to the end, I’m left wondering what the heck is going on with the evolutionary bombs Ex Nihilo sent to Earth. Are the Avengers dealing with those still? Shouldn’t they kinda get Nightmask and Star Brand’s take on all this bonkers stuff? When these questions become what you’re ultimately left with, that larger, deeper story ultimately gets lost.
The one thing this series has not be short of has been nice art. Dustin Weaver’s stuff has been fantastic in this arc. For this particular issue, he’s getting an assist from Mike Deodato and together they do some very wonderful things. However, all this lovely art, while keeping the reader excited and engaged on a more visual level, can’t always carry every issue. I’m not asking for a less complicated story, but to have at least a little clearer focus would be what this series needs most.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Spectacular art from Weaver and Deodado and exciting action.||Unfortunately, too many questions and not enough focus makes the series a struggle to read.|