Or – “Voted Most Likely To Make Me Feel Like Sisyphus…”


Y’know, I’m surprised that, in an era where the two big Avengers titles cause so much consternation, more people aren’t interested in reading this series. Is it because it’s not the current Avengers? The lack of Captain America, or Iron Man, or Thor? Is it the price? What? This series has been 8 issues of excellent, from script to art to coloring, and not only have I not seen anybody but Tom Grice and I pick it up at the store (Gatekeeper Hobbies, Huntoon & Gage, Topeka! Ask ’em about our 3-D Man back issues!), I can’t even get a comment here at Major Spoilers, home of the disenfranchised superhero fan? I’m only talking ’bout the best Avengers title in three or four years, here. Throw me a frickin’ bone, people!

aemh1.jpgFor AEMH:II (Or ‘Aim High,’ as I call it) to have only Tom and I reading it is actually the Topeka comic book store equivalent of ‘the kiss of death.’ For several years, the Wednesday afternoon joke was that if only Matthew reads a particular title, it’s doomed. This proved 90% true for some time (I still miss “Martian Manhunter,” and “Power Company.”), and although the stigma has loosened somewhat, it’s more because the industry has cycled around to tell the kind of story I like again than because of any change in my pull-list habits. Over the course of the last seven issues, we’ve seen the escape of the Super-Adaptoid, the public’s distrust of the Vision, Black Panther’s enemies conspiring against him, Hawkeye’s relationship with The Black Widow breaking down, Hank Pym’s sanity doing likewise, Yellowjacket claiming to have murdered Hank and then marrying Jan, as well as a giant snake in a wedding cake (I think that’s a lost Doctor Seuss book?) and the beehive-headed cannon-fodder that is Advanced Idea Mechanics. Now, The Vision stands alone against the Super-Adaptoid, and android with the powers of ALL Avengers to date (save for Janet Van Dyne’s sense of style).

But before we check in with “Android Death Match,” we have a little old business to clean up: namely, troubled teen Delroy, who last issue saved The Black Panther from the attack of the Death Tiger (Death Tiger, Man-Ape, Black Panther, Coal Tiger… The Wakandans must have had some sort of liquidation sale on animal totems). That’s a good thing. The fact that he shot the Tiger dead with a handgun that he brought to school to take out a long-time tormentor called “The Mack” is decidedly less so. Still, his foolish action did undermine the attempted coup on T’Challa (Panther)’s throne, and Panther thanks him for helping him, both as superhero and as Delroy’s teacher, “Josh Charles.”


Black Panther tells Delroy that this experience will make him stronger, and hopefully in the future he will be more able to deal with the torture that is to come. It’s a mixed message, to say the least, but I suppose it’s better than “Thanks for shooting him! You’re free to go.” Panther’s bonding moment is interrupted by an Avengers priority signal, an indication that something is about to hit a fan somewhere, and he heads out to find what, where, and how much. The something? AIM’s masterstroke, the Super-Adaptoid. The fan? Ultron’s work of genius, The Vision. The collateral damage? Uh… everything in a three block radius, give or take.


The Adaptoid roars some nonsense about his form carrying the combined powers of the Mighty Avengers (back when that meant more than super-strength, super-strength, super-strength, super-strength, little wings on your back, sheer evil bastardry, and a gun, respectively) but The Vision coldly reminds him, “I was designed to destroy the Avengers. Here you are before me. The equation is clear.” That’s some serious bad@$$ dialogue, folks. Realizing that Vision has sided with the mortals, Adaptoid fires a-Hawkeye-inspired explosive arrow, knowing the Vision will go intangible. The resulting explosion sends a hailstorm of deadly debris at the gawking New Yorkers below, but The Vision can switch from offense to defense as well…


Suddenly, it doesn’t seem so bad to have an infallible android watching over them… The Adaptoid quickly realizes that the crowd is Vision’s weakness, and he goes Goliath-sized to exploit it. His feet now the size of city buses, ‘Dappy godzillas his way down the street, laughing that he shall crush the entire city to dust before twisting off Vision’s head like a bottle of Yoo-Hoo. The Vision calmly holds his ground, telling the terrified bystanders, “Try not to panic… I will not allow ANY blood to be spilt today.” The Vision has one power that he seldom uses, a power that doesn’t seem as awesome when he’s teamed with Thor, or Iron Man, or even Goliath, but is formidable in any case…


…his superhuman strength. Adaptoid’s anger is growing out of control, and he strikes his fellow android with an Asgardian-level punch, snarling “Never fought Thor, did you?” Warming up an Iron Man uni-beam blast, he boasts that with all his myriad powers, fighting a single opponent isn’t even a challenge. The Vision calmly responds in kind…


Vizh is completely unfazed, and replies, “Was that your worst? I am unimpressed.” BURRRRN!!! Adaptoid actually seems shaken by this, and blusters some more. Mighty powers, blah blah, all the Avengers, yacketa yacketa, no single foe can stand minnie finnie foo fer faw. Suddenly, he is knocked off his feet by a Black Panther dropkick, and pelted with glue arrows from below. Shouldn’t have mentioned that ‘no single foe’ business, hmm? Adaptoid is really shaken this time, and staggers back…


Did I say ‘glue arrows?’ I meant ‘Big Ol’ KABOOM!’ arrows, as all three pieces of ordnance go off in his silly winged green face. Adaptoid flails wildly, narrowly missing Black Panther, and ranting about his superiority. Vision steps in and rattles his teeth, only to get a shield in the face, ala Captain America, as Hawkeye checks on the Panther…


His systems disrupted, Adaptoid loses all his Avenger powers, and The Vision hurls him to the ground with a curt “I am an Avenger. And you… are finished.” The crowd cheers for their new hero (overcoming Vision’s image problems as “dangerous android”) as SHIELD arrives, dropping off Hank Pym and picking up the Adaptoid husk. The next day, “Josh Charles” returns to his teaching gig, with The Black Panther finding his Delroy experience only strengthening his desire to teach. As for Hawkeye, he finally gets a moment to talk with his sweetie, The Black Widow, and the news is… less positive. She’s committed to keeping her path straight, and working with SHIELD, and Hawkeye finally realizes that it’s over.


They both agree it’s for the best, and she moves on (though she’d later pair up with Daredevil and Hercules) leaving Hawkeye alone. Well, not precisely alone, as he’s one of the remaining Avengers. Hank and Jan are leaving the group to try and fix their marriage (again), Cap and Iron Man show up for just a moment to give Vision, Panther, and Hawk their blessing (though The Black Knight is just around the corner, and Hawkeye would quickly become the new Goliath to add some muscle). The series ends with Iron Man saying that the team is, once again, in good hands…

…so that later, he can murder his best friend and pervert justice. (What, you thought I’d do a recap without busting on Iron Man? That’s like drinking without mocking someone’s mama, it’s simply NOT DONE.) This series rocked. Period. The art is too much, penciller Will Rosado takes old-school designs and keeps them faithful to the time without making it look like antique art, and long-time inker Tom Palmer (who has inked more Avengers than you can shake a stick at) keeping it real. This issue is a prolonged fight scene, and still gives us more character than some books do in four issues, and really solidifies the ‘Avengers 3’ as a solid squad. I’m happy to give this issue 4.5 stars out of 5, and give the whole series a whole-hearted five thumbs up. Now, why didn’t youse guys read the thing, hmm?



About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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