Or – “Continuing The Unorthodox Adventures Of The New A-Squad…”
The first 12 issues of this book (all published in the last 5 months) have done a lot of really cosmic and existential things with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including placing them up against a foe that can’t just get punched into submission. As the very planet rises up against the heroes, they’re having to find new ways to deal with the offspring of Ex Nihilo’s plan, but will they be able to evolve? Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
Writer(s): Jonathan Hickman & Nick Spencer
Artist: Mike Deodato
Colorist: Frank Martin
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Artist(s) Dustin Weaver and Justin Ponsor/Danial Acuna
Editor(s): Tom Brevoort with Lauren Sankovitch
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously, in Avengers: Ex Nihilo has terraformed the planet Mars as his staging ground to take over the Earth as he has so many planets before. But unlike his previous attempts at artistry, the transformation of the Earth has been given a new twist: sentience for the the planet itself. Whether he’s on the up-and-up or not, the Avengers have a strange new challenge ahead of them, starting with the legendary Savage Land…
THOR IS AFRAID.
This issue opens with some of the neatest expositioning ever, as Thor finds himself preoccupied with the harbingers of the future, and the prophecies of doom for the whole planet. Iron Man arrives to discuss with him the situation, and we’re shown that the I.M. in this series is a new prototype of Stark’s, a long-range remote unit to allow him to be in this book while also spending time in space in his own title and Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s nice, but not as nice as Thor’s reaction: “Of course I know [space], Anthony. Mjolnir was forged in the heart of a star.” It’s wonderful, underlining not only their friendship, but the amount of patience that the immortal Asgardian must have with his young Avenger pals, bouncing around like the little dog in the Warner Brothers cartoons. In any case, the kids in the Savage Land are on both of their minds, as the exogenesis of Ex Nihilo has created children who do not breath, eat, drink or sleep, kids who are something like Thor’s own people. The Lion of Asgard and the new Hyperion agree to head to the Antarctic to serve as teachers…
Though Hickman’s work is lauded for it’s big, cosmic plots, this issue provides many quiet and wonderful moments, with Superior Spider-Man teaching them about trust (“It is to be exploited.”), Hawkeye and Spider-Woman teaching them about responsibility (by leaving them to their own devices as they sunbathe), and a deep conversation between the two caped nigh-immortals. It’s very strange to see a Superman analogue in a Marvel book, but unlike the Sentry’s time as an Avenger, this one is actually intriguing rather than just a cipher to throw things in the sun. Hype and Thor have a deep discussion while sending the Savage Land children off on a heroic quest, and try to teach them a little bit about heroism. As the issue ends, one of Marvel’s old-school villains returns, one whose identity should be somewhat implied by the title of the issue: “Evolve.” Deodato’s art is excellent throughout, especially in his facial expressions, but the final panel reveal is exceptional even compared to the rest of the issue…
THE BOTTOM LINE: OH. CRAP.
That last page left me with a chill, working perfectly within the scope of the book, but most importantly, giving us a believable reason for the villain of the piece to be there. The characters get their spotlight this time around, with more light shone on the new cloud-cuckoo-lander Captain Universe, as well as Hyperion, Thor and a lovely showcase for Spider-Man’s new attitude. Avengers #12 works as a narrative, as well as a single issue, and has lovely art throughout, combining the Avengers we know with something new and different, successfully navigating tough waters to earn 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. If you’re wondering what new ground can be sown after 50 years of the same characters, this book is the place for you…
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!