Or – “The Savage Land Is A Harsh Mistress…”
Ex Nihilo’s plot to terrform the Earth into something different has borne some strange fruit, including a group of children in the Savage Land of Antarctica who don’t eat, don’t sleep, and seem to consist of an entirely novel form of life. Sad, then, that last issue, they were taken under the wing of noted geneticist and total doolally The High Evolutionary. Things just got real… Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
Weird and lyrical.
Impossible to keep up with publishing schedule…
Writer(s): Jonathan Hickman with Nick Spencer
Artist: Mike Deodato
Colorist: Frank Martin
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Tom Brevoort with Lauren Sankovitch
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Avengers: One of Ex Nihilo’s pods has crashed in the Savage Land, catalyzing the creation of a group of unusual children. The Avengers each deal with them differently; Thor teaching them of heroes, Superior Spider-Man teaching them of power, Hawkeye and Spider-Woman teaching them how to tan. But it is the man known as Hyperion who takes the most emotional response, trying to teach the strange unsleeping child-machines of how to live in a world that’s not yours. Now that the High Evoutionary has taken them, though, will the children’s teaching all be for naught?
WHEELS WITHIN WHEELS.
As the issue opens, the Avengers find all their vast powers meaningless in trying to find half a dozen zebra-children, while The High Evolutionary prepares to use them for unknown purposes. For decades, Herbert Wyndham has floated around the periphery of the Marvel Universe, but his appearances have been rare and fascinating enough that his appearance last time ’round actually caused me to gasp out loud. HIckman & Spencer manage to balance the overarching plot (Earth is evolving into something different) while locking the characters in wonderful interactions. The interactions between Thor and Hyperion are simply marvelous (no pun intended) and Superior Spider-Man’s every word is dripping with condescension and contempt, reminding us all that this ain’t Peter Parker while making him interesting and well-rounded at the same time. When Garokk the Petrified Man arrives to help the Avengers, it’s clear that the creative team has thought out what really might happen to the greater Marvel Universe when Ex Nihilo’s plot started to roll.
A LOVELY SUPERMAN STORY IS HIDDEN IN THESE PAGES.
Hyperion’s addition to the Avengers initially bothered me, making me think that Hickman was trying to do an overt Justice League analogue, but this issue and last have put my fears to rest. Hyperion takes a clear parental interest in the children, and when he confronts the H.E., it’s a moment that is driven by human concern, and a really well-done sequence. Deodato’s art is gorgeous here, taking all of the best hallmarks of his Civil War-era work while clearing out the kinks (the scratchiness and the “stunt-casting” are both gone) that used to bug me. There’s an all-out Avengers fight, some cosmic strangeness from Captain Universe, and a truly interesting climax, but the star of the book is a scene with Thor and Hyperion. The god and the solar-powered Dynamo sit on a hillside and talk about the oncoming storm, their perspectives on life, and Hyperion’s new lease on life. “My life’s most significant moment was no longer the death of my world,” thinks Hype, “but the gaining of a new one.” It’s a great ending, and one that makes me really like (and fear for) the man known as Zhib-Ran.
THE BOTTOM LINE: LOVELY STUFF THAT LOOKS AMAZING.
Hickman’s Avengers hasn’t been getting blockbuster attention, something that I attribute to the publishing frequency of the book, as we’re getting something like 3 issues per month. It’s a shame, really, because this series is as transformative as his Fantastic Four was on a much larger scale that affects many more characters. Avengers #13 is a great issue, even with my complaints about its frequency, and absolutely deserves it’s 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. This is the Avengers book I never knew I always wanted…