The menace that has been building since Avengers #1 has finally arrived, as The Builders sweep across the galaxy, their goal unknown. The Avengers have set off to confront them, but things have not gone according to plan, and Captain Marvel and half the team has been captured. Can Captain America convince the galactic council to assist them?
Galaxy-spanning crossover feels galactic.
Impressively balanced group of heroes.
Yu’s art is off-putting and scratchy.
Galaxy-spanning crossover feels familiar.
Writer: Jonathan HIckman
Artist: Leinil Francis Yu
Colorist: Sunny Gho
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor(s): Tom Brevoort with Lauren Sankovitch
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Avengers: Things is gettin’ heated in outer space, and Captain Marvel has once again channeled her cosmic Binary powers, which were enough to keep herself and her team alive, but not out of the clutches of the enemy. War, huh? Good god, son, what is it good for?
Sellin’ comics, if the Diamond numbers are to be believed.
The issue opens with Carol Danvers, in custody of The Builders, along with her team (Sunspot, Cannonball, Starbrand, Nightmask, Abyss, Hawkeye and Captain Universe.) Making the issue a bit complicated is the fact that The Builders created Ex Nihilo (who is himself now an Avenger) and one of the main villains is another of their creations, a female version of him called Ex Nihila. It’s a complex conceit, made more difficult as The Avengers try to negotiate with the Galactic Council, some of whom are alien and look like the builders. It’s a failing of Yu’s art, at least to my eye, as many of the alien characters sort of blur together in a vaguely insectoid motif, and having several other guys in yellow suits with Omegas on their chests appear in cameo roles doesn’t help with identification issues, either. While The Builders prepare to interrogate/experiment with Captain Marvel, Captain America faces the central galactic council, which now includes Star-Lord’s father, J-Son of the Spartax. J-Son is particularly hateful towards the Earth-born heroes, leading to a terrific moment where the Kree Supreme Intelligence dryly points out that their various wars in the universe have led to the human contingent being considerably MORE effective against Kree soldiers than the Spartax. “I think,” says Supremor, “that we should listen to what the Captain has to say.”
SOME CONFUSING STUFF GOING ON, THOUGH.
One of the council makes a huge mistake and contacts the Builders, allowing the aliens to attack the Council’s position (Okay, fine, it’s J-Son, and he’s an utter prick about it, too), leaving us uncertain as the issue ends of the safety of any of our teams. I like how Hickman has folded in concepts from across the breadth and depth of the Marvel Universe for this galactically powered Avengers squad, and the fact that Ex Nihilo and Abyss have actually joined the team is somewhat pleasing after the events of the first 12 or so issues of the book. Finding that the Builders are more of a threat than we expected is nicely handled, but I’m still a little foggy on what in the world the threat to Earth is about, as well as how they’re able to dampen the powers of Binary/Captain Marvel, Starbrand and Captain Universe, each of whom is a Person of Mass Destruction of utterly terrifying levels. Making the confusion worse is Yu’s super-sketchy art style, which forces me to stop and scrutinize for several seconds every time a character appears who doesn’t wear a chest symbol or a signature color. I’ve never been a fan of his work, but this issue is particularly murky from a visual standpoint.
THE BOTTOM LINE: IF WE *HAD* TO HAVE A CROSSOVER…
Realistically speaking, the Marvel Universe has been preternaturally active over the last ten years or so, with barely any downtime between battle sequences, which does damage my enjoyment of this issue and the big Infinity morass. On the one hand, I like Hickman and what he’s doing, on the other hand, it feels like a slightly updated ‘Operation: Galactic Storm’ or Kree/Skrull War. All in all, though, Avengers #19 manages to overcome some of the weaknesses inherent in the art, but doesn’t quite justify itself as more than just a chapter in the big picture story of Infinity, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall.