What do you get when cross a caveman with the phenomenal cosmic power of the Star Brand? Your Major Spoilers review of Avengers #26 awaits!
Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciler: Dale Keown with Andrea Sorrentino
Inker: Joe Weems, Cam Smith and Craid Yeung with Andrea Sorrentino
Colorist: Jason Keith with Arick Ariniega and Jay David Ramos
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 20, 2019
Previously in Avengers: It’s the secret, savage origin of the biggest, nastiest, most cosmically-powered caveman who ever lived: the original Starbrand, one of the mighty Avengers of One Million B.C.!
I AM *NOT* GOING TO MAKE A CAPTAIN CAVEMAN JOKE
Our story opens some sixty-six million years in the past (after a brief flash back to the origins of life on the planet some FOUR BILLION years ago, as seen in previous issues of this book), showing us the meteor that ended the age of dinosaurs and revealing that it actually… The Star Brand. Thus, that impact was the first White Event, spawning a protector for the Earth in the form of a Star Brand-imbued Tyrannosaurus Rex. It’s… pretty awesome, honestly. We then jump forward another sixty-five million years to find two young men named Brrkk and Vnn living in the lush garden that grew over the impact sight. They’re actually really cute, inventing things like farming while falling in love, all of which seems for naught when Deviants attack from beneath the Earth’s crust. Brrkk is killed, but Vnn finds the body of the Starbrandosaur and takes the power for himself. What happens next is not seen, but when we find Vnn again, he is one of the Avengers of 1,000,000 BC (a concept which is slowly growing on me) and that era’s Phoenix reveals that he will no longer eat any “plants of the ground” and that his first act with infinite power was one of tragic revenge.
A TRULY EXCELLENT COVER
The first thing about this issue that stands out is the really impressive cover, nigh-perfect in its linework and coloring, but the interiors are equally beautiful. It’s been years since I’ve consciously recognized Dale Keown’s art, but I’m going to start watching again, as this issue is remarkable work. From the chaos of mass extinction to two cavemen in love to the sight of a T. Rex breathing cosmic blasts at invading Kree warriors, it’s all just gorgeous. I also enjoy Jason Aaron’s script here, taking the classic Marvel formula of tragic origins to a logical extreme that absolutely SHOULD NOT be logical, nor did I expect to be touched by a concept such as “Cosmic Cro-Magnon.” It’s a really remarkable issue and one that shows just how slow a burn this run of Avengers is determined to be, since these ancient Avengers first appeared nearly two years ago, and their history has been woven into all the narrative since, having seemingly rebuffed the First Celestial Host centuries ago.
BOTTOM LINE: DONE-IN-ONE AND DONE WELL
In short, Avengers #26 has none of the current Avengers team and doesn’t have a single scene set any less than a million years ago and I do not mind a whit, with excellent art and an engaging story combining into a well-deserved 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. I am one of the people who rolled their eyes when Marvel debuted the prehistoric Avengers team, but I fully retract my snark after this issue and want to see more of Vnn/Starbrand and his amazing friends, post-haste.
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It's a remarkable story with excellent art, and even though it's not part of any ongoing storyline, it's as satisfying issue of this book as we've ever gotten.
This is really good.