The Avengers have factionalized, splitting into teams Uncanny, Occupied, U.S. and more. But when a threat so great that all Avengers are mobilized arrives from space, it’s time… to ASSEMBLE!
Even the ones who may not really exist… Your Major Spoilers review of Avengers #675 awaits!
Writer: Mark Waid, Al Ewing & Jim Zub
Artist: Pepe Larraz
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
Previously in Avengers: “The Earth has been STOLEN! The sky burns while mysterious cosmic objects crash down from above, wreaking havoc across the world! The Avengers are the last line of defense between Earth and the mysterious forces threatening to tear it apart. It’s time to ASSEMBLE! The teams you know and love from AVENGERS, UNCANNY AVENGERS, U.S.AVENGERS and OCCUPY AVENGERS come together to face a threat beyond any they’ve faced before in a weekly epic adventure that will define the future of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!”
This story opens in a way I greatly appreciate, on a mission with Miguel Santos (AKA Lightning, the former Living Lightning, one of the more minor Avengers in history) to bust a car-thieving ring. He manages to bring down the chop shop, but the sky suddenly opens up and all hell breaks loose. The Avengers montage begins, and it’s surprisingly effective: The Falcon fights in Manhattan, quickly joined by his teammates. The Uncanny Avengers work to stop a tidal wave on the West Coast. Sunspot’s U.S. Avengers team works to keep Mount Vesuvius from erupting again and covering Europe with ash. From her vantage point in space, Captain Marvel realizes that the entire Earth is suddenly just… gone. Worse still, Edwin Jarvis is critically injured in a heroic attempt to save innocents. It’s giant-crossover 101, until Captain American and The Black Panther suddenly freeze in place. Then more heroes suddenly stop: Spider-Man, The X-Men, Squirrel Girl and more are somehow locked in time, leaving Rogue as the only remaining leader of a ragtag group of heroes from each Avengers team, as well as The Beast, Wonder Man and the aforementioned Lightning. The heroes assemble at Avengers Mansion to assess the situation, but things quickly spiral out of control until one last Avenger arrives, the only founder not frozen, dead or bonded-to-a-mad-synthezoid: VOYAGER!
WHO IS VOYAGER?
With the Avengers going weekly for this massive crossover (or, more honestly, the existing Avengers titles rotating each week), it’s clear that Marvel hopes to have the Next Big Thing on their hands. In the plus column, this issue does a great job of getting us into the action, and the character work is well-done throughout. Even the brief interactions with our spotlight heroes make it clear who they are and what their whole deal is, especially helpful in a book with this many players. The “hero that readers don’t know about but who was totally there from the very beginning, you guys” trick is well-and-truly shopworn, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be executed well, even if Voyager turns out to be nothing more than another trickster messing with space/time. The biggest weakness of the issue is one of volume: The pared-down emergency roster seen at the end of this issue is still 16 heroes, and the scale of the emergency means that many of them don’t get much more than a quick line-reading. The art is… interesting, with some noteworthy flaws: Rogue’s head, for instance, seems too small for her body, while her hair is a massive cloud. Similar proportional issues pop up here and there throughout the story, but the wide-screen chaos is well rendered, and the final-page reveal of our Lost Avenger is perfectly executed.
THE BOTTOM LINE: THEY HAVE MY ATTENTION
Since Secret Wars, I’ve been pretty sporadic in my reading of all of Marvel’s books, and of the Avengers titles, I’m really only up to speed on U.S. Avengers, but this issue managed to get my attention, reminding me of the first issue of Infinity Gauntlet back in the day, with its huge cast and world-spanning action. Waid, Zub and Ewing seem to have no problems working together in these pages, with everything working as one smooth story even with time to remind us that Enigma and Iron Patriot are dating or that The Falcon just gave up his Captain America gig, but still leads the adjectiveless Avengers team. In short, Avengers #675 gets the job done, setting up the big threat, taking time to assemble some characters who need a little screentime and love, and does so with mostly solid art, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall. Based only on this chapter, I’m cautiously optimistic about the ‘No Surrender’ crossover and hope that we get more of Lightning and the other characters before Captain America, Black Panther and the movie-squad return to bask in all the glory…