The united Avengers have survived first contact with the Multiversal Masters of Evil, but it’s always darkest before things get completely pitch black. Your Major Spoilers review of Avengers #64 from Marvel Comics awaits!
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Javier Garron
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 4, 2023
Previously in Avengers: The Avengers wage their final bloody showdown with the Multiversal Masters of Evil for the fate of prehistoric Earth and the entire Marvel Age of Heroes. Not everyone will survive. Meanwhile, Tony Stark must face his greatest enemy: his own father, the Iron Inquisitor.
WAR IS HELL
As Avengers #64 opens, Iron Man’s internal chronometer informs him that he has been fighting for NINE STRAIGHT DAYS, and still King Killmonger threatens reality itself. Since the battle is taking place on Earth, in the prehistoric past, Tony worries that they might be irrevocably altering the timeline, but before he can deal with that, he is forced into a confrontation with another of the Masters: HIs own father, Howard Stark. Now Mephisto’s damned Iron Inquisitor, Howard tries to offer a truce, saying that the Stark family should be the ones to rebuild after the gods and monsters finish their battle. The gambit is transparent, but the electromagnetic pulse that the Inquisitor prepared is much more successful. While the Starks solve their family conflict, Phoenix faces down the Dark Phoenix, insisting that the cosmic force within them both wants to do good, rather than evil. Their battle crosses the boundaries of space and time, with Dark Phoenix taking the fall. The Black Skull falls to Captain America, Thor, Odin, and Captain Marvel, while Tony and Howard figure out once and for all who is the better man.
A SPOTLIGHT FOR TONY
The thing that disappoints me about this issue is that FOUR of the Multiversal Masters of Evil are dispatched or incapacitated in these pages, making for a bit of anti-climax after the massive build to this crossover. That said, it’s not unsatisfying to see them laid low, and given the powers at play here (cosmic forces, gods, intergenerational trauma), you can see the thought process behind it all. The first four issues of Avengers Forever still have a number of unanswered questions and unresolved plots as it is, so resolving some of the story points just in time for Doom-Above-All to make his move is just good storytelling. Speaking of which, Garron’s art provides some impressive moments of its own, with Steve Rogers striking the decisive blow on the Black Skull, Thanos possessed by a Venom-symbiote, and the Phoenixes and Starbrands of history uniting to support Echo/Phoenix in battling her evil counterpart (who is revealed to be a version of Raven “Mystique” Darkholme). There are a couple of moments that lacked clarity (the reveal of the person under the cowl of Dark Phoenix required multiple reads to fully grasp, while I’m still not sure how Thor and Odin beat Thanos), but the cliffhanger ending still works for me.
BOTTOM LINE: A LOT OF ACTION AND A TWIST ENDING
The fact that this is part four of Aaron’s twelve-part final story makes the sheer number of things that happen in Avengers #64 feel a little bit abrupt, but well-handled dramatic moments abound, and the art is impressive throughout most of the issue, making for a better than average 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. The Joe-Bob totals so far include a Ghost Rider dead, another depowered, a fallen Deathlok, three dead Multiversal Masters, and one Stark covered in the blood of another, so fans of all-out battle should be satisfied, but I recommend this one to any Avengers fan looking for a big blowout.
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The focus is on Iron Man here, and that's alright, but the MMoE going down this quickly is a bit anticlimactic.