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Review: Avengers #30 (Hickman and Yu)

Following a great issue of Avengers that really worked, here in Avengers #30 we have an example of when writer Jonathan Hickman’s long-term plotting just does not seem to work.

After the brief conflict between Cap and the Avengers and Tony Stark and his armors, which I relished, this jaunt into the future with the Future Hawkeye (chip on his shoulder, shades of Cap’s Kooky Quartet!) and holier-than-thou hero iterations really leaves me flat, especially after those Pym-less “New” Avengers from the world now fused with 616 Earth. How many storm hammers are there??

Of course, the packaging for this cosmic confusion is great, and I could not be happier that Leinil Yu has returned to pencil these event tie-ins. His pencils are stellar and his storytelling is first rate, especially when teamed with the inks of Gerry Alanguilan.

But you have to open any package at some point, and this issue of Avengers was hardly worth its price tag, IMHO.

I love Hickman’s storytelling and long-range plots, but there is definitely something missing in Avengers #30. I think it is the story.

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Review: Avengers #29 (Hickman)

Avengers writer and cosmic opus architect Jonathan Hickman has taken us so far into the future, apparently, that we are back in the Marvel past. Cap, as we knew he would, has discovered he has been the mind puppet of the Illuminati, and it is Civil War all over again, Cap vs. IronMan. And still, we do not know which side is right and which side is wrong.

If you are familiar with the way Hickman writes his long-term stories, you know this was a direction he was obviously heading from some early flashbacks of Cap while he and Stark are first building the extant Avengers Machine. What was less obvious was what had happened and how, all of a sudden, we only had ONE Assembler rubbing elbows with Black Bolt, Reed Richards and Namor.

There is a hefty dose of recap here that is probably not needed, but there is also excitement, the thrill that happens when two symbols of right go at each other and, with that suspense of disbelief, it seems to the fanboy inside us something BIG is gonna happen, something that may be permanent.

As usual, Leinil Yu does the same great job he did during the Infinity side stories. I must say the art bar on this Avengers book has remained excessively high.

Hickman’s cosmic opus continues, and I could not be happier!

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Review: Avengers #23 (Hickman and Yu)

Tight, tense, human drama, cosmic action.

Avengers #23, an Infinity tie-in, is a textbook example of how to write a gripping space opus. Maybe I should not exactly say “textbook,” because it has been awhile since I have read a complex space yarn taking place in the Marvel Universe. I believe it was called … The Thanos Imperative.

Writer Jonathan Hickman, who warned us early we would be heading to the LCS for back issues if we did not hang on as he spun his long-form sci-fi superhero yarn, called it, and there were many there Wednesday digging through the stacks to see what had gone before, what they had missed.

A lot. Whole pieces of a cosmic jigsaw puzzle, and only one corner is starting to take form as I am sure there is lots of cosmic action to come.

This issue finds the Avengers and their alien allies returning to Earth for one more battle as they set their sites on Thanos. Meanwhile, we have some great character moments in here, with Super Skrull, Gladiator, Ronan, even Annihilus. Whatever you say about the state of today’s Marvel Cosmic, no fault can be found in the Hickman brand and he is certainly universe building. The fact that he can do this and not make it seem Earth-centric is a wonder in and of itself.

Leinil Yu has done a wonderful job with these Avengers issue Infinity tie-ins, and God only knows how beautiful the aliens and space battles have been. As a matter of fact, the art has been supreme through several rotations as Hickman’s saga began spinning in #1 with the intro of Ex-Nihilio and Abyss.

Now do not get me wrong. In this issue, some of the characters came off a bit “posey” and some usual detail was kinda lacking, but colorists Sunny Gho and Paul Mounts keep it cosmic and I really have no major complaints.

So once again, it is the Avengers vs. Thanos as the ultimate Infinity issue beckons. My money is on Earth being … an Avengers World.

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Review: Avengers #22 (Hickman and Yu)

[Editor’s note: Read Infinity #5, on sale this week, before reading Avengers #22.]

It was all about coming home, to a conquered Earth, after the heroes of that planet had given their all to save the universe from a great threat, one world at a time.

It was all about the people, the men and women underneath the masks, be they “gods and men and every creature in between,” and how they felt as they found that their homecoming was turning into yet another battle to save a world: their own.

It was all about allies, made in the heat of war and made during the loss of life. Their lives, beings they did know and entities they did not. The fallen, the survivors, the many and few.

With Avengers #22, an Infinity tie-in, writer Jonathan Hickman does one of his best character studies and most emotional issues of all time. For those who had forgotten such moments during his legendary Fantastic Four run, Hickman reminds us that just because he plots long-term and writes brilliant science fiction stories in the form of episodic comics does not mean the pieces on his chess board are unfeeling wood.

However it has changed NOW, this is Marvel and Marvel characters live and breathe and feel and, in many instances, die. Even in science fiction.

The scene between Cap, Carol and Eden was good, but the follow-up with Manifold and Thor was so much better because of it, giving our God of Thunder a depth he seldom attains.

So too the beginning scene with Sam, Izzy and Bobby. You have to flash back to New Mutants days — if you can. Wow!

For those scenes, and the brilliant space scenes in between beautifully brought to life by Leinil Yu and Gerry Alanguilan, Hickman has now made Infinity and its Avengers sides not only into THE Marvel Cosmic event of our present time but a very human adventure as well.

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Advanced Review: Superior #7 (of 7)

Simon Pooni was just your average boy. Smart, outgoing, captain of the basketball team, but one day his whole world changed when he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. A ravaged body left him in a wheelchair, broken but not beaten. His world had been changed once already — soon it would change again!

Mark Millar gives us his all in the long awaited finale of Superior! Intense action sequences, that will rock the senses, hit you from page one. It is the undaunting barrage of earth shattering battles that will pique your interest, but it is the heart of the Simon Pooni character that will hold sway over you. A boy that has endured so much, must now make the ultimate decision — sell his immortal soul to a demon, in order to become Superior again, or watch as the world is torn asunder!

It is moving how Millar has created a character that — in every essence of his being — is a hero. He was given an average life, then it was taken away. He was given a boon to become something truly amazing, then it was taken away. Now, he has been asked to give even more of himself, so much more than even he can comprehend! The character of Simon is built from the essence of everything that is great in the world of comics. He is a nostalgic look at what came before and a glimpse of what could come again. Millar creates a pure homage to the iconic vision of Superman, while modernizing it without tarnishing it’s integrity.

It took FOREVER for this book to come out, but the wait is now over! It is a blockbuster of a finale, one that will make you think you’re watching a summer action film instead of reading a comic book! But that’s exactly what Mark Millar does on each issue he writes! He creates something that makes you ponder just how good the industry could be if half the talent — had half his talent!

As the cover says, “The gloves are finally off!” Truer words were never spoken!

“Superior” #7 provided by friend of Cosmic Book News.

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