Avengers #5

by BradBabendir on February 07, 2013

    Before I dive in to talking about the actual comic, I want to get off my chest how bothersome it is, to me, the frequency with which Marvel is publishing their NOW! titles. This is the third Avenger’s title in as many weeks, and New Avengers, closely related and also written by Jonathan Hickman, was also released today. I understand wanting to get content to the fans, but that isn’t what this is: this is a cash-grab, plain and simple. Objectively, it’s good business, but for the company with the highest grossing movie of the year, I’d hope they’d be more respectful of their fans.
    I would have led with that even if I truly felt that all issues that have been released are vital, but they are very clearly opting for quantity over quality. Last week’s Avengers #4 was a paltry, limp issue that felt altogether insubstantial. This week’s is of a better quality, but, at best, feels like it’s put someone treading water in a fancier bathing suit. Hickman is a master of sprawling sci-fi stories, but this run needs a lot more story and a little less sprawl.
    But, with that considered, Smasher’s origin story is compelling enough. It’s not grand nor is it particularly intriguing, but it’s filled in fine with a passable action sequence, and that appears to be about the highest I can ask out of this series at the moment.
    The book’s strongest points, surprisingly for Hickman, are in the small moments between Isabel Dare and both her father and grandfather. She’s made out to be a genuinely good person who cares about those around her and has made a habit, for better or worse, of putting others first. She’s endearing in all the right ways and is made out to be selfless to a fault, which, despite being short sighted, could be argued as an inherent characteristic for superheroes. Either way, the moments without the family pale in comparison to the ones with them.
    The battle appears to be just a page filler, and it’s about exactly what I’ve come to expect from this series. It makes the book move quicker and adds marginal excitement to the proceedings, so I won’t fault them for that.
    At this point, the three issues of New Avengers have been infinitely more compelling, well-written and focused than the five issues of Avengers, and Hickman is going to need to reign it in soon if he wants to keep the quality of the book up. Marvel has handed him the reigns to it’s most popular name, and he is in equal position to prosper and flounder. The worth of not only Hickman’s name, but Marvel’s relaunch as a whole could be riding on this book, and so far, it doesn’t seem like he can take the pressure.
    I say all of this with the caveat that I truly do have faith that Hickman will give fans the bombastic epic that they’re wanting, it’s just not happening yet. His work on Ultimate Comics Ultimates proved he can work with these characters and make them do great things, he’s just going to need to make that tangible.

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