Avengers #12 Review

by Charles Martin on January 09, 2019

Avengers #12 Review
Writer: Jason Aaron
Pencillers: Ed McGuinness & Cory Smith
Inkers: Mark Morales, Karl Kesel & Scott Hanna
Colourist: Erick Arciniega
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

I hope you haven't worn yourself out oohing and aahing at all the new characters and plot hooks the Avengers have delivered in the last couple of issues, because #12 shows the title's not finished laying out chess pieces - not by a long shot.

At last, we get to meet the Agents of Wakanda! Are these the new Secret Avengers? The marketing bumf says "maybe," but this busy comic says "no." (If you'd prefer a passionate, spinoff-ready "yes," Thor #9 is the comic you're looking for.) 

Avengers #12 a ton of fun and it introduces a lot of cool people, but it actually takes great pains not to set up a spinoff series. And I think that's the smart choice.

For a start, there's a scale problem. You look at the cover and you see five new heroes (and Zabu, who's sorely missed inside!) behind the Black Panther. Looks like a team for sure!

Read the comic and meet six additional Agents of Wakanda. Plus another vampire specialist besides the much-foreshadowed Blade. Plus three more heroes mentioned in passing as prospective Agents.

Plus Odin isn't an agent; he's more of an informal strategy adviser. And not an entirely welcome one. I deeply - deeply - love that T'Challa cuts off Odin before he can tell another of his "caveman stories."

By my count, this comic has about 13 Agents and associates to plow through, and that's not counting T'Challa's significant presence in the book. The script goes all-in on characters and cuts plot development to a bare minimum: While international unrest burbles on the back burner, this issue makes it clear that the Avengers have major vampire trouble on deck.

Does anybody want odds on the "Vampire Civil War" plot setting up No Road Home? Or do you think that'll be a completely different crisis?

I'm always a little leery when an art team gets as big as this issue's crew. But all the collaborators interlock smoothly. I suppose with a jeweller's loupe and too much time, you could use differing shadow weights to split the pages up by inker. But it would be a pointless effort; while you're reading, the visuals roll seamlessly along.

The colour palette is handled well, though the overall shading is a little surprising. For a book set mainly in the Arctic (with interludes in orbit), it leans heavily on warm reds and yellows. The overall effect suits the script's emphasis on character interactions.

A nonstop cavalcade of guest-star introductions is the dream gig for these artists. With 13 Agents and friends, almost everybody gets at least one snazzy panel, and some folks get more. Ka-Zar's introduction is the big winner, combining script and art to paint a perfect picture of him: diving into Atlantis alone, armed only with a knife, a loincloth, and overwhelming confidence.

Avengers #12 slows the wheels of the plot down to introduce twice as many Agents of Wakanda as we were expecting. While it does feel like a digression, it's a very fun one, and the ever-expanding cast helps emphasize again just how big this volume of the Avengers is.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
About the only introduction this issue fumbles is the hypothetically-sinister "Shadow Colonel." He's no Red Widow, but then, it's still early days for him.