Avengers: No Road Home #4 Review

by Charles Martin on March 06, 2019

Avengers: No Road Home #4 Review
Writers: Jim Zub, Mark Waid & Al Ewing
Artist: Sean Izaakse
Colourist: Marcio Menyz
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

The fourth issue of No Road Home smoothly transitions to a new art team by building a big viewpoint shift into the script: It's time to hear Nyx's story from her own lips.

Hers isn't the most novel of origins - she was a primordial dark-god ruling the blackness that came before the universe. You may recognize that as the same line of patter Donny Cates used for the Symbiote god, Knull, in the current volume of Venom. He hardly invented it; that's just the latest Marvel example that pops into my mind.

Nyx's story is so familiar that this issue has to fight me into engaging with it. Fortunately, it's supplied with gobs of storytelling talent to get the job done. No Road Home #4 is a comic polished enough and clever enough to restore my flagging interest and get me hooked on the series all over again.

The visuals match the epic tone of Nyx's narration. They're loud, splashy, and iconic. This feeling extends into the palette; each page is finely coloured like an independent work of art. 

The lines on those pages do not disappoint. Previous issues did good work with Nyx's children; this mythological origin story allows them to truly flourish. The designs are gorgeous and each page is laid out with the same sense of high drama used by the previous art team.

This issue's script aims at very ambitious structural goals. Nyx's origin unfolds alongside the contemporary struggles of the Avengers, and timing the scene transitions carefully builds thematic links between past and present. It's a successful effort, and Nyx's gravitas extends into the Avengers' story. 

#4 recaptures the blockbuster bigness of the title's 1st issue.

That achievement isn't entirely positive, though. Visually and narratively, the conscious push toward the mythic and iconic comes at a cost. The Avengers become the supporting cast in their own title, and the few actions they take on-page are overshadowed (intentional wordplay!) by Nyx. Her point of view skips us right past important developments between the Hulk's team and Nightmare - though at the end of this issue, they look poised to dominate the next one.

The art team's commitment to epic-scale storytelling is another costly achievement. Nyx's story does produce beautiful pages and some eye-popping double spreads. Things have gotten too big to ground the story in terms of "Avengers in a room fighting a battle," though. Beautiful as the visuals are, they feel unreal and adrift from solid settings. I guess that's appropriate for a fable told to us by an ancient goddess.

Telling Nyx's story in her own words gives the creators of No Road Home #4 an excuse to go as big as possible with their storytelling. It's a successful and fascinating gambit, and it recaptures the huge scale this title had at its outset. Pulling the focus so far away from the Avengers is risky, though. This series has collected its heroes, established its conflict, and now explained its antagonists. The next step must be "the heroes accomplish something meaningful," or No Road Home is in serious trouble.

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
Seriously, if Hulk doesn't Smash some night-gods soon, I'm gonna lose it over here.