Avengers #22 Review

by Charles Martin on July 31, 2019

Avengers #22 Review
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Stefano Caselli
Colourist: Jason Keith
Letterer: Cory Petit

"Absolute Carnage" Teaser Page
Writer: Clay McLeod Chapman
Artist: Alberto Alburquerque
Colourist: Jay David Ramos
Letterer: Cory Petit

Publisher: Marvel Comics

This issue sounds like an Always Sunny episode title: The Avengers exorcise a demon-car.

It's a credit to the creators (and us readers, too) that an inherently absurd premise like that can play out with an admirable degree of drama. 

Robbie decides the Hell Charger has gotta go after it threatens his little brother Gabe. He brings the problem to his team and they work it in classic Avengers fashion.

It helps that Blade is still in the house. While he's got a hellfire shotgun he's aching to empty into the car, the real weapon he offers is Daimon Hellstrom's phone number. And when you need to meddle with one of the world's most powerful demonic possessions, the Son of Satan is definitely who you want calling the shots. (Sounds sarcastic but it isn't; Hellstrom is the perfect go-to guy for this.)

Continuity nitpick: Blade is curiously ignorant about where Johnny Blaze is these days. Not only did he see Johnny go to Hell in Damnation, but he also came out of that event as part of a team dedicated to rescuing Johnny.

That's about the only questionable bit in Jason Aaron's script. He once again does a formidable job of weaving wide swaths of the Marvel universe together into one compelling story. 

The all-demon all-Ghost-Rider schedule is briefly interrupted by a bit of "next story" foreshadowing. Okoye presents a time-travelling mystery to Thor and Tony: Why is there a fossilized Iron Man helmet buried underneath a War of the Realms battlefield? I can hardly wait to find out.

Scratch that, I can wait for a few issues to see the end of Robbie's exorcism. This story isn't done-in-one - and my Johnny Blaze nitpicks may get more important as the story moves into Hell itself in future issues.

Stefano Caselli provides the art here. His command of characters is masterful and he draws an excellent Hell Charger - a must-have skill for this arc. He also takes blocking cues from past issues of this volume, framing some of the action scenes in explosive "the panels cannot contain it all" arrangements.

Colour responsibilities go to Jason Keith. He invests every scene with high-intensity shades. It's more good visual continuity; this volume has always had bold, bright colours. Mr. Keith also capably handles the extra challenges brought by a protagonist who tends to burst into flame; there's some nuanced lighting work in the scenes where hellfire is at play.

Avengers #22 pits the team against the Hellcharger in an exorcism story that takes itself just the right amount of seriously. It's a fun ride, the stakes feel credible, and the visuals are wonderfully polished. Expanding a single-Avenger story to involve other heroes across multiple issues looks like a bet that will pay off big.

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
Jason Aaron has still got plenty on his plate these days but were things otherwise, I'd love to see what he'd do with a solo Captain Marvel story. This issue drops a fascinating, contentious hint that Daimon Hellstrom believes she has "the stain of Hell" rooted in her soul.