Avengers #36 Review

by Charles Martin on September 30, 2020

Avengers #36 Review
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Javier Garrón
Colourist: Jason Keith
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Marvel took the modestly surprising step of resurrecting Uatu the Watcher not too long ago.

But Uatu's brand of helpful non-interference hasn't disappeared. In this comic's chronologically-first scene, Moon Knight meets the Unseen on the moon. And despite moping a little about his Prime Directive, by the end of the issue, the Unseen will have an enormous, game-changing influence on how this arc plays out.

Uatu would be so proud!

I speak of chronology with intent. This comic has a complex structure, moving from flashback to present to "flashback to earlier but not as much". And I may be mistaken, but it seems to make a fundamental error in its timeline-jumping. After landing in the second flashback, the story proceeds to its satisfying conclusion. But that leaves the "present" section feeling orphaned.

It is a solid story when you set aside the timeline questions. Black Panther brings an impressive physical challenge to Moon Knight. The rest of the Avengers get sufficient attention: Captain Marvel and Iron Man are in space, trying to fly the Starbrand-baby to safety, and the rest of the team rolls up to the battle pyramid to give T'Challa a classic "just a little too late" rescue.

Moon Knight is narrating throughout the comic, and this may be the greatest strength of Jason Aaron's script. It's not so much the prose that impresses, but the way Moon Knight reacts to developments in the big fight. 

Khonshu is there in person, until he isn't. And the presence and then absence of his god has a terrific impact on the way Marc Spector thinks.

Visually, Javier Garrón is having a field day with this issue's mostly-fight content. His dynamic posing gives real weight to the struggle between Black Panther and Moon Knight. His careful rendering of Khonshu's bird-skull head is also impressive; that has to be a skill acquired with intent for this particular story.

Colourist Jason Keith helps out with a high-intensity palette that firmly emphasizes characters over settings. That's a wise choice with this action-heavy script; what is happening here is far more important than where. Mr. Keith also does a great job of bringing an MCU-influenced edge to the Black Panther's costume; he throws both vibrant and subtle purple techno-patterns onto it to show its energy-absorbing powers.

Jason Aaron eventually sticks the core fight into an Iron Fist space, running wild with tags that name the participants' martial arts moves. It's a little too cute for the room, although Moon Knight's continued return to the "Fist of Khonshu" is cool.

On the larger stage, Mr. Aaron is slowly bending all this action together in a vast plot that has a lot to do with his long-running "Cave-Vengers" arc. This issue includes a small but vital moment where Captain Marvel questions Iron Man's recent sojourn in the Cave-Vengers' time; although it doesn't connect the dots, it hints at a magnificent connection to come.

This story arc is playing out exactly as its opening suggested: Very big on the action, not so hot on the deep ponder-ables. Once again, Jason Aaron's Avengers presents itself as a popcorn comic, perfect for the reader looking for thrills who's also willing to set aside questions of logic and continuity. With high-octane art from Javier Garrón helping out, this comic undeniably reaches its intended destination -- though readers who want more than sound and fury out of their Avengers may be a bit disappointed.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
I do love the way Mr. Garrón draws that Starbrand-baby.