I’m loving how Hickman is finally letting all of the various balls he threw up in the air at the start of his run drop, and how they are all dropping right on the Avengers’ heads at the same time. This issue was crazy-packed with cool moments.
The immediate threat to the Avengers is the weird Robot dude who woke up on AIM Island and flew right at them. This Robot of course kicks all of their asses. On top of this, you’ve got AIM attempting to recapture the Robot (using the same piece of kit that brought Hyperion into the Marvel Universe I think), the Space-Knights are involved somehow, and sooner or later the New Universe guys are going to get involved.
I loved the scenes between Starbrand and Nightmask, and how it slowly became clear just how powerful these characters are. It takes longer for the brain to evolve than the body, and Kevin is now gaining some kind of super intelligence, or cosmic awareness. I loved how it was revealed that they could escape at any time, that they are so much stronger than the Avengers thought. I’m guessing the fact that these scenes are set ‘weeks ago’ means that Starbrand and Nightmask will come to save the day next issue. But I’m probably wrong.
Oh yeah, and to make things even worse for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the stress of dealing with so many problems all at once causes Bruce Banner to Hulk out right there on the Helicarrier. It never rains but it pours.
My only real problem with this story is that the Avengers aren’t really characters in it, they are just there to react to insane shit and barely actually do anything. I know we already know most of these characters inside-out, but it’s hard to care about the actual team at this point. I thought Hickman was doing a lot better at balancing characterisation and plot recently, perhaps thanks to Nick Spencer’s dialogue, but this issue was not about the Avengers, it was about all the threats. Plus, what does any of this have to do with Infinity!!? Stefano Caselli’s artwork continues to be an unabashed delight though, he’s such a consummate superhero artist, I have no complaints there.