Yeesh, this was one hell of a disappointing ending to the story that’s been happening since #1. Even though Gillen pointed out how stupid it was to have ‘love’ end up saving the day, it didn’t stop it being incredibly stupid when that happened. Making fun of a cliché is still doing a cliché, and this was pretty bad. And that’s not even mentioning what went on with Loki in this issue.
Gillen seems to reveal that almost all of this was part of his plan, and that the likes of Leah, Ultimate Nullifier and Noh-Varr’s league of evil exes weren’t real, but just holograms created by Loki. This sort of makes sense, but the way it’s revealed doesn’t. He just stops the fight, reveals his treachery and they all disappear, and he mopes on the floor. But none of the other Young Avengers seem that bothered by what he did, and he still helps them un-tangle Hulkling. Maybe my confusion comes from having not read Journey Into Mystery, and not being clear about which Loki did all of these things. Is the Loki that sided with Mother the current one? Or is it the original evil one? I really don’t get it, can anyone explain?
After this, Hulkling is given a pep talk by Prodigy about why it doesn’t really matter if he only loves Wiccan (or hell, that he only exists) because Wiccan manipulated him to, because that love is still real, which I personally don’t buy. Gillen is this close to doing something really interesting with Wiccan as a character (something I thought nigh-impossible) by making him an unwitting villain, but he doesn’t commit to it, and it’s a real shame. It also makes me think less of Hulkling as a character, that he’s willing to accept this possible manipulation, and the same goes for Prodigy too. All these characters are bending to the whims of a whiny emo for no real reason other than that it turns out Wiccan really is the incredibly special boy of destiny who saves the world. It’s just sickeningly terrible. He and Hulking kiss, which allows him to become the full-on Demiurge, defeat Mother and save the day.
Oh yeah, and in amongst all this, Fake Patriot has somehow become a poor-man’s version of the already annoying Lying Cat from Saga. Still no answers about the location of the more interesting Maximoff brother though, Speed, save us from your annoying brother’s solipsism!
So, Wiccan beats Mother through the power of love, and even though the writing here is bad, McKelvie and Norton bust out some more amazing, experimental stuff here, with Wiccan basically breaking the Fourth Wall and walking above the pages of the previous issues, which was very cool indeed.
Mother may be gone, but her army of alternate reality knock-offs is still there, but Miss America convinces them that it’s in their best interests to return home, in a moment that almost gives her some semblance of characterization, but is really just more of the same weak-sauce treatment she’s had all series. She wears cool clothes, is a bad-ass, and has a strange flirtation with Loki, that’s it. Once again, it pisses me off no end that characters with a lot of potential have all been left underdeveloped to focus on Wiccan, and how this whole story has somehow tried to make his self-centredness a good thing. We don’t even get a proper break-up scene between Hawkeye and Noh-Varr, just her giving him back his alien bow and some awkward facial expressions. McKelvie depicts it well, but it’s another demonstration of how these characters are all surface, and the only ones given any focus are Wiccan and Loki.
That’s what this whole series is, missed potential, it has a great creative team, a great cast, and, as I said, it was on the verge of exploring some very interesting stuff with Wiccan and his powers, but in the end, it didn’t live up to any of it. It focused too much on the least interesting characters, it played it safe with Wiccan, perhaps to avoid infuriating the ‘shippers’, I don’t know, and hell, it didn’t even really do anything with the army of teen superheroes assembled last time, they get 1 page and we see about 5 of them.
Hopefully the final two issues, which will be smaller stories in a kind of ‘Phonogram: Singles Club’ tribute, will be better than this main run, and allow for the likes of Miss America and Hawkeye to be more than just cool costumes and quips, and maybe, just maybe, this series can right the ship right at the end. And, unlike in my Spider-Man review, I don’t mean that pun, shipping and Tumblr have ruined this series.