This is the first issue of Avengers that is co-written by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Spencer, and I personally didn’t notice any change in the quality level of the book. I perhaps would put down some of the humour here down to Spencer, but then the last issue that was all-Hickman had parts like that too. Hickman has a very heavy-workload at the moment both at Marvel and with his creator-owned stuff, that if working with Spencer can help him keep up, then I don’t mind it at all.
This issue picks up a plotline from #4, which is the weird zebra-skinned kids that appeared in the Savage Land after the Origin Bomb. Iron Man (I liked how Hickman revealed that Iron Man wasn’t actually there, it’s a good way to avoid confusion between his presence here and being off in space in his own title and Guardians Of The Galaxy) is concerned that these kids seem to have to no need to sleep, no need to eat, no need to breathe. If you don’t need anything, what kind of person will you become? Evil? So the Avengers go to the Savage Land to try and teach these kids lessons to stop them from being amoral dickbags.
I really liked how Hickman and Spencer kept the focus on two members of the team who are similar to these kids, the immortal Thor and Hyperion. The discussion between these two characters was very interesting indeed. The large cast of this title means that it can be 3 or 4 issues before a character even appears, let alone gets some development, but Hickman and Spencer make their time count. The aforementioned moments of humour from Superior Spider-Man and Hawkeye and Spider-Woman were also excellent, you can see why Clint and Jessica are about the break up in the pages of Hawkeye.
The artwork from Mike Deodato was probably the best we’ve seen so far in his three and a half issues. I like that Frank Martin is doing something different with the colouring of his work, it makes it look fantastic. The ending of this issue brings the High Evolutionary into the mix, he’s always a villain I have a hard time caring about, but I do think that Hickman could make him work, he’s just the kind of big picture, philosophical villain that suits his style. This title just builds and builds with each new issue, after only 12 issues, Hickman has built a whole new world for the Avengers, which is awesome but at times frustrating. I hope that the Infinity crossover brings some more focus, but since each individual chapter has been good lately, I’m not too bothered.