Marvel’s double-shipping policy is bad in a lot of ways, but one title I think it really helped is Hickman’s Avengers. With 2 issues a month, Hickman got through a lot of stuff and it made his often drawn-out plotting work a lot better. Now that we’re back down to being monthly (although Avengers World is filling the gap) the same kind of storytelling feels much slower, and the momentum has completely gone. It’s a shame, because as I said, it’s still the same book, and this current story is good. It’s just a shame it feels like it’s taking so much longer.
Hickman begins with a fascinating meeting between the Marvel Universe’s Bruce Banner and the evil alternate reality version. This conversation reveals a lot of cool details about this alternate reality. This version of Banner was lobotomised by the other Avengers so that he doesn’t feel emotions and can’t Hulk out at random, he can only transform if one of them flips a switch. They take turns at being in control and, as we saw last time, the Wasp was the current ‘keeper’. This Banner also reveals that he’s now a sociopath, which is hardly a surprise. Our Banner then whacks the evil version on the head with a wrench and Hulks out himself.
Elsewhere, the head honchos at AIM are pretty pissed off about what’s happened since they dipped their toes in the multiverse. The Scientist Supreme kills the underling that fucked up, and they head off to interfere in the big ol’ fight that’s going on between the 2 groups of Avengers. I loved the humour in this scene with everyone looking exactly the same in the dumb AIM beekeeper hats. Hickman has a very underrated, twisted sense of humour for sure.
The fight between the Avengers was interesting for what more it revealed about the alternate reality. It turns out that the evil Iron Man isn’t Tony Stark at all, but a villainous Jarvis who killed Howard Stark and smothered the baby Tony before stealing the Iron Man suit for himself. All of this might seem a bit inconsequential, but it was a nice reveal, and given what’s going on over in New Avengers with all of the alternate worlds, these characters could turn out to be very important indeed. They came here fleeing from an Incursion, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they played a part in causing Captain America to recover his memories and expose The Illuminati. The Hulk arrives in the middle of the fight, but crucially, nobody knows which Hulk it actually is, which I can foresee causing problems. AIM then interfere, freezing everyone so they can sort out this mess. It looks like AIM are accidentally going to send the wrong Hulk back into the multiverse.
The issue ends with those new Adaptoids heading out into the multiverse themselves. So yeah, everything’s pointing towards there, which is cool, having this book be more closely tied with New Avengers should help cool my complaints about the slower pace.
Larroca’s art was solid as ever, and I think he did a fantastic job with the scene between the 2 Bruce Banners. They are the same man, but somehow, they did look different. It’s all in the eyes…