For various reasons (well, Christmas/New Year and comics not being shipped to the UK) I haven’t reviewed the last 2 issues of Avengers, so it’s good to get back on this particular horse as the ‘All-New Avengers’ storyline continues.
The issue begins with a flash-back to just before Infinity (#17 to be precise), when the Avengers were knocked out by one of The Builders’ emissaries. AIM were to pick up the pieces, and in that issue we saw them take genetic material from the unconscious Avengers. Here, we see what that DNA was taken for, to make new Adaptoids that AIM can send into the Multiverse. After this, we get another flashback, but it’s a bit closer to the present, as the alternate universe Avengers are attacked by these new Adaptoids. This was a decent action scene, but I do find it interesting how slowly Hickman is parsing out details about these evil Avengers. Here we discover that the Wasp has been controlling the Hulk through a remote, which is broken during the fight, allowing Banner to escape. It seems that Hickman only ever does stuff to extremes, in New Avengers, he’s brushing off alternate universes for just a few pages before killing them. In this book, he’s taking his sweet, sweet time in exploring one particular universe’s characters. Is there no middle ground?
This fight ends with one of the Adaptoids breaking Hank Pym’s neck, which explains how he was found at the start of last issue, and the rest of the Avengers retreating. Once we finally get to the present, Maria Hill is still questioning the Avengers’ about their whereabouts, and it was refreshing to see Hyperion and Iron Man easily prove it wasn’t them, and for Maria Hill to never have actually believed it was them. At this point, it’s much more likely for it to be alternate universe versions or clones than for a superhero to actually go evil. Iron Man is able to track down the other Avengers, and they are still in New York. Also still in New York is the alternate Bruce Banner, who finds his way to a safe-house that exists in his universe also, and runs straight into the real Bruce Banner! Two Hulks! Oh shit.
The issue ends with a strange, cryptic scene involving the new Adaptoids, where they decide to change their mission and their appearances, gone are the weird hybrids of different Avengers parts, and in their place is a uniform look featuring a single ring on their face for an eye. They look a bit like OMACs to be honest, but I think the intent is to make them look like the Builder robot that knocked out the Avengers, or I could just be over-thinking it.
Salvador Larroca’s art was strong as usual, I think he works well with Hickman, and whilst I like that subplots from before Infinity are still important, I do feel like this story is a bit of a step-down from the crossover. That was so epic, and this feels kind of throwaway in comparison. It’s still good, and it does have Multiversal implications, but I thought things were going to keep on getting bigger and bigger for the Avengers, not feel smaller.