Marvel is completely dominating the cover game lately, between Jock's amazing minimalism on New Avengers and Mike Del Mundo's insane work on X-Men Legacy. This is my favorite cover for this series yet, still not showing any character in full, and Glactus almost looking even more menacing with the Illuminati forming a gaping mouth or wicked teeth.
Sometimes I feel like Hickman is reading my mind when he writes this series, using some of my favorite fringe concepts. Well, Illuminati's not THAT fringe, but certainly a Dyson Sphere is. The Illuminati is looking to darker choices. A beautiful nod to Hickman's FF, where Reed decides to name Iron Man's weapon after the weapon the Council of Reeds built in the War of Four Cities. And what Dr. Strange's choices are in this issue paint an incredibly dire situation indeed. Everyone is deadly serious in the face of this faceless threat, but they still have incredibly distinct personalities. Namor and Dr. Stranger especially are standing out for characters I cared little for before.
The slight differences in the colliding Earth would be a very interesting world to explore, but I don't feel cheated by the lack of exploration here. Hickman could've easily made this a bland meaningless Earth for the functions it serves in the story, but he chose to add some extra details and improve the overall experience. What they find there really tests the limits of their already fragile gray morality in this story. Tensions rise, but in the end we still see them more as heroes than villains, as pointless as it may be in the face of the obliteration of all they know.
In Conclusion: 5/5
New Avengers is an incredible series that can raise the stakes higher than anything while still have absolutely minimal action. The plot is so dense with scale and moral ambiguity, and the character work is rich an interesting. This issue demonstrates that, although they've been forced to begin walking on the line, they haven't yet crossed it.