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Avengers #10 - Validator Review

4

Madness, change, evolution, destruction, creation and yet another Alpha Flight roster all explode in this issue of Avengers.

The Good

Jonathan Hickman would generally be classified, if he were a novelist, as a hard sci-fi writer. This isn’t to say that all of his ideas and notions are fully grounded in real science, that would invalidate the fiction, but like Kubrick’s 2001, his science fiction has SOME grounding and his ideas all have an internal logic. His Avengers title has been a bizarre, surreal and highly charged tale about cosmic beings forcing evolution and inscrutable entities with plans for Earth that don’t include nor take into account the lives of the six and a half billion sentient beings on it. Last issue had the new denizens of Mars launching Origin Bombs at Earth to remake large swaths of it into a perfected image, and this issue focuses on the one that fell in Regina, Canada and on the Alpha Flight team, and then Avengers, sent to investigate the disturbance. Hickman is a man of grandiose ideas, and these ideas take the front seat in this issue as his Avengers are quickly overwhelmed and outmatched by whatever is happening at the sites of these creation bombs.

Mike Deodato provides the pencils and inks while Frank Martin provides colors, and it’s a great shift in Deodato’s art. I’ve had a turbulent relationship with his particular style, I first became aware of it when his photo-reffing was at an almost Greg Land level and Peter Parker’s comic persona looked like Freddie Prinze Jr. was auditioning for the part of the web-slinger using Deodato’s pencils as a proof-of-concept. His visuals have also been muddied and somewhat indistinct, which he’s definitely made work for him in the past, but here it seems another style has taken over. It’s a much clearer, sharper style. I’ve honestly never seen Deodato’s pencils and inking look THIS crisp and his characters look so unique and original as opposed to referenced. Whether it’s the prestige of working on a book like Avengers or a stylistic change to his entire formula, it’s to be commended. If his name wasn’t on the cover of the book, I’d have scarcely guessed it was him, and again I’ve enjoyed his work before. In the midst of Hickman’s mad plotting, Deodato’s visuals let you know EXACTLY what’s going on in every panel.

The Bad

This book is, at times, incomprehensible to the point of being near nonsense. I’ve been absolutely on-board with Hickman’s run on both Avengers and New Avengers, both of which have twisted into a bizarre, high-concept sci-fi narrative, but I honestly have a hard time following exactly what’s going on in this issue narratively. He’s also very, very focused on the plot and arc, so the characters get short shrift and don’t have a great deal added to them. He’s working with very well-established characters, so it’s not a huge flaw, but it should have a clearer storyline in that case.

Also: Alpha Flight just can’t seem to catch a break, can they? Without giving away too much, I’ll say that this is an entirely new Alpha Flight, supposedly Canada’s most elite superteam, and they are not shown to be a credible force in the least. Additionally, the leader’s name is always very, very silly. From Vindicator to Validator, it sounds like she should be making you feel right about the life choices you've made. I can’t tell if that’s meant to be the joke or not, and that’s not a good thing.

The Verdict

It truly is a shining statement about this book that I enjoy it as much as I do despite not understanding a huge swaths of it. I have a feeling this, and much of Hickman’s work, will read much, much better in trade as even the brief week’s delay between issues makes the plot difficult to piece together. But as it is, this is an issue for those already invested in the Avengers in general, as well as this storyline. The characters don’t develop, they are who they are and your enjoyment of this book runs almost directly parallel to how much you enjoy the cast in the first place. It just so happens that I enjoy them very much.

21 Comments
Edited by broo1232

I'm always either really excited for this book or worried for me it's been a bit up and down with some really good issues and some bad I'm onboard with Hickman's ideas but I think he needs to put in more Avengers character work in as last issue it was literally Starbrand and Nightmask not the Avengers.

Posted by LiveForever

This ISN'T an Avengers book. I'm shocked that it's not following a more straight-forward path in the wake of the movies, which has splashed into the Marvel NOW comics. While I think it's good that in this case the movies are not influencing the books, this just doesn't feel like an Avengers book at all. I'm glad you mentioned incomprehensible. I'm liking New Avengers because it seems to make more sense to go with that hard Sci Fi approach with the Illuminati. But this? Marvel should have put him on a different book if he didn't want to write something more approachable and accessible.

Posted by Kerrigan

Still more tease than meat, as all Hickman's Avengers work has been so far.

Seems a waste to have so many new Avengers and not have some interactions so we get to know them.

Edited by spinningbirdcake

I feel like this issue especially isn't going to pay off until the next couple issues explain what the hell happened when they went to the place. I thought the art was great. I loved the panel with them all walking in a line because it showed how short Logan is compared to other characters, good on him for remembering Wolvie's a shorty.

Posted by Cafeterialoca

Does the girl die?

Edited by kid Apollo

havent read the issue so this isnt based on anything but...

is it possible they went with Hickman for this book BECAUSE he wants to write such a grand story? think about it, with the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers 2 movies a few years away, Hickman is giving the 'main stream' readers a taste for the bizarre, universe spanning, grandoise-ness. as well as giving new readers (ppl that picked up the books after the Avengers movie) a taste for how BIG the Marvel universe can be. all the stuff about evolution, genetic cleansing, aliens coming to take over, all the 'normal' ppl getting squashed like bugs, it all plays in to what the Avengers 2 could be. take into account the Thanos origin book currently goin on and the reboot of the GoG book and youve got 3 easy jumping on points for people looking to brush up on any of those concepts before the movies come out.

food for thought

Posted by LiveForever

@kid_apollo: The problem with that thought (not saying you're wrong, that COULD be their plan), is this:

Why do "mainstream" people not read comics? One reason is that people think they're for kids. But the other is that people see them as convoluted. Why else would there be this obsession with #1's and reboots and "jumping on points"? I think they're taking a bad route by throwing all this convoluted, borderline nonsense at people who don't read comics.

For all his own pitfalls, look at what Bendis is doing with THE most convoluted corner in the Marvel Universe. There is NO WAY that All New X-Men should be accessible, yet it is. It has time travel, it has tons of characters... but it's still easy to pick up the first issue and understand what's happening. He'll bastardize some (female) characters along the way, but the man knows how to throw a pitch anyone can hit.

Edited by ptigrusmagus

Not to be negative but I feel the same way about this one as I did when it was solicited. Why force me to read about a D team in an A+ team book that already has too many characters?

Edited by SynCig

I am a trade waiter but I read the first issue of this series when Marvel did the 700 free digital issues and I didn't really like it all that much. The art was gorgeous but it was incomprehensible like Corey said about this issue. I got what was happening but I finished reading it without a whole lot of drive to continue with the series. Not all comics are right for everyone but I was hoping that this series would hook me because I haven't read very many Avengers titles in the past. Maybe I need to give it more than one issue before making up my mind.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

I can't seem to enjoy Hickman's Avengers and also New Avengers at all.

Posted by agitatedandroid

The convoluted complaint that non readers have has nothing to do with complex stories and everything to do with crossovers much like the one in this week's Flash.

Me, I'm loving Hickman on Avengers, moreso than New Avengers. Is it insane? Yes. Do we need character development for Captain America or Wolverine? No.

The complaints I keep seeing read like folks want boring stories about the same things we've seen before. And we want them delivered in a super digestible package that a six year old can grasp.

This isn't Saturday morning cartoons. I don't wan everything explained and resolved in a few pages. I want to have a big story told in a big way with big characters.

Until a few month ago, I was one of those non-readers.

Posted by Dreadmaster

The convoluted complaint that non readers have has nothing to do with complex stories and everything to do with crossovers much like the one in this week's Flash.

Me, I'm loving Hickman on Avengers, moreso than New Avengers. Is it insane? Yes. Do we need character development for Captain America or Wolverine? No.

The complaints I keep seeing read like folks want boring stories about the same things we've seen before. And we want them delivered in a super digestible package that a six year old can grasp.

This isn't Saturday morning cartoons. I don't wan everything explained and resolved in a few pages. I want to have a big story told in a big way with big characters.

Until a few month ago, I was one of those non-readers.

My thoughts exactly, I'm loving Hickman on Avengers.

Posted by kid Apollo

@liveforever: sorry i actually meant mainstream as in the people who read Avengers titles regularly, in regards to new readers i think you hook them in by having the new big 6, Cap Thor IM BW Hulk and Hawkeye, then you get them interrested (hopefully) by bring in people from all over the Marvel U. Everyone knows Spidey and Wolverine but now youve got other X-men/New Mutants Sunspot and Cannonball, more super powered spies in Spider Woman and Manifold, street level heroes in Shang Chi and Falcon, and then some big time universal players in Captain Marvel and Smasher, the embodiment of the Universe, and you introduce the concept of alternate universes with Hyperion.

my favorite part of Hickman's Avengers is that hes pulling strings from all over the place, evident in the fact that hes using Starbrand and co.

Posted by VeganDiet

The convoluted complaint that non readers have has nothing to do with complex stories and everything to do with crossovers much like the one in this week's Flash.

Me, I'm loving Hickman on Avengers, moreso than New Avengers. Is it insane? Yes. Do we need character development for Captain America or Wolverine? No.

The complaints I keep seeing read like folks want boring stories about the same things we've seen before. And we want them delivered in a super digestible package that a six year old can grasp.

This isn't Saturday morning cartoons. I don't wan everything explained and resolved in a few pages. I want to have a big story told in a big way with big characters.

Until a few month ago, I was one of those non-readers.

I agree with this to an extent, but it's been 10 issues and nothing really significant has been explained.

Edited by agitatedandroid

Admittedly, these past issues have been a lot of starting threads but I can apply what I know of Hickman from his Fantastic Four run and anticipate a great coming together in the future.

He's still putting his pieces on the board. Frustrating to some, I'm sure, and I understand that but I just like watching him do it.

Posted by Kerrigan

Me, I'm loving Hickman on Avengers, moreso than New Avengers. Is it insane? Yes. Do we need character development for Captain America or Wolverine? No.

No, but seeing them interact with the new Avengers, and developing those new Avengers, is probably needed. Haven't seen much of them beyond their origin stories, and Sunspot and Cannonball seem to be there only for occasional comic relief so far.

Posted by caladbolglight

I have always liked Alpha Flight (maybe because I'm Canadian), but this appearance kinda didn't mean much. At the end of their last mini series, the line-up was all nice and filled out, and it seemed like they were all still heroes...

WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?

I thought Validator was Aurora, anyone else?

Edited by Danial79

Just wanted to point out that this was Omega Flight, not Alpha Flight, which could explain why they pretty much sucked :)

Posted by K3vinkha0S

New Avengers review please...

Posted by The Mast

@undeadpool I'm just confused as to how they've abandoned ALL sense of continuity. This should've been a cross-over.

This event and the events unfolding are too big to just be an Avengers issue. Why are other people unaware of this? This is why you do huge events as cross-overs, because it gives everyone an unavoidable threat or involvement. This has a knock-on for all the other titles. How is Captain Marvel here? Is she still sick?

It's annoying.

I think this is one of the absolute best books on the shelves, but that's a major issue for me.

Posted by Undeadpool

@the_mast said:

@undeadpool

I'm just confused as to how they've abandoned ALL sense of continuity. This should've been a cross-over.

This event and the events unfolding are too big to just be an Avengers issue. Why are other people unaware of this? This is why you do huge events as cross-overs, because it gives everyone an unavoidable threat or involvement. This has a knock-on for all the other titles. How is Captain Marvel here? Is she still sick?

It's annoying.

I think this is one of the absolute best books on the shelves, but that's a major issue for me.

I think continuity gets over-emphasized in terms of its importance across different titles. I read Capt Marvel to see what's going on with Carol Danvers, What goes on in her book is a snapshot of her at that moment. This Avengers story could take place before or after it's been resolved. And with how cross-over crazy DC has gotten, I like that even big books at Marvel can stand on their own without requiring the reader to pick up 3-4 other titles they may have no interest in.

Staff