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Avengers #15 - Sent and Received; Prelude to Infinity Review

5

Alien communications, fierce battles, frantic research, and just what IS going on on AIM Island??

The Good

Jonathan Hickman is joined on this issue, appropriately enough, by Secret Avengers’ Nick Spencer and that’s for the best because AIM Island factors prominently into the issue, and it’d be best not to get wires, or continuity, crossed. That definitely doesn’t seem like it’s going to a problem as the story flows beautifully and seamlessly from one location to the next, interweaving as the more combat-minded Avengers battle the strange alien forces on the ground in Perth, Australia and Bruce Banner attempts to unravel exactly the why and wherefore of the strange “life-bombs”that has overtaken large swaths of the world. But threats from the ground are hardly the Avengers’ only concern as a stray Skrull ship breaks through SWORD’s defenses and more mysterious figures are unveiled.

It’s always great to see a truly talented writer, or writers, get to the heart of a character, especially in a book as crowded as this one, and the way Bruce Banner is written in this is absolutely fantastic. Ever since Mark Waid’s series placed him firmly in SHIELD in an advisory, rather than smashing, capacity, the character has had new life breathed into him and Hickman writes him as a truly outside the box thinker, even going so far as to assigning left and right-handed people to different areas of work. I wouldn’t even say the issue focuses on him, but he’s most definitely the star of it.

Stefano Caselli is easily in my top 3 current artists, and would most definitely make it into my top 5 of all time and this book is a great illustration of exactly why that is: no one does faces quite like him. He nails details and subtle tics of facial features better than anyone I can think of and his characters are just so expressive with their faces, and even their body language, that the issue’s lack of narration or internal monologue doesn’t even seem to be missed nor needed. Frank Martin and Edgar Delgado handle colors and they do an absolutely flawless job of showing the sterility of the SHIELD, SWORD and AIM bases as well as the slimy mess of the alien battles. Even the fight scenes communicate so much about the characters participating in them that the breakneck action seems almost incidental.

The Bad

If ever a book needed a proper, extensive recap page, it would be this one. Hickman is well known for dealing with out there, heady concepts in almost everything he writes, and while I absolutely love that we’re getting new and interesting stories, it can be very, very easy, particularly amidst all the other Marvel and Avengers titles, to follow exactly what’s happening in this book.

The Verdict

The above complaint can be easily rectified with a second reading, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing as the art and dialog make this a book worth going back to. Hickman’s Avengers run has, so far, had such a cohesive, flowing narrative that I truly think the book reads equally well in trade or single-issue format and I can’t imagine it’s easy for Marvel to decide where the division should happen. I can’t wait to see what the book brings to the table next, particularly with Caselli on pencils.

11 Comments
Posted by Oscars94

I love Hickman's Avengers! The introduction of new characters and villains is welcome, as it is a fresh new take with the Avengers increasing their numbers to ward off Galactic threats.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Awesome review Corey, but I'm gonna miss Sara's review of the Avengers books

Posted by Cap10nate

Loved the fact that they brought Spencer on here to continue building up AIM. Forson is awesome as the head of AIM and I can't wait to see how they continue to build them up as a huge threat in the Marvel U.

Posted by mdamasco

Is it just me or does Black Widow look awful on that cover

Edited by ShadowSwordmaster

Nice review and I agreed with the art on this book it is amazing .

Online
Posted by Kerrigan

@mdamasco said:

Is it just me or does Black Widow look awful on that cover

Awful and kind of lopsided...

Posted by kid Apollo

i know some people dont care for his stuff but Stefano Casseli is on e of my favorite artists ever. i love his work on the Initiative, Secret Warriors (r.i.p.) and Spidey. love this dude to death!

Posted by 4Essence

Did you just say that it being easy to follow is a bad thing?

Posted by Dernman

Not digging Hickman's Avengers. Which is sad because I loved his FF, F4, and Secret Warriors. Though I didn't like his SHIELD and the influence it brought to the MU.

Posted by The Mast

What does everyone make of that last page?