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Avengers #6 - Zen and the Art of Cosmology Review

5

What role does the Earth play in the overall universe?

The Good

The sixth issue of AVENGERS by Jonathan Hickman and Adam Kubert is interesting. Readers are given a recap of the most recent events, something that makes this issue very accessible to new readers who may not be caught up on the story in general. The issue opens with a completely black panel and the recounting of the 'big bang:' the birth of the universe. It's an incredibly dramatic sequence of panels leading up to a moment of meditation shared between two characters. The scene is very pretty, and speaks to this higher level of thought that all things in the universe have "some bits of celestial uniformity." There is a reason why Hickman titled this issue 'Zen And The Art Of Cosmology,' and it becomes very obvious very quickly as to why. What we get is a rather interesting conversation between a Man and a God. The dialogue from the very start of this issue is fantastic and really compelling: it pulls you right into the story in a really eloquent way.

Just as the last two issues focused on Smasher and Hyperion, respectively, this issue zeroes in on Shang-Chi. What are his abilities? What strengths and advantages will he bring to the Avengers team? Through Shang-Chi's dialogue and actions we discover more about the Universe's "Mother," a figure that appeared briefly in the third issue of this series. It is because of her that the three Gods we met on Mars let the Avengers go. The question remains, though, who is she? With Shang-Chi's help, the figure begins to recount her earliest memory and attempts to recall who she used to be.

These are not the only two characters we see in this issue, either. This is not the first time that Hickman has written Spider-Man. In fact, some of the most sentimental moments in FANTASTIC FOUR and FF featured the character. This is, however, one of the first times that Hickman has written this new Spider-Man (Doctor Octopus) and it's fun to see the blatant differences between the two characters and the way they are written.

I think beyond the fact that we get beautiful dialogue and stunning art in this issue, we also get a peek at Hickman's "bigger picture." In the third issue of this series we saw this being mentioned that the Earth bears some sort of importance and it is the reason why it cannot be destroyed. Hickman delves into this idea and explains why and what role the earth plays in regards to the bigger picture. Hickman draws a parallel between the universe and the host body in an interesting way.

The Bad

Nothing bad here, another brilliant issue in this incredibly compelling story.

The Verdict

Although the first three issues of this series felt like they were self contained and had a definitive beginning and an end, it is clear that Hickman has a bigger picture that he is playing with, and we see a glimpse of that here/ The being that the Avengers are introduced to at the start of this series plays an important role not only in this issue, but in this story in general. It's great to see Hickman circle back to a concept we saw previously, something I think that is essential to the story he is trying to tell. The dialogue is fantastic: it sets up the story in a compelling way and it clues us into the direction that Hickman plans on taking this series. Not only do we get a great story, but we have equally gorgeous art, too. Hickman manages to teeter between executing a story that is compelling and complex while still accessible to new readers.

27 Comments
Posted by Gothic Storm

The perfect actor for this part hands down!

Posted by Raia

Heck yeah!!!!

Posted by Oscars94

So basically a MUST READ?

Posted by Gambit1024

Definitely one of the best of his run so far. I especially loved the way Hickman wrote the Superior Spider-Man here.

Posted by ccraft

I haven't been getting Avengers, but having Adam Kubert as the artisit makes me want to pick this up. How long is he going to be on Avengers?

Posted by Manbehindthewires

I agree with everything here, loved the Spider-Man parts! This is such an intelligently written issue, from the code, to the philosophical and cosmological discussions, it was refreshing to read something from Marvel that tickled the left side of the brain :)

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

I love Hickman

I love Cosmic

I hate Avengers

I want to like the book but I can't

Posted by Zeeguy91

Yeah, still unsure of whether I should actually pick this up or not. The first 5 issues did absolutely nothing for me. Such a shame since I usually love Hickman's writing.

Posted by Manbehindthewires

@Zeeguy91: If you didn't like the others, this might be a miss. It features a lot of flashbacks and references to the other stuff:

  • The "we need to go bigger" moment
  • Ex-Nihilo and the Universe
  • "First there was nothing, followed by everything"
  • The Builder Machine and its "Systems"

It was very much a mega-mix of the past few issues. I really liked it, and wouldn't miss it for the world. If I only bought 1 comic this week, this would probably have been it, but I liked all of the other ones too...

Posted by Kerrigan

The comic vine hagiography of Hickman's Avengers work continues, I see. This issue was, like the preceding couple, competent and bland. Maybe we'll get some things moving now the Big Event has started, but Hickman has already wasted too much time faffing about on fairly insipid origin stories which set the reader up for an emotional punch but never quite deliver.

Hickman's previous work means I retain some optimism that he can turn this thing around, but thus far his two Avengers books lack spirit, dynamism, and humor. It's a boring book.

And if there's not a explanation for whatever mass head-trauma means the Avengers don't notice Spider-Man's radical personality shift, it'll be a stupid book, too. Many of them know this man extremely well, and they live in a universe of possession, mind control, clones, and shape-shifters. He'd be strapped to a table with Doc Strange sifting through his soul.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Dropped. Just not a fan of Hickman's style and cosmic related stuff/ :(

Online
Posted by The Stegman
Really can't get into this title, Just don't find it interesting at all, New Avengers is much better.
Posted by quatro_briefs

I am thinking Marvel paid Comic Vine to give this crap a 5 star review.

Posted by Night Thrasher

It's amazing to me that the same people who will praise Morrison for a storyline that goes for years without any real payoff would lament Hickman after six issues. This series and his take on the Avengers as a whole to me has been fun and interesting. I'm loving it and am intrigued as to where he's taking this.

Posted by nappystr8

I still don't know that I'd give this five stars, but it is by far the best issue of Hickman's Avengers proper. The way Captain Universe was handled here was significantly better than the way she was handled in issue #3, and we finally get some real interactions between characters. The Superior Spidery vs. New Mutants was very enjoyable for how simple it was.

Best part has to be the decoder page in the back of the issue though. I'm a real sucker for those.

Posted by danhimself

love this book!! I really hope that I don't have to decode everything that Nightmask says though

Posted by TheCommissar

Not as great as the Smasher issue, but still quite good.

Posted by spinningbirdcake

@Gambit1024 said:

Definitely one of the best of his run so far. I especially loved the way Hickman wrote the Superior Spider-Man here.

Yeah can we get him on the title?

Posted by LiveForever

First issue I didn't get. Love Hickman, love New Avengers, but this book just does zilch for me.

Posted by Gambit1024

@spinningbirdcake said:

@Gambit1024 said:

Definitely one of the best of his run so far. I especially loved the way Hickman wrote the Superior Spider-Man here.

Yeah can we get him on the title?

As much as I'd love it if Hickman wrote everything, the man's busy enough as it is, unfortunately. But yeah, Slott's Superior Spider-Man isn't doing it for me. Which is odd because Yost, Waid, and now Hickman can write that character better than he can.

Posted by spinningbirdcake

@Gambit1024: Yeah it's uplifting and depressing. Hickman, Waid, and Yost writing a good Spock proves it's not an inherently bad idea like so many people seem to think it is. But not being impressed by Slott writing him is a bummer because he's on the main title.

Posted by guardiandevil

This issue was awesome. Goes back to the original themes introduced in the first issue while giving crucial character development to all the characters in this book. I think reading this in trade might benefit others. Also the art got a lot better.

Posted by longbowhunter

I had lots of questions about Captain Universe at the end of the first arc. Glad to finally get some of those answered here. I can definitely see where this book wouldn't be for everybody, but so far I'm liking it.

Posted by JonesDeini

Love that Hickman has taken the book cosmic and really upped the stakes and scale. I knew he was a fan of the New Universe stuff and after the New Universal reboot helmed by Ellis petered out I was certain that seeing those characters/concepts in a major way again would be a long shot. Then I got to the last few pages of this comic and had a huuuuuge nerdgasm!!!

Posted by dontbelievethehyperion

This series has been getting better and better

Posted by MikeStark

I really don't see how this got 5/5. I guess the reviewer really l liked it, I read it, & before anyone says anything just know I read it & found it quite lame. Jerk Spider-Man was funny though. The white light better be worth it.

Posted by TorontRayne

I really liked the Builder Code you could use to decipher what was being said in the previous issues.