Tying in with INFINITY, this issue of AVENGERS ASSEMBLE thrusts us immediately into space, and immediately into a war zone. Spider-Woman takes center stage, and we learn a little bit about her inner battles while she and the rest of the Avengers take on the mysterious and daunting Builders.
Kelly Sue DeConnick has a consistent and uncanny ability to find a character's unique voice and have it ring true through a variety of situations, superheroic and otherwise. Her version of Jessica Drew is no exception, and I'm beginning to look forward to seeing more Spider-Woman, wherever she crops up in the latest Marvel slate. She's an Avenger, and she might be immune to a lot of things, but she's not immune to feelings. I'm hoping -- for her sake -- that Jessica is able to push past the self-doubt and depressive thinking, and it's because I've connected with the character enough that she makes me want to care.
Not only is there a fantastic inversion when Jessica's life is saved by a Skrull, but DeConnick sticks the landing by having it be a severely awkward moment for her to process, and compounding that awkwardness with some real talk from Black Widow. That voice thing? Nailed. Jessica should feel weird about a Skrull bailing her out, and she did need a little bit of tough love to jar her out of that spiral of negative thinking.
Spider-Woman's point-of-view is also a very interesting lens by which to view a teaser towards the fates of Clint and Carol. I'm sure we'll learn about what happened with their ship in another issue (either of this title or another INFINITY tie-in), but the vantage point of a third party who is selfishly not thinking about them makes there whereabouts that much more interesting. It's a great technique for building a sense of connectedness within the event; we're reminded that things are happening to other characters, but not distracted from the book we're in.
I have no idea what's going on with Spider-Woman's spacesuit, but parts of it appear to be missing. It's unclear why her arms would need to be covered, while a central, more critical area (like her torso) wouldn't, especially in a combat situation. Equally mysterious: why Cap's helmet is similarly incomplete. It's hard to tell if these are conscious design decisions, or inking/coloring mis-steps.
AVENGERS ASSEMBLE delivers a little bit of what you'd expect and a little bit of a surprise. The Avengers are, indeed, assembling, this time with some reluctant allies from across the galaxy, to fight a common, powerful enemy. On the unexpected side: the characters who end up being closest to Spider-Woman, and the ones who end up feeling more distant. The issue works, both as a standalone and as a part of INFINITY, and is a nice (albeit not uplifting) peek into Jessica's experience as a person and as an Avenger.