Comic Vine Review

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Avengers Undercover #7 - Going Native, Part Two Review

4

Nico’s ex is BACK! No, no, her FIRST ex! Yeah, that’s the guy! From WAY back!

The Good

AVENGERS UNDERCOVER began to really show its true colors in the last couple of issues, but that gathering of purpose has only made the book more intriguing and nebulous as it’s clear that some participants in the “We’re Secretly Earning Pardon” party aren’t completely dedicated to the team’s goal (redeeming themselves for Arcade's murder). While conflict has sprung up all over, either due to actual internal turmoil or merely a lack of information, it’s become central to the drama of this book, and it’s working incredibly well. The teens/very early twenty-somethings are the perfect targets for the joyfully anarchic, hedonistic lifestyle that Baron Zemo and his flunkies promise, and now that Daimon Hellstrom has brought Nico’s first boyfriend Alex (from ALL the way back in Brian K. Vaughan’s initial RUNAWAYS storyline), things have become even more complicated. Dennis Hopeless focuses this issue on Nico with incredible precision, even bringing a storyline from a previous one into direct contact with her, and I still can’t say I mind how he characterizes the leads. A great many people seem to dislike, or outright hate, how the characters in this behave, but, again, we’re dealing with teenagers (and very early twentysomethings) here. Emotional instability is par for the course, I remember, I was there not too terribly long ago. But another thing that’s there is blind idealism, which is a beautiful sentiment, but one that’s also easy to twist to nefarious means, especially by someone who’s been around the block more than enough times like Zemo. Hopeless’ characterizations in this issue hits the mark every time and makes sense psychologically every time.

Kev Walker’s pencils straddle the line directly between wacky cartoon and horror movie. It sometimes feels like the cast of Doug took a wrong turn and wound up in Innsmouth. And the last bus just left the station. Things keep getting worse and worse and darker and darker in the background, but the characters in the fore remain delightful, even upbeat, in their outward appearance. But the jagged, sharp inks by Jason Gorder and the dark, grim colors of Jean-Francois Beaulieu remind you that both darkness and madness lurk behind every corner and even in the background, itself a dark and terrible place in this title.

The Bad

I don’t recall Alex being an expert on magic, so it’s odd to see him mentoring Nico so closely. Obviously his true reasons for being there are likely not what they appear, but he's giving her real, solid advice on magic use despite her far greater proficiency with what she has, even the parts she only recently acquired.

There’s an odd sense of emotional vacuum in this issue. Don’t get me wrong, the characters are well-written, and very emotional things HAPPEN, but the way it’s conveyed to the reader, plus who and how it’s happening, strangely lack punch. It may be that all the characters are dialed all the way up all the time, and since they’re not on an island fighting for their lives, that level of tooth-gritting histrionics isn’t all the way called for, but something feels like it’s missing.

The final page is equal parts infuriating and gleefully shocking, and it truly does tear me along whether I think it’s an incredible direction for the book to go in or a grand cop-out.

The Verdict

Someone finally mentions that Baron Zemo is a Nazi. Not an "I disagreed with you on the internet” Nazi, and actual “Master Race” Nazi. That’s been a real pet peeve and I’m glad it’s been acknowledged at least. This is a great issue that I feel highlights a character who’s been getting short-shrift lately, both in terms of AVENGERS ARENA AND this title. I’m not saying she hasn’t had any great moments, but it’s great to see one of my favorite Runaways rate her own issue. Things are in a very strange place right now with where the book leaves off, but it’s definitely entertaining, and I’m definitely hotly anticipating the next issue.

23 Comments
Edited by TheAcidSkull

Nico's portrayal feels a bit inconsistent, but...I guess that's the intention.

Posted by Teerack

Damn. I didn't want to see Arcade alive. I was happy he got what was coming v.v Glad Cammi is alive. I was kind of hoping she was going to turn up in a cell.

Posted by TheAcidSkull

@teerack said:

Damn. I didn't want to see Arcade alive. I was happy he got what was coming v.v Glad Cammi is alive. I was kind of hoping she was going to turn up in a cell.

She's the only reasonable person there.

Oh and Chase is awesome.

Edited by Teerack

@theacidskull said:

@teerack said:

Damn. I didn't want to see Arcade alive. I was happy he got what was coming v.v Glad Cammi is alive. I was kind of hoping she was going to turn up in a cell.

She's the only reasonable person there.

Oh and Chase is awesome.

I'm still crossing my fingers for Hellstorm to bring Juston back from the dead :P

As a big fan of Hank Pym I loved this issue with him telling off Cap and Maria.

Edited by TheAcidSkull

@teerack said:

@theacidskull said:

@teerack said:

Damn. I didn't want to see Arcade alive. I was happy he got what was coming v.v Glad Cammi is alive. I was kind of hoping she was going to turn up in a cell.

She's the only reasonable person there.

Oh and Chase is awesome.

I'm still crossing my fingers for Hellstorm to bring Juston back from the dead :P

As a big fan of Hank Pym I loved this issue with him telling off Cap and Maria.

I dunno, Hopefully.

I know right? He is usually so poorly characterized that it made me very happy to see him like this! This is leaps better than Avengers Arena. I'm still concerned about Nico though..

Posted by Teerack

@teerack said:

@theacidskull said:

@teerack said:

Damn. I didn't want to see Arcade alive. I was happy he got what was coming v.v Glad Cammi is alive. I was kind of hoping she was going to turn up in a cell.

She's the only reasonable person there.

Oh and Chase is awesome.

I'm still crossing my fingers for Hellstorm to bring Juston back from the dead :P

As a big fan of Hank Pym I loved this issue with him telling off Cap and Maria.

I dunno, Hopefully.

I know right? He is usually so poorly characterized that it made me very happy to see him like this! This is leaps better than Avengers Arena. I'm still concerned about Nico though..

I think Pym was represented really well in Avengers Arena. It took a ton for Hank to give up even though everything was telling him he was wrong, and even then he only stopped because of Tigra. I'm a little sad that he went back to his Giant Man outfit in this and in Hulk recently when I loved his Avengers AI look.

Posted by TheAcidSkull

@teerack said:
@theacidskull said:

@teerack said:

@theacidskull said:

@teerack said:

Damn. I didn't want to see Arcade alive. I was happy he got what was coming v.v Glad Cammi is alive. I was kind of hoping she was going to turn up in a cell.

She's the only reasonable person there.

Oh and Chase is awesome.

I'm still crossing my fingers for Hellstorm to bring Juston back from the dead :P

As a big fan of Hank Pym I loved this issue with him telling off Cap and Maria.

I dunno, Hopefully.

I know right? He is usually so poorly characterized that it made me very happy to see him like this! This is leaps better than Avengers Arena. I'm still concerned about Nico though..

I think Pym was represented really well in Avengers Arena. It took a ton for Hank to give up even though everything was telling him he was wrong, and even then he only stopped because of Tigra. I'm a little sad that he went back to his Giant Man outfit in this and in Hulk recently when I loved his Avengers AI look.

I kind of really like this look, but Yellowjacket is the best! :D

Posted by Teerack

I kind of really like this look, but Yellowjacket is the best! :D

I think it's the worst :P

Edited by TheAcidSkull

@teerack said:

@theacidskull said:

I kind of really like this look, but Yellowjacket is the best! :D

I think it's the worst :P

NUUU, it's the best.

But yeah, I agree that Pym was one of the few highlights in the Arena title. Also, I'm glad that at least some of these kids have a chance to redeem themselves.

Posted by majingojira

That hollow feeling you're getting, I think, is from the fact that this is a shanghai plot. The character's decisions don't actually matter as the plot forces them down a path they can't really escape from, much like Arena. The character development doesn't work because there's no real other choice.

The big twists generally run on infuriating fans, and Arena's sales have pretty much confirmed that one axiom is very true: "Runaways Fans Don't Buy Mad."

Posted by leokearon

Alex clearly does have a lot of knowledge of magic, he was able to use the same spell multiple times with the Staff of One. Also who knows what else he learned while being dead

Posted by majingojira

@leokearon:

Who says the thing there is even Alex? With the way he's voiced, it could very well be some entity masquerading as him and given how much his characterization differs from how he was when we last saw him, a far more palatable option. The other, of course, being bad writing. Not an unheard of comment from me, but hell, I'll leave the other options on the table until things conclude.

Though Alex and casting is . . not so well supported given past instances. By his own admittance in Vol. 1 of Runaways, #17, it took him a while to work out how the staff functioned and applauded Nico for making it look so easy. Though he certainly could have learned something hanging in Limbo with the Gibborim, but again, it's left unexplained for now and may never be. But I'll wait before judging in this instance.

Posted by LordTerminal

@teerack: Both him AND Reptil. That was the moment I officially called Dennis Hopeless a no-talent hack and stopped buying Marvel again. (Until I discovered the new Ms. Marvel)

Posted by Teerack

@teerack: Both him AND Reptil. That was the moment I officially called Dennis Hopeless a no-talent hack and stopped buying Marvel again. (Until I discovered the new Ms. Marvel)

Idk which one of my post you're responding to but I don't agree with you and know which of my post could have triggered this response.

Posted by Teerack

Thinking about it now. Arcade being alive is the only way they can probably being Bloodstone back around.

Posted by w0nd

Anything involving children leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Mainly because the adults turn out to be utterly useless and complete morons. In runaways when the kids TRIED to call the avengers they couldn't get a hold of them and didn't believe them. Then when the children took it into their own hands, they avengers came, cap was upset with them and they ended up in orphanages and foster homes....

Repeat this several more times.

And then after that murder world situation some of them ended up in jail? Really?

What's up with nico's fist now? I know she lost an arm, did get get an upgrade because of it?

Edited by Teerack
@w0nd said:

Anything involving children leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Mainly because the adults turn out to be utterly useless and complete morons. In runaways when the kids TRIED to call the avengers they couldn't get a hold of them and didn't believe them. Then when the children took it into their own hands, they avengers came, cap was upset with them and they ended up in orphanages and foster homes....

Repeat this several more times.

And then after that murder world situation some of them ended up in jail? Really?

What's up with nico's fist now? I know she lost an arm, did get get an upgrade because of it?

You should probably read Avengers Arena and Avengers Undercover before forming an opinion on it. The way Maria Hill and the Avengers are handling this is the same way they always handle things. AvX, Civil War, even little things like the the emergence of a new Starbrand was handled poorly from our perspective because we're on the outside and know more then the characters in the story. Just last month the Avengers handled a conflict with the Fantastic Four very poorly. In Avengers Area they had a whole issue about Hank Pym trying to find the kids and Arcade covered all grounds, so it's not like the adult were being stupid they didn't know they were kidnapped. What we're they supposed to do with the kids other then let them go? Take them under their protection? That's what got them into the murder world mess to begin with for most of them.

The Avengers and shield always make a big fuss when a hero is caught murdering someone. The Murder World kids were caught on film murdering Arcade when he was defenseless so they got thrown in Jail but didn't get a chance to be processed legally in court before they broke out.

They're all getting power upgrades because the masters of evil are training them. Her arm "is a more powerful conduit" then the wand probably because it's made out of the pure magic the wand channels.

Edited by w0nd

@teerack:What we're they supposed to do with the kids other then let them go? Take them under their protection? That's what got them into the murder world mess to begin with for most of them.

Apparently there are several schools on the planet dealing with super humans. But if they want to lock them up that's fine, it's not like locking up children who went through that kind of trauma could turn them into super villains or anything. Chase and Nico went back to what ever status they had before, but the person who's boyfriend blew up in front of her was locked away. The avengers don't actually "listen" is what I am getting at. I have seen several stories where they shrug off things because they sound unbelievable, and then when shit hits the fan they have to put their foot down and use their judgement. Shield is one thing, I expect them to f*ck up.

Edited by Teerack
@w0nd said:

@teerack:What we're they supposed to do with the kids other then let them go? Take them under their protection? That's what got them into the murder world mess to begin with for most of them.

Apparently there are several schools on the planet dealing with super humans. But if they want to lock them up that's fine, it's not like locking up children who went through that kind of trauma could turn them into super villains or anything. Chase and Nico went back to what ever status they had before, but the person who's boyfriend blew up in front of her was locked away. The avengers don't actually "listen" is what I am getting at. I have seen several stories where they shrug off things because they sound unbelievable, and then when shit hits the fan they have to put their foot down and use their judgement. Shield is one thing, I expect them to f*ck up.

They couldn't get into Wakanda so they cant go to that school, FF is getting shut down, the Jen Grey school is mutant only, the only other school left that wasn't were the kids were kidnapped from is the latvaria school and i dont think anyone is to eager to join Doom's school. Avengers Academy and the Captain Britain school were the ones they were stolen from already.

They didn't just lock the kids up after murder world they locked them up after they killed a helpless man who surrendered while broadcasting live.

Edited by majingojira

@teerack said:
@w0nd said:

Anything involving children leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Mainly because the adults turn out to be utterly useless and complete morons. In runaways when the kids TRIED to call the avengers they couldn't get a hold of them and didn't believe them. Then when the children took it into their own hands, they avengers came, cap was upset with them and they ended up in orphanages and foster homes....

Repeat this several more times.

And then after that murder world situation some of them ended up in jail? Really?

What's up with nico's fist now? I know she lost an arm, did get get an upgrade because of it?

You should probably read Avengers Arena and Avengers Undercover before forming an opinion on it. The way Maria Hill and the Avengers are handling this is the same way they always handle things. AvX, Civil War, even little things like the the emergence of a new Starbrand was handled poorly from our perspective because we're on the outside and know more then the characters in the story. Just last month the Avengers handled a conflict with the Fantastic Four very poorly. In Avengers Area they had a whole issue about Hank Pym trying to find the kids and Arcade covered all grounds, so it's not like the adult were being stupid they didn't know they were kidnapped. What we're they supposed to do with the kids other then let them go? Take them under their protection? That's what got them into the murder world mess to begin with for most of them.

The Avengers and shield always make a big fuss when a hero is caught murdering someone. The Murder World kids were caught on film murdering Arcade when he was defenseless so they got thrown in Jail but didn't get a chance to be processed legally in court before they broke out.

They're all getting power upgrades because the masters of evil are training them. Her arm "is a more powerful conduit" then the wand probably because it's made out of the pure magic the wand channels.

From what I recall about Starbrand, that they didn't crawl up his ass more is one of the reasons why people dislike it. That and Carol cracking jokes over Stamford 2.0.

But with this, it's Civil War levels of poorly handled. The characters are acting far dumber than they're all supposed to be. Let's face facts here, what occurred was at best Voluntary Manslaughter, as Hazmat did the killing within the equivalent of a Vietnam Flashback. And thanks to Arcade having recorded that incident, it can be directly linked to it. Furthermore, Arcade's level of legal "Aggro" was so high as to put him as the most wanted man in the world (or near equivalent, I cannot recall offhand). Throw in that the kids sans Bloodstone were Shanghai'd into the mission, and this 'case' would be settled out of court before you could say "Plea Bargain".

It's a vile analogy and I apologize in advance for it, but if a 9/11 Survivor tried to rescue a friend who was trying to hunt down Bin Laden and got taken by that friend to where he was, went catatonic for 15 minutes before snapping out of it and capping Bin Laden after he'd been captured, would anyone even prosecute the case?

It's one of my core problems with this story overall. It's too stupid to be believable. That and the morality scale is utterly skewed. I'm sorry if anyone likes her, but Hopeless has turned Cammi into a massive hypocrite and doesn't realize it. Seeing her get all twisted up over the death of Arcade and being the moral one doesn't jive with the whole Space Pirate thing, especially since she was caught in the act of (effectively) second degree murder (no fuel in the vastness of space is a far more serious thing than Hopeless realizes). That and Pirates are legally "Hostis Humani Generis" -- Enemies of Mankind. Or Sentient Species in this case. Seeing her as the "moral" one in any sense is just wrongheaded. Jack Sparrow gets away with it because his shown piracy is rather inoffensive overall. Cammi's isn't. But Hopeless doesn't realize it. So whenever he tries to make her sympathetic, I can't help but think of the people she indirectly murdered through her conscious actions while the story skews to make the people who were lashing out from suffering they went through look bad.

And that's the other big reason it's not working for me. There's other reasons, of course, but these are the most pertinent to the discussion.

TLDR: The legal charge is not well thought out, everyone's has to act dumb for no real reason to move the plot forward, and the 'moral' characters are unknowingly hypocritical.

Posted by Teerack

Man I really can't wait for issue 8 anymore... Issue 8 is a three month time skip if you guys didn't know.

Edited by Ms-Lola

I agree with most of this review as the criticisms pointed out were my gripes with this issue (and the ones before) as well. I like the premise of the book but the delivery isn't matching the potential. Initially I was prepared to give this a lot of leeway but what's happened so far, and the reactions of characters I was familiar with before this book, don't feel organic enough. I don't want to read Avengers' Arena (which I was told would help with that), so it looks like I might be dropping this title soon. Besides, Hopeless is taking the helm of a new book starring Spider-Woman and Silk soon, so it'll just be a matter of trading one book for another.