Avengers Undercover #4 cover The former Murder World inhabitants are on the run as the cast of ‘Avengers Undercover’ has just done the unthinkable. After Bloodstone transported Chase, Nico, Deathlocket, Hazmat, Cammi, and Anachronism to a formal soiree thrown by Arcade, they track down their former captor in Massacrer Casino and straight up eviscerate him. Now, S.H.I.E.L.D. is on their tails for committing a murder, but Baron Zemo and the Masters of Evil have other plans. While the young heroes are held captive in high security cells at the mercy of S.H.I.E.L.D. (and their parents), they’re transported back to Bagalia City where a hero’s welcome and an interesting offer is there waiting for them.

As I mentioned in my last review, this series so far has offered a very interesting perspective on modern pop culture and the desensitization of the masses to violence and stupid reality shows. But also, this is a coming of age book as well, more so than ‘Avengers Arena’. Now that these kids are back in the world, they must adapt to another form of survival and make choices that will impact the rest of their lives. This issue presents an incredibly believable scenario that involves impressionable teens being tempted to crossover to the dark side. In the real world, that might involve gangs, drugs, or vandalism, but for superheroes in the Marvel Universe, it means becoming a villain. Dennis Hopeless really outdid himself with Zemo’s speech and he might even be able to convince and entice some of his readers to accept the Baron’s offer. But on the flipside, he balances it out perfectly with Cammi’s mother’s speech. Both scenes depict very controversial opinions and options, but the writer is no stranger to controversy, so he handles it excellently.

I also touched on the artwork of the last issue in my last review. I said that Timothy Green III’s interpretation of Deathlocket was a bit more mature than it should have been for a character her age. Well, Kev Walker is back with this new issue and all is right again. He allows his characters to look elegant and gorgeous in their formal attire, while still maintaining an age appropriate, non-sexualized depiction of these young ladies. Sure, Hazmat has a very low cut dress, but it still looked more modest in Walker’s work than in Green’s work, which was nearly worthy of a ‘Teen Titans’-esque rant. The bottom line is that that comic book are doesn’t need to be over-sexualized to be good, especially when it comes to younger characters.

Finally, aside from the big moments in Bagalia, there were a ton of great little moments scattered throughout the book. My immaturity definitely showed when I laughed at Nico throwing those two dudes at each other head to toe and the one guy yelled, “Ow! Why?!” I probably laughed at that longer than I should have. Additionally, the scene in the containment facility was great too. I loved seeing each kid interact with their parents because that said a lot about their relationships and their upbringings. But then there was Molly Hayes of the Runaways. She came to claim Chase and Nico with Karolina Dean and just went on an angry tirade about Nico. On one hand, it was cute to see how passionately she cares, but on the other, she’s still too young to fully understand the situation. I love the Runaways and I loved this little cameo. And then S.H.I.E.L.D. had necromancers?! Since when!?

Overall, ‘Avengers Undercover’ is starting a lot of debates. It’s touching on a number of hot topics, but it’s hard to argue that it isn’t doing it in an interesting and engaging way. Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker are really onto something here and I’m really enjoying this series so far. I’m really looking forward to getting into these kids’ heads to see who really feels that Zemo is right.

Final Score:

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AVENGERS UNDERCOVER #4
Written by Dennis Hopeless
Art by Kev Walker, Jason Gorder, & Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Cover by Franceso Mattina