While I’ve been following the ‘Avengers “In X Months…Time Runs Out!” story arc, I haven’t been covering it for the site. Clearly that means that this issue is going to be pretty special if I’m starting to take a look at the series. Well, let’s just get the cover out of the way now. Marvel has officially announced that when “Time Runs Out” it will be because we’re leading into this summer’s blockbuster everyone, every time, everywhere crossover event of ‘Secret Wars.’ That isn’t why I’m covering this issue though.
No, for the first time since this current story arc has been running, I’ve actually felt invested in what is going on. I’m a huge fan of Jonathan Hickman and his ‘Fantastic Four’ run is one of the best of all time. So I was a little dissapointed when I was reading through this event and have been nonplussed at what the future of Marvel is going to bring. In fact, the entire thing has been feeling like a retcon waiting to happen, though all of that has started to change in this issue. From bringing in the long running character fights, the Illuminati v Avengers, the Cabal, and finally starting to toss things together in a way that feels like it makes sense – this is the issue is one we’ve long been waiting for.
Everything that has been going has been brought together in a way that makes sense, is satisfying, and leaves us with so many more questions! Oh, and we still have four months until time runs out so we’re not over by a long shot.
Visually Stefano Caselli has a solid feel though I felt the issue was split between the serious and the style he is known for which fits with a more happy go lucky book like ‘Amazing Spider-Man.’ It doesn’t always mesh with the view of what is happening on page but looking past that the quality is there. As I feel that the trend for this series will continue to be a darker one as it leads into ‘Secret Wars’ and is about worlds being destroyed I just hope that the art can match that tone.
So what else do we have in this issue aside from the official tease that we’re leading towards the ‘Secret Wars’? Well, The Illuminati vs The Cabal, The Illuminati vs The Avengers/S.H.I.E.L.D., Namor vs Black Panther, a world destroyed, fights, potential major character deaths, and more surprises! While the build up has been increasingly getting better, this is the first issue in the series that has truly been able to shine.
Hickman is a master of build up and long term planning which has clearly shown in this issue. While I still feel that the inclusion of Thanos has been completely out of place and hope that he ends up making sense here down the line, ‘Avengers’ #40 has taken a ton of details and long term planning and blended it all together to make sense. A stand out issue in the ongoing saga.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Stefano Caselli