After an awesome ‘Ocean’s Eleven’-esque issue featuring the team of Captain Marvel, Spider-Woman, Black Widow, Shang-Chi, Cannonball, and Sunspot as they were tasked with finding out what AIM was up to, the following arc in Jonathan Hickman’s ‘Avengers’ picked up in issue twelve with another collection of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes exploring the Savage Land and the mysterious children that appeared there after one of Ex Nihilo’s pods blossomed.
After observing the children and their rapid growth, Tony Stark noticed that the self-sustaining crop of kids were in need of guidance. So he sent a team to teach them the most basic set of values and lessons that they’d need to survive in the world outside of the Savage Land. After getting lessons from the likes of Hyperion, Thor, Captain Universe, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, and Hawkeye, their lessons turned into a real life application of what they learned when they were abducted by a mysterious being who was looking to exploit the children and the power that they hold inside them.
Now, in this most recent issue, the Avengers are doing everything they can to track the abducted children, and they get a bit of help when a Watcher leads them in the right direction. But when they find the captors, they are met with a massive threat in the form of the High Evolutionary and his Terminus.
To begin with, I want to say that I love the way that Hickman writes the Superior Spider-Man. I’ve mentioned before how he manages to still showcase Spidey’s comedic value, but seeing as it’s a different person under the mask now (kinda), he’s a different kind of funny. A great example in this issue is when the Doc walks through the projection hiding their enemies and he’s proven wrong. Maybe I’m just easily entertained, but I really enjoyed that gag and love seeing the new Spider-Man partake in his Avengers duties because you don’t really get that in Dan Slott’s ‘Superior Spider-Man’.
Next, Hyperion is really coming into his own as a character. This version is a bit different than the others that some may remember from Marvel history, but Hickman is doing a good job of building this one up to be a real hero with new motivations. I especially like his friendship with Thor since the two have much in common. Seeing these larger-than-life god characters share a drink and talk about life is a nice reminder that these heroes that we idolize are just people sometimes, regardless of the powers that they have that we don’t.
Finally, speaking of Thor, the way that the Asgardian Avenger was depicted in this issue by Mike Deodato was just straight up heroic. The scene where he offers to “fell the giant” includes so much cool details like the lightning in his eyes. But Thor isn’t the only one that gets the spotlight as a paradigm of heroism. There’s a great shot of the whole team springing into action near the center of the book that is like a textbook charge into battle. For some reason, I found Deodato to be totally on the ball with all his action in this issue and that just added to the overall quality of the book.
With ‘Age of Ultron’ coming to an end, I know that a prelude to this summer’s ‘Infinity’ will be coming soon in the pages of ‘Avengers,’ and I will be here waiting with open arms for that to begin. But as excited as I am for the next big event in the Marvel Universe, I feel like I’m this excited for every issue of ‘Avengers’ because it’s just such a quality book. I probably say this in every one of my reviews for it, but Jonathan Hickman is just a master of his craft and he has yet to disappoint me during his run with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. I have high hopes for the crossover story that’s spinning out from his books. Hopefully it doesn’t end up disappointing me like ‘Age of Ultron’ has with their most recent issue.
Written by Jonathan Hickman with Nick Spencer
Art by Mike Deodato & Frank Martin