The Avengers have a lot going on now that Earth has been declared an Avengers World. That’s why Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are spread out all across the planet dealing with threats that no singular hero can handle alone. In the last issue of ‘Avengers World’, Shang-Chi, Falcon, Wolverine, and Black Widow were tasked with restoring order to Madripoor, which happens to be on the move because it’s sitting on the head of an ancient dragon that has recently been reanimated. As the Master of Kung Fu goes head to head with the Gorgon and the Hand, things aren’t looking too great for his teammates around the world either.
The first issue of this new series saw Spider-Woman, Hawkeye, Starbrand, and Nightmask head to Velletri, Italy to investigate the mysterious disappearance of an entire town. While there, they stumble upon a large stone with a strange sound emanating from it. Despite warnings against it, Starbrand touches it and the team is transported to the City of the Dead. Now, the Avengers are stuck in an underground city and their newest member is hearing haunting voices from his past.
The first thing that stood out to me about this issue was that there is a continuity error in it. Before he was Starbrand, he was just a college student named Kevin Connor. He got his powers through a White Event in Jonathan Hickman’s ‘Avengers’ #7 that wiped out every living thing around him. However, when this origin story was revisited in this issue of ‘Avengers World’ and Kevin was transported back to his old school through the powers of the spirits in the city, he says that it’s a high school. I definitely don’t think that they’re retconning his age because the scenes from the school don’t even resemble a high school. This may sound like a super nitpicky thing, but it bothers me when stories don’t pay attention to continuity like that. I definitely don’t blame Hickman for the mistake since he has practically every Avengers title on his plate right now, but I was hoping that an editor would have caught that before the issue went to the printers.
Aside from that error, I really liked getting to know Starbrand a little more. We knew so little about him when he was first introduced, but through his manipulation by figures from his past and Spider-Woman treating him with kid gloves, we get a much needed look into his personality. Like Jess says, he’s very crackable, which is something that could get him and his teammates into trouble down the line, so that adds an interesting layer to the story.
Finally, I really liked the scene where Bruce Banner is talking with Captain America about the Avengers roster. It’s almost like he’s speaking for the fans that have definitely noticed that there aren’t any active members who are proficient with magic. Out of 40 heroes, not a single one is a sorcerer of some kind. I feel like Doctor Strange or Brother Voodoo would have been no brainers. Either way, it’s just a little funny for Bruce to point out this fairly large oversight on Steve and Tony’s part since they were supposed to be prepared for anything. Luckily, their rolodexes extend beyond the active roster, so Sebastian Druid comes to the team’s aid. This is also a great opportunity for the audience to get better acquainted with the son of Doctor Druid who happens to be a cohort of the senior Nick Fury. I know that I don’t really know him, so I’m excited to see a newer hero in action.
Even though there was that small discrepancy with continuity, I really like where this part of the story is going. Now that the puppet master has revealed herself, it’ll be interesting to see how this affects Starbrand during our next encounter with this team.
AVENGERS WORLD #4
Written by Jonathan Hickman & Nick Spencer
Art by Stefano Caselli & Andres Mossa
Cover by Mike Deodato & Paul Mounts