Under the direction of Jonathan Hickman, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have had their hands full protecting their Avengers World. But lately, the writer’s two titles ‘Avengers’ and ‘New Avengers’ have started to collide more and more as another set of Avengers from another world have recently popped up thanks to AIM’s experiments. Now, as part of Marvel’s latest crossover event ‘Original Sin’, one of the biggest secrets of the Illuminati finally comes to light and two best friends come to blows over it.
Since the beginning of Marvel NOW, Captain America has disagreed with the reformation of the Illuminati and their tactics to save their world from the ongoing incursions plaguing the various worlds of the Marvel Universe. But when the group tried things his way by reassembling the Infinity Gauntlet, the legendary weapon shattered, leaving only one gem behind. Despite saving the world in that instance, they lost the tool that did the job and were sent back to square one. Knowing that Cap wouldn’t concede to the options that Tony Stark and company were coming up with, Stephen Strange wiped the memories from Steve Rogers’ mind and erased the whole situation from the Sentinel of Liberty’s head.
However, all those memories suddenly returned to the Captain in a dream after the Watcher’s murder. With those memories restored, Steve is understandably upset with Tony about keeping this from him. He’s so upset that he assembled a squad to confront Iron Man about the Illuminati and its mission. But this interrogation yields results that the team was not anticipating. While they were probably ready for a battle with Iron Man, it’s unlikely that they were prepared for the Time Gem resurfacing.
Overall, this was an exciting issue. I have been waiting for this subject to circle back for some time, and now that it has. I don’t think I’ve seen the Avengers fight like this since ‘Civil War’. For a while there, I was anticipating for Steve to go ‘World War Hulk’ and put the Illuminati on trial for what they did. But then at the very end, things took a very interesting turn involving time travel. I’ll admit, there has been an overabundance of that in recent Marvel history, almost to the point where it’s overkill, but I trust Hickman and his stories because since he’s taken over this title, he’s delivered some excellent stories. Maybe I wouldn’t price them at $4.99 for a regular issue, but there are definitely some big things that could come out of this arc and affect the Marvel Universe as we know it.
Usually, I spend these reviews praising Hickman and his structure and writing, but I have to say that there might have been a smidge too much recap in this issue. Now I understand that not everyone is caught up on the happenings in ‘New Avengers’, but that’s what the recap page is for. I wish that they had cut out most of that boardroom conversation which was almost entirely reprinted from this book’s sister series. If they did that, then we could’ve gotten more three panels of Tony vs. Team Steve before the Time Gem came into play. That part just seemed a little rushed because they were running out of pages, but that could’ve been remedied by eliminating some of the exposition.
Also, I couldn’t help but feel like I was missing something because this issue takes place after ‘Original Sin’ #2, which hasn’t been released yet. Normally, I would read the main book first and then go into the tie-in, but that option was not available. As such, it felt like some details could have been left out, such as why would Steve remember these things now rather than any other time. The timing of this release could’ve been planned out better, but hopefully we don’t miss out on too much by having this come out before the next chapter of Jason Aaron’s event book.
While it may sound like I was extremely critical of this issue of ‘Avengers’, I really did like it. I say this all the time but ‘Civil War’ is my favorite modern Marvel story arc, so to see Steve and Tony at it again in a rematch for Tony pulling some shady maneuvers was pretty great for me. But with that unexpected ending, I’m very curious to see where things go from here.
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, & Sunny Gho
Cover by Frank Cho & Jason Keith