Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by John Romita, Jr.
The return of the Illuminati! Marvel’s super-secret brain trust has reunited because someone is trying to put the Infinity Gauntlet back together. Who is it and will the Avengers be able to stop them in time? And what does any of this have to do with the Red Hulk?
Plus, is there a little romance brewing? Another blistering blockbuster chapter from Marvel’s premiere super hero team Bendis and Romita Jr. Plus: another illustrated chapter of the oral history of the Avengers!
Infinity Gems, the Illuminati AND Brian Michael Bendis scripting? Marvel should charge $4.99 for this!
But seriously, $3.99 is fine.
Find out what I thought of this book after the jump.
I think it’s for a lot of different reasons, but I think the main reason is I think it feels like the perfect marriage between Brian Michael Bendis trademark banter-heavy scripting and classic Avengers work. This issue pairs those two concepts together really well, as the former technique adds a bit of levity to the heaviness the situation at hand brings to the equation.
And this is quite the situation, as The Hood is collecting the Infinity Gems from the various members of the Illuminati (more on them soon) and doesn’t care who stands in his way in the process. The recap of the fight between Red Hulk and The Hood works great from both a storytelling device (flashback within a flashback!) as well as a character development piece, as Red Hulk is more tolerable here than ever and we’re given even more opportunity to watch these new Avengers pair together. Bendis is making this team feel like a team very quickly, and I’m liking how the team is pairing together. Even the Red Hulk seems to fit here.
Tying this arc into the Illuminati is a genius move too, as that mini-series was one of the best things Marvel had to offer over the last few years. It was great for a ton of different reasons (the juxtaposition of personalities, the sheer excitement of seeing these movers and shakers in a room together again), but perhaps the best reason is because it is the first time everyone else found out that Black Bolt is dead (or is dead for now, at least). The moment shared between Medusa and Reed is particularly touching, and speaks volumes of how well Bendis understands these characters.
I also love how distrusting Steve Rogers is of Tony Stark, and that level of distrust pushes their two parties crashing together into a rather uncomfortable future in the next issue. The whole issue is expertly plotted together by Bendis, and it’s fun watching all of the pieces weave together.
The only problem I have at all is the art, as there are some moments that throw me off. The showdown between The Hood and the Red Hulk feels like it should be a big, energetic sequence, but it doesn’t come across like that artistically to me. His art really works for the most part, but sections like the Red Hulk showdown, anything Lockjaw is in, and one particular panel in which Steve Rogers looks entirely like Noh-Varr (I kept looking at it thinking “why is Noh-Varr bossing Maria Hill around?!) bring down the overall quality for me a good amount. JR JR is an extraordinary artist, but I’m still not really loving his work on this book.
Overall though, this is another really solid issue that features Bendis-best Avengers (not including the “New” variety) work. Here’s hoping the art starts matching up to the greatness of the story, but either way, this arc is really working for me.
Final Verdict: 7.5 – Buy