Fight the powah
Al Ewing (W), Paco Medina (P), Juan Vlasco (I), Jesus Aburtou
Cover by: Julian Totino Tedesco
Publisher: Marvel Comics
This is another comic I’ve wanted to talk about. It’s a unique book that continues Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers and Avengers World and Al Ewing’s Captain America and the Mighty Avengers.
The premise, for those who don’t know, is that, during Hickman’s run on the Avengers, Roberto Da Costa aka Sunspot, former X-Man and New Mutant, was recruited to be a part of the Avengers. During the latter issues, Da Costa, using his massive family fortune, literally bought out the Advanced Idea Mechanics organization. He rebranded it as Avengers Idea Mechanics and restructured the upper echelons of the company.
With the New Avengers, he set up his own Avengers team, consisting of Songbird, Hawkeye (who was put on as a S.H.I.E.L.D liaison), Power Man (Victor Alvarez), White Tiger, Squirrel Girl, Hulkling, Wiccan, and P.O.D (an A.I dwelling in a suit melded to a human named Aikku Jokinen). Roberto himself, weakened by Terrigen poisoning, works as the leader of the support team along with Dr. Toni Ho and Max Brashear, the son of Blue Marvel.
In the first story arc, the team challenged some power plays made by the Maker, the Reed Richards of the Ultimates Earth.
Following that (well, that and a space adventure where Hulking was crowned king of a Kree/Skrull hybrid civilization and they removed the alien god known as Moridun from Wiccan), they declared war on S.H.I.E.L.D by removing Rick Jones aka the hacktivist known as the Whisperer from their custody. Hawkeye, despite being their S.H.I.E.L.D representative, supported the decision. Squirrel Girl, Hulkling, and Wiccan were uncomfortable with the concept, so Da Costa dismissed them. Songbird was playing at being a double agent for S.H.I.E.L.D, so she supported their assault on A.I.M Island. Da Costa and his remaining Avengers evacuated to a secret base in the Savage Lands. Hawkeye was captured, but released for his previous service record. However, he is being constantly monitored by S.H.I.E.L.D, so he cannot return to A.I.M. Hawkeye, Squirrel Girl, Hulkling, and Wiccan, have split off to form their own Avengers team. Back at the ranch, Roberto Da Costa’s longtime friend Cannonball returned and is aiding Sunspot in his further exploits.
The current story, which #14 continues, picks up with unhinged S.H.I.E.L.D Agent John Garrett planning a massive assault on A.I.M. He forcibly reprograms Dum Dum Dugan’s LMD bodies to work for him. He then discovers that Songbird is a triple agent working for Da Costa, and he captures her with the aid of the Dugan LMDs. Da Costa receives the distress signal from Songbird, and he sends Cannonball, Power Man, and Max Brashear to rescue her. Meanwhile, the Maker, who has been spying on A.I.M since their first encounter, is moving forward with his plan of taking down Da Costa and his Avengers while seizing control of A.I.M. He drops a team of supervillains called the New Revengers (named after a team Wonder Man formed to settle a beef he had with the Avengers back in the Bendis days), consisting of members Paibok the Power Skrull, White Tiger’s sister Angela, Angar the Screamer, Vermin, Ansi the All-Seeing, Skar the Weapon of Mars and Omnitronicus into Da Costa’s base of operations. The Maker himself ambushes Dr. Toni Ho and P.O.D with Skar and attempts to kill them both.
This issue picks up from there, with Omnitronicus trapping Roberto in his operations room and attempting to kill him. The rest of the Maker’s Revengers drop into other parts of the base, with Angela facing down her sister personally. Elsewhere in the base, Toni Ho reveals to Richards that Roberto had been expecting this thanks to P.O.D’s scanning abilities, and she busts out an Iron Man suit reminiscent of Pepper Pots’ Rescue armor.
Cannonball, Max Brashear, and Power Man arrive at the S.H.I.E.L.D helicarrier where Songbird is being held. Power Man lays out a few S.H.I.E.L.D agents, and the team makes their way to Songbird. She tells them she was pressed into revealing the location of A.I.M’s new headquarters. They are subsequently ambushed by a horde of Dugan LMDs. Garrett, who is in the gunnery of the helicarrier, launches a “Weapon of Total Annihilation” at A.I.M’s Savage Lands base.
Sunspot is still holding off Omnitronicus’ laser assault and is hit. Before he can receive the kill shot, an old friend from Robert’s New Mutant days appears: Warlock.
I really dig this series, and this comic was a good continuation of the story. It’s odd, the team lineup unusual, and the whole affair very charming. I love the “fight the power” theme of the series. I’m a college student, so naturally that is going to appeal to me. Plus, well, S.H.I.E.L.D has been very shady lately in the comics.
This story has been a good one. The collision of all threats hitting A.I.M at once keeps the tension high and the story moving. The characters are all distinct and enjoyable. I particularly like Power Man’s gung-ho nature and Roberto Da Costa’s charisma.
I like the Maker as a villain for this Avengers team. His cold and calculating personality provides a good opposition for Sunspot’s optimism and energy. I also think John Garrett is a good face for S.H.I.E.L.D in this story. He’s spiteful and has an itchy trigger finger. He is a good representation for someone in power who enjoys using it too much.
Medina has only been working on the art in this story arc, but I hope he sticks around. Gerardo Sandoval has done the art on most of the series, and it has been solid. However, I love Medina’s style. He rocked The New Warriors some years back, and his flowing and cartoon-esque work fits this book.
The pacing, though it is quick, is moving the overall story very slowly. Though I’m enjoying this big crescendo to the series so far, this issue didn’t feel like it covered much ground, and the previous one had the same problem. Each issue feels like it’s moving from checkpoint to checkpoint instead of advancing an epic.
Despite those problems, this is still one of my favorite books to come out of All-New, All-Different Marvel. It’s quirky, fun, and imaginative. In terms of Al Ewing’s work, Ultimates still sits atop my Marvel throne, but this is definitely a part of the king’s court (if that metaphor makes a lick of sense). Check it out at some point. It’ll be a memorable read at the very least.
Final Score: 7/10