In Review: Avengers #2

The first strike is made against the Final Host of Celestials, while two former friends battle.

The covers: An appropriate pair to track down for this second issue. The Regular cover is by Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales, & Justin Ponsor. Under the grasping hand of a Celestrial, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and She-Hulk are shown. Ghost Rider’s hellish vehicle cuts a swath of flame across the bottom. Nice image, but the colors are so sedate, they blend in with each other. Violet is a good color to create an otherworldliness, but everything else is just too muted, leaving a focus hard to find. Much better is the Variant cover by David Marquez and Ponsor. This has Captain America in the bottom left foreground. Behind him is Black Panther, Ghost Rider, Doctor Strange, and She-Hulk. All the characters look as though they’re going to be speeding soon to the upper right. Behind them in the sky are Iron Man, Thor, and Captain Marvel, already zooming off in that direction. The three fliers are in much lighter colors than those on the ground. This trio doesn’t disappear into the background because it’s a pale blue sky. I really like this variant. Overall grades: Regular C and Variant A

The story: Jason Aaron’s second chapter picks up where the last ended, with the big three running at the Celestials that have arrived. Their journey is followed by an unseen narrator, though the font used for his thoughts is easy enough to reveal who he is. This mystery character reveals that “other morons” are out there, with Black Panther and Strange taking out metallic bugs underground, Ghost Rider battling the bugs above ground, and Captain Marvel trying to direct dead Celestials to fall off the coast. The story then moves to Ghost Rider who tells his younger brother, who doesn’t know he’s the supernatural hero, he’s taking off. The story then moves to Jennifer Walters who discovers a dead Celestial, Eson, and is confronted with hundreds of the metallic bugs, causing her to change into her more familiar persona. Her battle is cut short for a surprising reason and she’s soon transported somewhere to engage an unsuspecting foe. Her fight is a good chunk of the story, with her ultra-buff appearance explained by her dialogue and mindset. The person she’s battling was good to see, because this character is new to me, so the more I read about this individual the better I can understand him. Thor, Cap, and Iron Man don’t have it easy trying to down the Celestials, with one of their own taken out quickly and the other two fairly unnoticed, until one makes an impact on Page 16. I really liked the fallout that occurred in the first two panels on the penultimate page, as this hasn’t been done in a Marvel comic before. I could be wrong, but I can’t recall it ever happening. Just as it seems the team is starting to make some headway, the protector of the Celestials appears and it’s a whole new ballgame. This was a good second installment, but things are obviously just getting started. Perfect Marvel reading. Overall grade: A 

The art: The visuals on this book are good. Ed McGuinness is again on pencils and Mark Morales on inks with Jay Leisten. The first panel of the book shows the heroic trio as they continue their run to the Celestials and they look as any fan would want them. The inserted panel that teases the mysterious narrator shows just enough of the character to tease him without revealing him, saving that for the final page. Page 2 has the other heroes in action, with Captain Marvel getting the largest panel which is done from a great perspective, looking down as Captain Marvel tries to direct the falling corpse of the Celestial. Ghost Rider’s beat down of the bugs is good, with him taking off in his car cool. I’ll admit that I’m still getting used to him not being on a motorcycle, but this looks terrific. Jennifer’s encounter with the Celestial is epic, with it being of monstrous size and the bugs’ arrival is great, just peeking over the top of the star creature. Jennifer’s transformation is classic Hulk imagery, with the change shown with her foot expanding beyond her shoe. She’s much more muscular than I’ve seen her before, but her dialogue is enough explanation for me as to why she’s a little more primitive than the John Byrne days. The Avenger that gets hit on 8 is neat, but I wanted to see the action occur, rather than the after effect. The progression of what happens to She-Hulk is neat, as is the journey of her foe on the next page. The appearance of two heroes on 12 is great: I love when smaller heroes are helping the bulkier ones. The full-paged splash on 14 is awesomeness in action. The end of the battle on 17 is cool, giving me a new respect for the victor. Where this pair ends the issue on 18 is great and has me looking forward to how they’ll be shown in action in two weeks. My favorite panels were the first two on 19, simply because that’s something old man me has not seen before in a Marvel book. The final page reveals who’s helping the Celestials and, though I wasn’t surprised, it was good to see him again. Overall grade: A

The colors: You’ve got to love the coloring on the first panel by David Curiel. It shows the big three magnificently in bold, striking colors. I love the panel on the second page that has Captain Marvel helping the Celestial, again because of its strong colors. I’m getting used to seeing the chrome colors on Ghost Rider accompanied by the expecting orange and yellow flames, and its undoubtedly due to Curiel. She-Hulk’s greens are terrific and are just a bit darker than the bugs that get squished or torn apart by her. I really like all the work done on the splash on 14. Without going into specifics to give it away, one character is highlighted by another sensationally. The reveal on the final page is a little weakened by the top of the villain not being as darkly colored as the bottom. If the character’s clothes had been a darker color he would have popped more against the dark violet background. Still, this book looks great under Curiel’s talents. Overall grade: A-

The letters: VC’s Cory Petit creates Asgardian speech, sounds, dialogue, She-Hulk yells and growls, Iron Man transmissions, and the tease for next issue. The font for the narrator is heavily stylized and reveals the individual’s identity before the final page. New readers may not pick up on this, but veteran readers certainly will. The sounds are numerous and terrific. They have to be big for the size of the threats. However it’s She-Hulk’s ragings that really stood out, giving some classic dialogue in monstrously bold fonts. Overall grade: A

The final line: The first strike is made against the Final Host of Celestials, while two former friends battle. Very enjoyable read with the story split in two locations. No Black Panther or Doctor Strange sadly in this installment, so I’m hoping for more of them in two weeks. The visuals are good, going from big to epic equally. This is perfect Marvel reading for all ages. Overall grade: A

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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