In Review: Avengers #3

A talky issue, but a fun one.

The covers: A pair to pick up if you’re a completist and the gods allow it. The Regular cover by Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales & Justin Ponsor is like a movie poster. A giant Loki gives a slight smile as electricity spews from his hands to electrocute Thor, Captain Marvel, and Iron Man, who writhe in pain from the god’s fury. Just below Iron Man one can make out a city, showing the heroes have been lifted high above those they are protecting. The colors are great, with the energy white outlined in blue and the rising sun in yellow and orange providing a good contrast to the darker colors of the characters. The Variant cover is by Arthur Adams & Morry Hollowell. Any time Adams has work published one should scoop it up. Standing on a pile of debris with smoke behind them, the Avengers are racing at the reader. In the front is the She-Hulk who is absolutely ferocious looking. Behind her, from left to right, are Captain America, Captain Marvel, Thor, Black Panther, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and Ghost Rider. I like that Captain America is pointing forward, directing the team where to go — a classic Cap pose, and Captain Marvel and Doctor Strange are floating rising in the air with energy building in their hands. Poor Black Panther gets the least cover time, popping up in the dead center, but with this many characters one character is going to feel the squeeze. I love Adams’s work and the coloring by Hollowell is good, with Strange looking particularly eerie, so this is one I’ll have to chase down. Overall grades: Regular A and Variant A+

The story: Their battle against the oversized bugs complete, She-Hulk gives Ghost Rider a fist bump to congratulate their efforts. However, any joy she’s earned from the moment is quickly forgotten as she grabs her head with both hands and says, “GAGGH! Voice in head won’t shut up! Stupid puny dead space giant! Stupid voice say…RRRRRRRGGGH!” She puts both fists behind her head and swings them to smash the ground, narrowly missing the demonic driver. She has found an entrance to a tunnel and leaps into it yelling, “Go to Hell!” Ghost Rider follows after her in his flaming speedster. Meanwhile in New York City, Loki has the Avengers at his mercy. He reveals he’s merely a facilitator for the Final Host of Celestials. He takes the warp grenades from Captain Marvel, but Captain America will not allow these villains to “cleanse” the Earth and uses his shield to interfere with their plans, causing him and the villains to be transported away. His final words are “See you in the stars, Avengers.” Aside from this moment, Jason Aaron doesn’t have any action in this issue, though there are plenty of people yelling at each other, instead having this be an exposition issue, where information is revealed and the team splits into smaller groups, as Iron Man says, “So we’re doing the ‘split up into smaller teams’ thing? Good. That’s a sound, time-honored strategy.” The dialogue is the highlight of this issue, with Stark being at his snarkiest and Rogers being heroic with every single line. I like which characters pair and where each is headed, with me particularly interested to see what happens off Earth. This incarnation of Ghost Rider is completely new to me and is really growing on me; I’m looking forward to seeing what he brings to the group. The book ends with an epic reveal, which, given the epic members of this group, is fitting. Again, no action this time out, but the dialogue is fun. Overall grade: B

The art: Paco Medina & Ed McGuinness are the artists, while Juan Vlasco with Mark Morales and Jay Leisten are the inkers. The book opens with She-Hulk and Ghost Rider and I’m really enjoying the look of both characters. At first I wasn’t thrilled with the more masculine version of Jennifer, as I grew up with the much more svelte version in the 1980s, but since she’s not in control of her rage it makes sense. Roberto has a much more metallic face than previous GRs and it actually makes him look more inhuman than just a flaming skull. The final panel on the opening page has She Hulk looking great and I like Ghost Rider’s vehicle as it makes it way downward on Page 2. The close-up of Loki in the second panel on 3 is outstanding, having him look handsome but completely twisted with his lip giving the perfect snarl. I’ve always loved the look of the Celestials and they continue to be utterly alien, saying nothing, and moving very little, their visages enough to make them cosmically terrifying. The entrance of the characters on 12 is fantastic. I especially like the look of the character in the middle of the second panel, while the exit of a character in the final panel is a terrific visual joke. Pages 15 and 16 have a partial double-paged splash that has the Avengers striking a pose as Tony spells out their current state. It’s beautiful. Two characters go to a very well known location on 18 and a famous supporting character is revealed. I’m looking forward to seeing what the artists do with this character. The last panel has a neat reveal as well and I have to get more of this individual. This book looks great. Overall grade: A

The colors: A book is going to be gorgeous with David Curiel coloring it. The first page demonstrates how wonderful Curiel’s contributions are with the excellent shading on She-Hulk’s skin, composed of every shade of emerald. The flames on the page are gloriously warm in yellows and oranges. When the story shifts to New York City, supernatural greens are used to show Loki’s influence upon the heroes. The explosion of violets on 5 is fantastic. When Tony Stark and Captain Marvel have words, take a look at the terrific work done on each, with the shading done with colors exceptional. Praise must also be given to the bright colors of this pair’s costumes, which instantly draw the reader’s eye. The last panel of the book reveals a character who is in darkness, save a recent hole in the ceiling, allowing Curiel to tease the character in dark blues. Simply outstanding. Overall grade: A+

The letters: VC’s Cory Petit creates this issue’s sounds, dialogue, yells, scene settings, Iron Man dialogue, Asgardian speech, and quiet dialogue. I like that Iron Man’s dialogue is given a font different from the others to designate his mechanical voice, though I’ve never been a fan of the Asgardian font, though that’s not Petit’s fault, he’s just following in what’s gone before him. There are many different sized and shaped yells, a tell for the reader as to how loud and what emphasis each is. Overall grade: A

The final line: A talky issue, but a fun one. The volume of dialogue is necessary to prep the rest of this storyline which will have plenty of action from Aaron, I’m sure. The visuals are great, with some great work on the characters and the colors glorious throughout. A solid building issue. 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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