In Review: Avengers #5

Revelations, actions, and surprises combined with strong visuals make this a Marvel book to follow.

The cover: Just one cover to track down for this issue and it’s by Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales, & Jason Keith. Ghost Rider is driving like a bat out of Hell to avoid the hand of a Celestial that’s reaching for him. Leaning out of the back seat is Captain America who’s surprised to see that the demonic driver’s vehicle is speeding along on top of water. Solid thrilling cover with two of the heroes in jeopardy. The colors on this are also good, with the Celestial looking ominous in dark colors, though it’s fingertips look like they’re powering up to shoot energy. The oranges and yellows for Ghost Rider’s flames are outstanding. Overall grade: A

The story: Jason Aaron reveals some major information about the history of the planet Earth in the opening three pages of this issue. It seems that the first Celestial set foot on Earth four billion years ago. It was dying, infected by an infestation of the Horde, the oversized insects that have been causing havoc for the last four issues. The diseased Celestial bled a black liquid from its helmet which seeped into the Earth. This bile stewed for billions of years, eventually mixing with the contents of the world, leading to the creation of life on Earth. This tale is being told to captive Captain America by Loki, so there is the source to consider. Cap’s not buying Loki’s tale, who continues his story, including how the Avengers of one million B.C. fought another Celestial and what happened to them. Unbeknownst to the trickster god, Ghost Rider is speeding to Cap’s rescue. Iron Man gets drawn into this story in a very interesting way as he, and Doctor Strange, are waiting for the arrival of an important package. Captain Marvel and the Black Panther don’t do much in this book, while Thor and She-Hulk return to Earth with something that will help them fight the Final Host. The ending of the book is a great cliffhanger, with this Ghost Rider doing something that no other Ghost Rider has done before, Iron Man introducing some new armor, and Thor and She-Hulk…Well, you’ll just have to see it to believe it. This continues to be Marvel’s most fun team book. Overall grade: A

The art: Paco Medina and Ed McGuinness do the pencils on this issue with Juan Vlasco, Mark Morales, & Karl Story doing the inks. The first three pages that show the Celestial dying are great; they capture the feel of classic Jack Kirby design with some great humanization of the giant as black ichor vomits out of its face. That first page that’s a full-paged splash is epic! Loki’s introduction on Page 4 is a tight close-up of the villain and he just exudes arrogance. The reveal of the Progenitor’s current state is excellent. The action at the bottom of 5 is great and had me cheer. That attack at the end of 8 is awesome, with the reveal atop 9 outstanding. The reveal of the third panel on 11 had me laughing, for the location and the expression on the character’s face. The cheeks on the character at the bottom of 14 are hilarious. The action on 17 is outstanding and left me in awe at what I was witnessing. The character that has the focus in the first panel on 18 is great, as it’s the classic hero pose and it looks perfect. The last two pages are a double-page splash and they are epic. This is also something I’ve not seen in a Marvel comic before and I’m on fire, no pun intended, to see what these characters are capable of in the next issue. Overall grade: A

The colors: This book doesn’t only have sensational artwork, the colors by David Curiel are also terrific. Look at how well he handles the metal work on the Progenitor; the gold inlay on his armor its awesome. The flames that lick around the behemoth are stunning in orange, red, and yellow. The blue light that shines from behind its dead husk on Page 4 makes it appear the creature is approved by heaven itself. The yellow and orange sphere created by Loki is also great, looking unearthly but also color tied to the god. There’s some great work with water on these pages, with several shades of blue making the liquid realistic looking. The dark blues used for the character’s costume on 18 are sensational; I only wish this character was getting more action in this book so that the artists and Curiel could have more time to showcase this individual. Overall grade: A

The letters: VC’s Cory Petit provides the text for this issue which includes Asgardian speech, scene settings, dialogue, muttered dialogue, transmissions, Motherboard’s speech, and yells. Employing unique fonts for certain characters is a slick way to differentiate them from others and give them an additional nonhuman aspect to their characters. Petit’s scene settings are big and bold, matching the strength of this book’s line-up. Though it only happens once, the muttered dialogue shows a character having self doubts and is done in a tiny font but is still easy to read. Petit is also doing a strong job on this book. Overall grade: A 

The final line: Revelations, actions, and surprises combined with strong visuals make this a Marvel book to follow. The new history of Earth and the cliffhanger are reason enough to pick up this 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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