In Review: Avengers #677

This justifies the use of the word "epic". Wow!

The covers: A trio to chase down as if you were a speed freak. The Regular cover is by Mark Brooks and is a stunner. Quicksilver is running at the reader, avoiding the explosion of the Avengers Mansion behind him, which other heroes were obviously unable to avoid — their bodies are blasted backwards behind him. He looks fantastic, both regal and dangerous; every inch the sleek speedster. The coloring is also good, with the explosion in yellows and oranges, which shade Pietro’s normally violet suit. This was the cover I had to pick up. Julian Totino Tedesco continues the Connecting Variant covers, with this being the penultimate edition. New/Old hero Voyager gets the spotlight as she speeds forward, avoiding the debris of the broken Avengers statues. In the background Quicksilver can be seen speeding by. Very nice and, thankfully, not as crimson as the previous two covers. The Avengers 1,000,000 B.C. Variant is a fun one from Esad Ribic which features ancient incarnations of familiar heroes. I can make out Thor, Doctor Strange, and the Black Panther, but the others are questionable. Still, this is neat and I’d buy this comic if it were a series and looked as sharp. Overall grades: Regular A, Connecting Variant A-, and Avengers 1,000,000 B.C. A

The story: Quicksilver jerks his head backwards sensing a sudden dip in air pressure. He realizes that someone has attacked Avengers Mansion since all the heroes have gathered in that location. He rushes to evacuate the building, but even for him there’s not enough time. A turn of the page reveals the building is destroyed. All that can be seen in the rubble are photographs of classic moments in this team’s history. High above are the agents of destruction: the Black Order. One member wonders “how planet Earth was chosen as the playing field because of its ‘unique defenses.'” This is a solid tease from writers Mark Waid, Al Ewing, & Jim Zub as to which cosmic entities are responsible for transporting the world and its inhabitants to another realm. Another member does a telepathic sweep to reveal that there are no signs of life in the area. “They’re gone.” Obviously the bad guys are mistaken, but how the heroes were able to escape certain doom I’ll leave unrevealed. Suffice to say, they survive and plan what to do next. It’s on Pages 6 and 7 that one of the beings responsible for Earth’s woes is revealed and it’s not too surprising. He’s a classic villain who’s done this sort of thing before. What is left as a mystery is who this character is playing against. Even in their new location, the heroes learn when something catastrophic is occurring, and something does happen, causing the heroes to break into two teams to stop the trouble. Quicksilver has the focus of the issue, being his usual hotheaded self, but being justified. He takes action at the end of the issue that ends surprisingly. The mystery is being revealed and the action is good. This is solid storytelling that will please new and old fans. Overall grade: A

The art: From the first panel of Quicksilver turning his head, the reader is going to fall in love with the art by Pepe Larraz. That first panel captures the hero’s nobility, strength, and concern flawlessly. The double-page spread of Pages 2 and 3 show the smoldering remains of the once might mansion, and even though I knew it would be shown in this issue, it still hit me hard. The small inserted panels filled with images of the Avengers’ past were gut punches. Seeing the Black Order standing high above the ruins made them appear dark gods. The entrance on Page 4 is dramatic and beautiful: no one captures energy as beautifully as Larraz. The reveal of one of the villains on 6 is solid, with him looking much more imposing than when I last saw him in the 1980s. Energy again comes into play on Page 9 and it is beautiful and terrifying. Quicksilver’s reaction atop 11 is hilarious and is only made more fun by a character’s pose in the panel that follows. When Pietro starts showing the attitude he’s infamous for, he’s incredibly strong, especially in the bottom panel of that same page. When the heroes go into action it’s a partial double-page splash on 12 and 13 and it is absolutely worthy of the word epic. The heroes and villains look incredible and the destruction that’s occurring is on a tremendous scale. The second front is equally staggering for visuals. And when another character enters the fray, the intensity increases. Plus, take a gander at the character in close-up in the second panel on Page 17 and the final panel on 18 — Wow! Take my money, Mr. Larraz! The final page is brutal, with the emotion cranked up for the reader by the small panel that leads to a larger, violent one. I’m standing and applauding this book’s art. Overall grade: A+

The colors: I grew up with super hero comics having bright colors and have been disappointed at all the darkness in them these days. Thankfully, David Curiel gets to work with so many brightly clad characters that even in the darkest of situations the colors explode off the page. Look at the beautiful splash of yellow behind Quicksilver in the first panel that highlights him and foreshadows the danger. His narration is a dream in light violet, which always reminds the reader whose thoughts they are. The yellows, oranges, and reds of the mansion’s destruction give the illustration a strong sense of reality. The light violets used on 4 are cool, calming, yet utterly alien — perfect for the situation. The blues, pinks, and reds for the villains’ two pages give them a strong and alien tone. When trouble hits Earth again, there’s a stark red used for the alert system. Pages 12 and 13 are my favorite of the book for all the colors in play that have each character stand out, yet make the situation frantic. The crimsons used for the final panel on 18 are beautiful. Thank you, Mr. Curiel! Overall grade: A+ 

The letters: Narration and dialogue (the same font), scene settings, a blaring klaxon, sounds, and the tease for next issue are created by VC’s Cory Petit. I’m liking all that’s done, save the narration and dialogue which I prefer to see in different fonts. To differentiate them, they are colored differently; they stand out, but a slight change, such as using italics, would have made them visually stronger. The scene settings are dramatic, making each location exciting. The sounds are sparse, but when they appear they up the epic action. Overall grade: A-

The final line: This book justifies the use of the word “epic”. Wow! With characterization this good, action this excellent, and visuals this good one cannot help but squeal in joy knowing there’s another issue out next week. This is outstanding fun. 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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