In Review: Avengers #683

This is very readable, just not at the same caliber as previous issues.

The covers: Another pair of covers for one to collect as if they were Pyramoids. The Regular cover by Mark Brooks features twenty-three different characters and that’s because the Beast is standing before several computer monitors that show the Avengers at different points in their history. On the main screen is the Vision, Giant Man, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. Beast doesn’t look too happy at what he’s seeing, because someone is absent from the screens. If one were to look at this illustration carefully, one would see that the mutant has a medical injector gun in his hand, hinting that all of these images have something to do with the ailing Jarvis. Brooks delivers the goods once again with this cover. A surprising frontpiece is the Thor Variant cover by Humberto Ramos & Edgar Delgado. I was used to the previous issue’s Connecting Variant covers, so not seeing one for this issue was a bit of a letdown. This image features Jane Foster as Thor in the foreground, lightning flying in every direction from Mjolnir. Surrounding her, clockwise, are Spider-Man (Miles Morales), Nova, Ms. Marvel, Falcon, Vision, and Iron Man. This looks okay, but the majority of these characters haven’t appeared in this storyline, so what’s the point? Overall grades: Regular A and Thor Variant C

The story: Lightning arrives at the Avengers Auxiliary HQ where Robert Maverick almost shoots him. Enigma and Toni Ho are also in the room and they welcome the young hero’s arrival. Miguel is surprised to see Enigma conscious and Maverick informs him that the word is Red Wolf is down, so she’s only recently gained consciousness. The speedy hero has come to get Voyager to transport Rogue’s team out of the Antarctic, which surprises them because they thought she gone to get them. A glance at a monitor shows the fifth Pyramoid has landed at the hospital that Jarvis is in. Jim Zub, Mark Waid, & Al Ewing’s tale then moves to that locale where violet specters are creating havoc. The Wasp, Nadia Van Dyke, remains with the once again fading butler while the Beast tries to help the people being pestered by the entities. He finds he can’t do anything as the creatures’ strength is better than his. He realizes the best thing he can do is grab the Pyramoid, because once it’s gone the spirits will disappear as well. As he runs in to tell this to Nadia he finds her shrinking the medical injector that needs to be used on Jarvis and then she shrinks him. She tells him he needs to get into Jarvis and give him the injection, because “there’s two of me. Two Wasps, anyway — me and Jan. Maybe we don’t need both, or maybe…” After the Beast leaps into Jarvis’s mouth, she flies at the Pyramoid to touch it and end the madness in the hospital. I know nothing of Nadia so this was a good character moment for her and for me to get an understanding of her. What she discovers was a good surprise, as is what the Beast finds within Jarvis, and I don’t mean the microbe. There’s an outstanding tease on Pages 10 – 12 that foreshadows the big surprise of the final two pages. Marvel readers had already assumed what the heroes have just learned, but now it’s confirmed. I can’t wait to see what happens next, which is the best way to end a comic book. Overall grade: A  

The art: New to this saga is Paco Medina as the penciler and Juan Vlasco as the inker. I’m always concerned when the visual team changes on a long saga, as that’s something that didn’t happen back in my younger reading days. However, there’s nothing to fret about because this pair makes this book look just fine. This is obvious from the first page where Miguel enters the headquarters. The setting is good, with it having some solid tech, but not as impressive as what was in the Avengers Mansion — CHOKE! The panels are pretty small, but Medina and Vlasco put as much details into the characters as they do into the setting. I liked the characters’ faces and the tech on Enigma and the Iron Patriot is great. The next page moves things to the hospital where the entities running rampant. They look okay, but not too frightening. The last Ghostbusters film had creepier looking ghosts. They fly about terrorizing patients and employees with wisps of smoke coming off them as they move about. Nadia looks good with her mask off and on: I prefer to have my heroes always suited up, but since she’s been watching Jarvis, it makes sense she hasn’t had it on. Her resolve when she states she’s going to get the Pyramoid is good and her reaction to getting it excellent. The Beast is a mixed bag for me. I like him on Page 2, but his face looks as though it’s constructed differently on Page 3. The mutant’s journey within Jarvis is neat, with what he sees on 10 and 11, a double-paged splash, really cool. I don’t like the microbe or the hero on 14 and 15; again, Beast’s face looks different from previous appearances in this issue. Voyager is a stunner in every panel she appears. Awakened Jarvis (and, c’mon, that’s no spoiler) also looks good, though he’s much younger than I’ve seen him before…Then again I haven’t read an Avengers comic in over twenty years. I’m liking the majority of the visuals, but inconsistencies in Beast hurt my love. Overall grade: B

The colors: Surprisingly, this book has some really passive colors. Granted this installment doesn’t feature all the characters that previous issues have had, but I would expect the colors to match earlier chapters. Jesus Aburtov starts strongly at the auxiliary headquarters, with Lightning and Red Hulk’s colors standing out. I liked that the computer monitor they looked at was green, rather than blue; it made it seem like a backup screen. The violets for the spirits in the hospital match the Pyramoid that’s appeared, but it does make them seem almost jovial. The Wasp’s reds in her costume are the brightest colors in the book, which is disappointing since the Beast’s journey really could have been dynamic, but too often employs black for the background, with reds sometimes used. Voyager’s yellow togs look sharp against the violets of the hospital and the inclusion of whites for the last panel on the penultimate page are outstanding. A decent coloring job. Overall grade: B- 

The letters: VC’s Cory Petit creates scene settings, dialogue and narration (the same font), whispers, sounds, yells, and the tease for next week. The scene settings are big and bold, heralding a change in location strongly to the reader. The dialogue and narration should have used two different fonts, rather than just changing the balloon that contains the words. I do like the whispers, which shows characters making choices they’re uncertain of and utterances of astonishment. There should have been more sounds, such as for the pesky poltergeists in the hospital, but the few that appear are fine. Overall grade: B

The final line: A final attempt is made to save Jarvis and a revelation shocks the heroes. The story continues in fine format, but the artist and coloring changes stumble occasionally. This is very readable, just not at the same caliber as previous issues. Overall grade: B 

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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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