In Review: Avengers #8

A decent transition issue as the team relaxes and shows off their new headquarters to the reader.

The covers: Three different covers for this installment. David Marquez and Justin Ponsor show all the Avengers outside their new headquarters which uses the body of the Progenitor. The characters looks fine, with the angle looking up at them, but why they would all be outside of their new headquarters posed like this comes off as odd. Mike McKone and Chris Sotomayor has Cosmic Ghost Rider fighting Thor, Iron Man, and Ghost Rider. The illustration is gorgeous and the coloring perfection, but I just don’t like this villain. I’ve not read any comics with him and have no plans to do so. This is just an incredibly obvious way to advertise a new character. Hard pass. The final Variant is by Philip Tan and Marte Gracia and it’s terrific. Striking a pose as she arrives on the scene is Captain Marvel (with long hair) in the foreground. Just behind her is the Black Panther. Behind him is She-Hulk and behind her, just barely seen, is Ghost Rider, whose fiery chain wraps around him. Above them and behind the transparent logo is Doctor Strange, Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man. I like the characters in the foreground, more so than those at the top. The coloring on this is big and bold exactly like I want on my costumed heroes. Overall grades: Regular B-, Variant McKone C-, and Variant Tan A-

The story: Speeding along on water in a frozen wasteland, Roberto Reyes is talking to his brother Gabe via cellphone. Robbie tells his little brother he’s off to his new job, but can’t give him the details about it. “The people at this place are about as cool as you can get,” he says as he pulls up to the new headquarters of the Avengers at the North Pole. Jason Aaron has Robbie pull in and be greeted by Captain America. “Welcome to the Avengers, Robbie. I hope you’re ready to work harder than you’ve ever worked in your life.” As they make their way into the facility, Cap decides to make sure that Robbie has the right stuff to join the team. A quick Thor joke transitions to days earlier when the team was deciding what to do with Loki now that the battle with the Final Host has ended. This leads to the formation of their headquarters and then Aaron works around all the characters, showing what they’re up to in this new locale. This was a good way to show all the character interacting outside of an epic battle and allowed for threads to be introduced for future plot lines. Speaking of new plot lines, Page 15 shows a group of characters getting into a skirmish with a familiar villainous group and the fallout from this encounter has a very familiar face appearing on the final page, showing whom the Avengers will have to deal with next. The teaser is more exciting than the rest of the issue, but the team does need some downtime after their first six issues. Overall grade: B

The art: I’m a fan of Ghost Rider, more so than his alter ego Robbie, so I wasn’t really impressed with the first page, though the character does look good. The exterior of the new headquarters is just strange. I’ve grown up with the headquarters in New York City, so this is a big adjustment for me and the team. The full-paged splash on Page 2 that shows this locale is okay, but is so different. David Marquez’s art doesn’t begin to sing for me until Captain America is shown at the bottom of Page 3. The reaction from Robbie at the bottom of 3 is outstanding, showing him feeling the full force of a famous object. The pose of the character in the large panel on 4 is stellar. This character looks fantastic. The powering up in the panel that follows is equally impressive. I also really like the battle that ends the page. The flashback to a few days previous has the art changing slightly, especially on Thor. The art looks very realistic, which is different from the previous issues. Not better or worse, just different. Pages 9 and 10 tease some neat tech and I’m hoping that other opportunities present themselves to show more of it. The look on Jennifer’s face when she receives some medical news from Strange is great. 13 has a great reveal and given what happens later in this issue, may become a problem in future issues. There’s a neat visual joke that ends 14, though it’s colored too darkly. 17 and 18 contain a neat partial double-paged spread, though the space is surprisingly empty. It’s the final two pages where Marquez really wows the reader, with the new antagonist rearing his head. I’m really looking forward to this. Overall grade: B

The colors: Justin Ponsor is the book’s colorist and gives a great depth to the work by Marquez. This is evident from the first page with great work done with the flames reflected onto the water and the light source hitting Robbie when he’s shown in close-up. I’m wondering if it’s the lack of colors for the exteriors of the new headquarters that is giving me an odd feeling for this setting. It’s not Ponsor’s fault because of what’s in the illustration: it’s a snow covered mountain with a gray colored celestial behind it, all against a blue-gray background. This looks very blah. I do like that when Robbie thinks because his thought balloons are black, which is a good visual clue to the reader about his dark nature. Cap looks sensational on his pages, with a full figured image of him being stellar. The first three pages of the flashback are very dull due to the setting. Even the heroes’ costumes are sadly muted. The best colored interior scenes occur when Captain Marvel and Tony Stark are talking, but this is due to the view outside the windows. Otherwise, the interior of this setting is just metallic gray. The last page is fantastic, with the villain being colored superbly, the shots being fired looking terrific, and the massive limb behind him given lighter colors to show distance. Overall grade: B-

The letters: The text on this book hail from VC’s Cory Petit. This includes a phone transmission, dialogue, scene settings, a computer AI response, sounds, Asgardian speech, yells, and a familiar yell. All look good, with the scene settings being really strong, done in a wide all cap font that is as dynamic as this team. The gunshots that close a page are bizarrely constructed, looking not as a repeating weapon would sound. Overall grade: A-

The final line: A decent transition issue as the team relaxes and shows off their new headquarters to the reader. Several new plot threads are introduced, relationships strengthened and weakened, while the new baddie appears on the final page. Nothing too exciting, but plenty of information is given and teased. 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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