In Review: Avengers: No Road Home #2

An excellent action issue that introduces new villains and has one character traumatically changed.

The covers: Nyx is the large face that dominates the Regular cover by Yasmine Putri. To her left are the members of her dark family: Apate, Dolos, Hypnos, and Oizys. To her right are the Avengers that will stop them: Voyager, Hercules, Scarlet Witch, and Vision. I love covers where the heroes and villains are racing at one another. The crackle of lightning that’s cutting the artwork diagonally is really neat. Plus, the impassive face of Nyx looks as though it was taken from a classical painting. I like this cover. The Connecting Variant is by Mico Suayan & Rain Beredo. This connects to last week’s variant and features the Scarlet Witch and Vision in the sky and below them are Hawkeye, nocking an arrow, and Hercules looking cheesed off, all standing against the debris of what’s left of Mount Olympus. Lightning explodes behind this heroic quartet. I like the characters in the sky, but Hawkeye looks a little too much like Beavis and Hercules’s right leg looks awkward. Overall grades: Regular A and Connecting Variant C+

The story: The Far Shore, Challenger’s prison at the edge of everything, has Voyager watching the exploits of the Avengers. The prisoner makes a derogatory comment and he and his warden are blasted with a burst of energy. “I felt it too, Challenger. Like something tearing the skin off the universe…” Using her cosmic powers, Voyager is able to view a situation beginning at Mount Olympus–the arrival of the goddess Nyx accompanied by her dark family. Hermes is the first to fall, to the sleep inducing Hypnos, who stabs the speedster as he succumbs to the foe’s dust. The gods fall before the family, with Nyx confronting Zeus. She reveals that she has broken free from the prison once the sun “was parted from the Earth.” This was what occurred in Avengers: No Surrender, and Challenger is quick to remind Voyager of this, who is torn by wanting to intervene and staying to ensure Challenger remains guarded. There’s a surprising twist with the turn of a page (pun intended) and then Voyager makes a fateful decision. On Page 8 the story by Al Ewing, Jim Zub, & Mark Waid returns to the present where the Avengers attack after Nyx has taken down the Scarlet Witch. There’s a lot of action on these pages, which is what one wants in an Avengers’ book and it’s outstanding. Each hero gets a swing at Nyx and the results are not good. This tale is told primarily from Hawkeye’s point of view and that’s because of a major — no, seriously — A MAJOR change to his character. Page 18 is a jolt to this character and the reader. It seems that things cannot possibly get worse for this person. Yeah. Wait until you turn the page. WOW! This was a fantastic romp with heroics, extreme drama, and a fantastic new collection of villains. Overall grade: A

The art: The artwork on this book, from penciler Paco Medina and inker Juan Vlasco, is also really strong. The opening page shows Challenger being held prisoner while Voyager watches the Avengers on several screens. I like the way the villain is being held and I like the slick way Voyager is shown watching the action. The entrance of Nyx and the other villains on Page 2 is epic and exactly how villains should appear. Hypnos’s abilities are shown to the reader, not stated, and Medina and Vlasco make his actions easily understandable. Page 4 has a god trying to attack Nyx from the back, but it’s difficult to see how he’s taken out as the third panel is a close-up of his face and his demise is unclear as the reader should be farther from the character. Zeus’s reaction at the bottom of the same page is excellent and he looks incredible, and very sad, on the two pages that follow. I am in LOVE with Oizys’s look and what she’s doing at the bottom of 5. The last panel on 6 is a shocker, with the action being startling. I also like how the character on the left looks too frail for such a feat, but that only strengthens that individual. The third panel on 7 is a fantastic victory shot. The smile that ends the page foreshadows future troubles. The large panels on 8 and 9 are tilted to give the action a much more frantic flavor that works very well. The Hulk’s attack on 10 is stellar and what happens to him on 11 left me shaking my head in the error that occurs. The attacks on 14 had me cheering — I want to see the heroes being successful, even if for a moment, and I was really pleased with what Medina and Vlasco have them do. These pages feature terrific skirmishes, making Pages 16 – 20 great visual surprises. I love the work done on the characters, with the individual focused on outstanding. The first panel on 18 tells the story to the reader, unaccompanied by text and it’s awesome. My jaw dropped. The final panel on 19 is brutal, with the character’s strength gone. And the final page has an even more horrific ending. Beautiful work on this issue. Overall grade: A

The colors: The artwork on this issue increases its power with colors by Jesus Aburtov. The background for the Far Shore is a terrific light blue, allowing Challenger to get focus with his stark reds. The screens that Voyager looks upon have got a cool tint to them. The arrival of the villains has the colors go dark, showing how their presence dims the life on Mount Olympus. The gods have golden hair, which makes them seem as if they’re thriving with life, while Nyx and her cronies are in night colored blues and blacks. I like that Nyx’s speech balloons are colored black to reinforce her evil nature. Clint’s thoughts are a dull violet, matching the colors of his original costume, while the Vision’s speech is in yellow.  The backgrounds during the fights go red to increase each action packed panel. The second panel on 17 has got some outstanding coloring for a reflection. The colors of the character that enters on the final page are iconic and a harbinger of violence. Harsh reds appear for the final panel to leave the reader in distress as much as the character in jeopardy. Overall grade: A

The letters: VC’s Cory Petit is responsible for this issue’s narration and dialogue (the same font), scene settings, yells, whispered text, sounds, and the Vision’s speech. The color of balloons and boxes is how the narration and dialogue is differed. It works, but I would have preferred to see a different font. The scene settings are outstanding — big and bold that proclaim a change in location to the reader. There are several yells and cries due to the the action and they are terrific. There are several times when dialogue is whispered or said quietly and magnifies the emotion of each utterance. Italics are used for the Vision’s dialogue which gives his speech an appropriate metallic tone. Overall grade: B+ 

The final line: An excellent action issue that introduces new villains and has one character traumatically changed. I enjoyed the Voyager flashback, Challenger’s appearances, seeing the Avengers in action, and that conclusion is outstanding! The visuals are great in this chapter, with every blow massive and every tear in flesh felt by the reader. This is exactly how the Avengers should be shown! Marvel is making magic with this book. 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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