In Review: Avengers: No Road Home #4

Primarily backstory on the baddie, though the scenes in the present have decent action.

The covers: A pair to pick up for the newest installment of this weekly series. Hercules is wailing on the Vision who appears to be no match for the god on this Regular cover by Yasmine Putri. There’s a giant red hand controlling the hero like a puppet as he beats his friend. There’s a lot of debris flying behind this twosome, but what it’s coming from I can’t say. I do like this with the colors being very striking. The Variant cover is by the talented Phil Noto. This has Hercules giving Dolos a strong left to the face while Apate grabs the hero from behind, raising a knife to stab him. Luckily, Voyager has appeared from behind to help her friend. The image is great and the colors are beautiful. When isn’t Noto’s work good? Overall grade: Both A 

The story: The majority of this issue, written by Jim Zub, Mark Waid, and Al Ewing, focuses on Nyx’s backstory. The issue begins with the villain coming into existence and quickly finding that Zeus, “God of sky and lighting. Son the galactic titans. Loud and bright. He could not stand to be alone with me.” With the creation of other gods and Mount Olympus, Nyx felt out of place, even with the birth of her first son, Hypnos. Humans did not help her situation, as life among the gods worsened. Meanwhile, in Omnipotence City, Hercules, controlled by the twins Dolos and Apate, is attacking the Vision. The skirmish is brief, with a new character rescued by one of the Avengers. Just as all seems well, a worse threat appears. The origin of Nyx is returned to and is interesting, but it too gives way to the present and a character falls. The last two pages return to the realm of Nightmare where Hypnos continues his attack, that is until some visitors decide to go on the offense. It’s necessary to provide backstory on Nyx and her children so that the reader can understand why they’re doing such horrible things. I was impressed with how Nyx is initially sympathetic due to how she’s treated by her peers, but things take a quick turn and it’s easy to see why the gods hate her and her offspring. The fighting is quick and cool, but it’s the last page that has me cheering. It’s completely unexpected and it’s flipping awesome. Overall grade: A-

The art: Sean Izaakse’s art is fantastic. If Marvel is wise they’ll put him on a monthly book immediately. Nyx’s creation on the opening page is a progression of her emergence from the darkness in three panels. Very cool. I like how the darkness is shattered by the arrival of Zeus who is none too pleased to see her. The double-paged splash of 2 and 3 is an glorious image of Mount Olympus and how all the gods love it, save the one character skulking in the bottom right. Even motherhood brings no joy to her face. The quick rise of Hypnos is cool, with his army behind him great. Page 6 shows how man doesn’t give Nyx any respect, with that last panel simple, but very effective. The birth of twins continue her downward spiral and that twosome is absolutely creepy in the final panel on Page 7. The next page has a strong return to the present with a hard left from Hercules into the Vision. I really like what’s happening to the android as he’s pelted, with his reveal on 10 awesome. The start of this page is excellent with the visuals giving a call back to last issue, and then have a great action panel with two characters on the offense. Page 11 is a full-paged splash and it’s terrific. It changes the tone of the issue and brings everything to a halt due to this individual’s arrival. I love the look of everything on this page, with the hero in tow a terrific addition. The battle that follows is epic and I love the punishment inflicted; very classical. Page 17 has a great vertical panel of the villains. The action on 18 is shocking, with the accompanying smiles making it dastardly. The final page is a full-paged splash that features one character doing something I thought I would never see. Oh, yeah — I want to see more of this! Overall grade: A

The colors: The work by Marcio Menyz is also good. Since Nyx is the Mother of Night she needs to continually stand out with her dark colors. She is a magnet on every scene that occurs in Mount Olympus as it and its gods are in bright warm colors. The golds on Pages 2 and 3 create the majesty and wonder of the location perfectly. However, Nyx in the bottom right is fantastic. I like that Hypnos is swaddled in a red cloth that becomes his cape. The use of orange and yellow as humans are focused on is a neat way to combat the darkness the villain adores. The dust that peppers a hero’s eyes is communicated to the reader well with colors. The sunlight on 11 is great and the blues, blacks, and grays superb. The explosion of colors on 12 make the battle even more epic. Dark colors dominate on 14 and 15, but the visuals can still be clearly seen. The reds that top 16 are creepy and they are repeated in a faded color at the bottom of the page. The variety of greens on the final page is the perfect color to draw the reader to specific elements and I’m looking forward to seeing more of this shade next issue. Overall grade: A

The letters: VC’s Cory Petit creates the issue’s narration and dialogue (the same font), scene settings, a character reading lines, yells, Vision speech, and a loud gasp. I prefer to have the narration and dialogue in different fonts as they are different forms of speech. They are easily identifiable due to the colors of the boxes and balloons that contain, but I wanted them to be different. The scene settings are spectacular thick letters that draw the eyes and loudly herald each new location. It’s only for a panel, but the character reading instantly has a classic feel to him. The Vision’s dialogue is in italics to give him a mechanical sound. There aren’t any sounds, which is disappointing. Petit doesn’t get to decide when to insert them, so I wish the writers would be creative with what the battles should sound like. Overall grade: B+ 

The final line: Primarily backstory on the baddie, though the scenes in the present have decent action. I enjoyed learning why the villain and her spawn are disposed to cause trouble, but I do wish there had been more fighting in the present. The visuals are exceptional, leaving me wanting to see more from the artist and colorist. This was an enjoyable comic. 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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