In Review: Avengers: No Road Home #5

Important artifacts are introduced, there's plenty of action, and several surprises, including someone entering the Marvel Universe.

The covers: Two to grab before Bruce Banner’s alter ego grabs you! The Regular cover by Yasmine Putri features an incredible head shot of the Hulk looking down at the reader and grinning insanely. To the right is a shard of dark crystal that contains the image of Hypnos. This Hulk is fantastic! He looks awesome. I also like the Hypnos, but I really wanted to see all of the Hulk on this frontpiece. Still, this is outstanding. The Variant cover is by Phil Noto and features the Hulk front and center wrestling with the wiggly Oizys. He’s got the creature in both hands, but she’s still putting up a fight. In the background Hawkeye can be seen racing forward about to unleash an arrow. This looks okay. I’m not fan of the Hulk’s face, with his hair spiked up, and it is really hard to make out Oizys. Overall grades: Regular A+ and Variant C+

The story: The trio of writers, Jim Zub, Mark Waid, & Al Ewing, begin in Omnipotence City where the Avengers are trapped in an orb created by Nyx as she revels in holding an ebony shard created by Zeus to diminish her power. She can’t decide if she should shatter it or ingest it. Wanda knows none of them can escape their magical prison, until she realizes the hero next to her can help. Meanwhile in the Nightmare Realm, Hawkeye, the Hulk, and Rocket Raccoon are attacking Hypnos’s army. While the son of Nyx goes into the castle to retrieve one of his mother’s shards, the Hulk says, “Hnh. Yeah, you better run, Hypnos.” Hawkeye and Rocket have some words until a surprising character reveals herself to Clint. Page 7 is worth the cover price of this issue. I laughed so hard. It’s about time that a villain, in any Marvel book, had this reaction to what’s occurring. Back in Omnipotence City something extraordinary is happening to two heroes. This was cool and exceedingly clever. Whenever a writer is able to do something new with a character that’s been around since the 1960’s it’s something to applaud and whichever of the gentlemen is responsible for this, kudos! Page 12 has an awesome moment with a character saying something I’ve been waiting for. The issue’s McGuffin takes a turn on 13 and 14 and looks to be what the remaining issues of this series will focus on. I’m all for this! It’s a great element and I need to see more of it. If Page 7 didn’t thrill the reader, 15 most certainly will — DANG! That’s a memorable moment! That said, what occurs on 17 is appropriate given the source, but it’s too similar to something that became a pop culture moment last year. The final three pages have one hero in a new location, meeting someone on the final page. This did not thrill me. Certain characters shouldn’t cross over and I’m not pleased to see this individual enter this series. There’s a page devoted to the writer responsible for this character’s inclusion, detailing why he’s overjoyed to have this individual involved. I’ve not been disappointed in this writer before, so I’m keeping an open mind, trying to keep my knee-jerk reactions at bay. Overall grade: A-

The art: The situation is perfectly summarized visually on the opening page, which is a full-page splash. Artist Sean Izaakse has Nyx in the foreground, holding the shard triumphantly, and Oizys looking on happily with Voyager held in her coils. In the background are the four Avengers stuck in the sphere. This page brings the reader up to speed quickly. Each Avenger is then focused on as Nyx tries to make up her mind. Wanda gets the focus on the third page, with Izaakse showing how the blind hero continues to see the world. Very neat. The second panel on Page 4 is awesome because the second panel shows the Hulk riding Nightmare’s steed, throwing punches and swinging his blade at Hypnos’s soldiers. The villain does look as though he’s running away from the Hulk and this green hero is absolutely wicked in the final panel on the page. The layout of Page 5 is cool for the first six panels being a back and forth between Clint and Rocket. This leads to a great surprise at the bottom of the page. The progression of action on 6 is great and I really like the triangular panels that show action and put the focus on the heroes for some fun dialogue. The large image on 7 is killer. No spoilers, but this illustration will get fence sitters to pick this book up. It’s cool, epic, and really funny. I love what Wanda is doing on 9 and want to see a full-page splash of what she’s doing in the large panel — that’s exactly what I want to see the Scarlet Witch doing! The first panel of the next page is a needed point of view shot looking down on the entire affair so the reader clearly knows where everyone is. I cheered at seeing the first two panels on 12. The action on 13 is great, with the first panel on 14 being an excellent visual conclusion. 15 is killer, plain and simple, with the Hulk being stupendous at the end of the page. The effect on 17 isn’t working for me; I can tell what’s happening, but it’s too subtle after all the action that’s come earlier. The reveal on the last page is a full-page splash and looks exactly as if it’s drawn by the artist who’s most associated with this character. This person looks great. This whole issue looks great. Overall grade: A-

The colors: Marcio Menyz & Erick Arciniega are the issue’s colorists and they do good work. It’s not stated in the credits who is responsible for which pages (C’mon, Editor Tom Brevoort — People want to know!). Notice how colors manipulates the reader, having their eyes fall first on the white of the setting, moving to the violet that accounts for Wanda’s thoughts, moving to the gleaming white of the shard, then to the ebony on Nyx, which draws the reader to the villain and her minion. Nicely done. I’m always impressed by colorists who make characters clad in black stand out on a page, and that’s done throughout this book, with great highlights on Nyx and the Children of Night. The greens coming out of Nightmare’s horse are luminescent joys. The Hulk’s greens are a titch darker and that suits his personality in this issue. Clint and Rocket have yellows and oranges used for the backgrounds, to make them pop out of their panels and to simulate the fire and action occurring. I am in love with the light blues on 9 — what a perfect color for a spell in this location. The reds at the top of 13 are outstanding. I’m not keen on the colors for 17, which don’t make sense for what’s going on. The yellows and oranges on last three pages are spot on for the locale that the concluding hero is often running about. Overall grade: A-

The letters: VC’s Cory Petit is the creator of the scene settings, narration and dialogue (the same font), yells, whispered dialogue, and sounds. I love the scene settings on this series which are just as strong as the heroes. I do wish that the narration and dialogue were different fonts, rather than differed by colors and shape of their balloons. There are several different yells so the reader can see the volume of the utterance more clearly, and two of the best issue from Hercules and Nyx. The whispered dialogue is between two characters operating on the down low, while the other comes from a character in a weakened state. Very cool. There are several sounds and each is a winner. Petit’s on the ball this issue. Overall grade: A-

The final line: Important artifacts are introduced, there’s plenty of action, and several surprises, including someone entering the Marvel Universe. There are several terrific scenes for many heroes, with many deserving applause. The art looks good, with the Nightmare scenes awesome. The colors are are great, with Wanda’s scenes the best. Letters add to the intensity of the visuals, with several strong yells and sounds. This is a winning 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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