Avengers #3 Review – Well Argued. You Will Be Spared When The Reckoning Comes.

"It was the Spark that started the Fire -- A Legend that grew in the telling."

Avengers #3 is a curious book.  It’s solid read to be sure, but despite the overall strong writing and plotting it has a flaw or two that could go either way.  That is to say, these flaws could either prove to be early cracks in an otherwise stellar book or simply the unavoidable result of reading a long-form narrative in a serialized format.  At the moment, and given what I know of Jonathan Hickman, I lean pretty heavily toward the latter.

Let’s get the problems out of the way first.  First of all, an issue that is meant to be the concluding issue of the initial arc really reads as more a transition to the larger story.  On some levels this is to be expected, particularly with a writer like Hickman who’s known for meticulous plotting and an eye for the long game.  On an issue to issue basis however, it can give off an anti-climactic feeling that this issue just barely skirt.

Secondly, and potentially more problematic, there has been very little, if any characterization of the larger cast. On one hand, this is unfortunate because Hickman has shown an incredibly deft and economical hand in his characterization of the major players (i.e. Captain American, Iron Man, Wolverine and Spiderman, Thor in particular).  On the other hand, there has been zero characterization for characters like Hyperion, Shang-Chi, and Smasher.  Now again, it’s entirely plausible, even probable, that Hickman will rectify this in later issues.  For this particular entry though, it does add to the anticlimactic vibe this issue flirts with because we have no reason to care about most of the players.

So, those maybe-not-so-minor blemishes aside, how does this issue stack up? As well as you’d expect if you’ve been reading series.

We pick up right where #2 left off.  Cap and the newly expanded Avengers are heading to Mars to take down Ex Nihilo and Aleph.  Oddly, it’s never exactly explained how Cap, Shang-Chi, Falcon and all the other non-god, non-Iron Suit wearing Avengers are breathing.  I guess we should assume Ex Nihilo has terraformed?  Anyway…the expected battle ensues with great moments all around (I particularly enjoyed Shang-Chi kung fu-ing Aleph’s leg off).  Perhaps most interesting is the introduction of the current Captain Universe and a little taste of the scale of power we could be dealing with here.  Hickman always works on an epic scale, but if terraforming Mars, flexing the muscles of a cosmic entity, and creating a new form of life is where he’s starting?  Well, you can’t help but be intrigued about where the man intends to end up…

Hickman is bringing a truly grand feel and a majesty to the Avengers mythos.  Three issues in, and this already feels like the kind of epic run we’re going to be debating and talking about for a long time to come.  This feels like a benchmark.  In fact, for the first time that I can recall, Marvel, to paraphrase Cap, is starting to feel like an Avengers world and that’s a good thing.

“It was the Spark that started the Fire — A Legend that grew in the telling.”  Indeed.




Keith is a life long gamer, movie buff, occasional harmonica player, and, most importantly, a comics nerd. Like all the best nerds, Keith is a child of the 80's and 90's and an often loud and vocal advocate of the cartoons of that era (seriously, though, they are unquestionably the best cartoons EVER). He currently resides in New York City with his lovely, if often exasperated wife, Rachel and their two cats, Ollie and Juno.

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