Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Daniel Acuña
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Art: Daniel Acuña
***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***
Plot: THE SUPER HERO C IVIL WAR. MONTHS AGO. In the aftermath of Bill Foster’s battle with Thor’s clone, Ragnarok, we find then-Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Maria Hill and a forensics squad cleaning up the scene. As one group expresses their disgust over the superhero population in general and wonders how to remove Foster’s giant corpse, a forensics lady takes a sample of Bill’s hair and pockets it away.
THE ASSASSINATION OF CAPTAINAMERICA. MONTHS AGO. We follow the same forensics group again, still in shock after seeing Cap’s body removed from the courthouse steps. The same lady takes a swab with Steve Roger’s blood and puts it away in her lab coat.
THE SKRULL INVASION. MONTHS AGO. S.H.I.E.L.D. is at the scene following the battle atCentral Park, tending to the injured and taking Skrulls into custody. The forensics team is present, body-bagging Skrulls and humorously shocked that Nick Fury is still alive. Our evidence thief manages to steal samples of Skrull blood, what appears to be Spider-Mans web fluid, and a Kree gun from Noh-Varr.
AVENGERSTOWER. AFTERMATH OFBLITZKRIEG,USA. YESTERDAY. Steve and Tony are looking at the wreckage of the Tower. Tony doesn’t want to rebuild it because he’s out of money, but Steve encourages him to do it as a statement, much like he was doing with Asgard, and to use the Asgardian treasure room to pay for it. The S.H.I.E.L.D. forensics lady is there again, this time snagging a piece of scrap from one of the Nazi mechs.
AVENGERSMANSION. NOW. Steve has those who were living in the Tower relocated to the Mansion, much to the chagrin of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. The Thing is there and apologizes because it was him who brought down the Tower, under the influence of the Serpent’s hammer, but Steve and Spider-Man tell him that no one is holding him responsible to that. Wong threatens Jarvis to stay out of his kitchen. Ms. Marvel decides to move out, and Spider-Woman has an uncomfortable moment with Hawkeye and Mockingbird in the same room. Steve tells the heroes that it’s time for some soul-searching and asks who will be an Avenger.
Meanwhile, we find out that our DNA sample thief is named Dr. Carolina Washington. Terrified of the superhero population and their free passes for everything, she approached A.I.M., who in turn led her to a meeting with H.A.M.M.E.R. She says she has the genetic secrets of the entire superhuman population, and Norman Osborn, Madame Hydra, and Superia welcome her to H.A.M.M.E.R.
Daniel Acuña is responsible for the interior art as well as for the cover. I greatly enjoyed his art. The guy did his own inks and colors, and it’s all really well done. I definitely hope he remains on board for the rest of the arc, at least. The cover teases us with possible candidates for the new Avengers lineup, including Loki, Storm, Black Panther, Ghost Rider, Rogue, Cloak and Dagger, Blade, and Hercules. You know some of these are never gonna happen, but it still makes for an interesting cover.
There are some great moments to be had, such as the conversation between Tony and Steve at the Tower ruins, or Steve and Spider-Man trying to cheer Ben up. With Johnny’s death and now this, you really feel bad for the Thing right now, and that scene conveyed his emotions perfectly.
The cliffhanger has me very interested on the next issue. Knowing that New Avengers ties into this story also has me pretty pumped. It’s been a while since the Avengers title did anything for me, so this is definitely a good sign.
I gotta say, I wonder if Bendis was using Steve Rogers as a mouthpiece in this issue. When Steve tells Tony that they needed to rebuild Avengers Tower, he says that it irritates him that the government never made any effort to build something in the place of the World Trade Center towers, that they just let it lie. I’m sure many people, myself included, feel the same way and echo that sentiment, which is why that makes for a great scene. It feels genuine and rings true.
The Bad: While I generally thought this was a good issue, there are some quirks that I must note. First of all, I don’t know why anyone thought it was necessary to put those yellow circles around Washington whenever she was stealing something, as if the reader wouldn’t notice otherwise. I don’t question how a S.H.I.E.L.D. forensics doctor managed over the course of a year pocket several pieces of evidence without anyone noticing (it just wouldn’t make for fun comics if we tried to apply logic to everything), but I do question her motives, as they are not really fully explained. She says it’s “fundamentally wrong” to let the heroes do as they please without any accountability, but what’s so fundamentally wrong about it? I don’t know. It’s also pretty humorous to me how lacking is the security with S.H.I.E.L.D., but that’s always been the case. That’s not a bad thing.
The bad thing is how Bendis continues to push this Hawkeye/Spider-Woman relationship. Ms. Marvel and Jessica Drew still sound like high school girls talking about some football quarterback or what not. And Hawkeye’s new costume is ugly.
There is a scene with Luke Cage and Jessica Jones complaining that nobody asked them about housing all the Avengers, saying that they thought the mansion was theirs and that they paid for it with their money. I know it was done for comedic effect, but I didn’t think it was funny, especially if you recall that they paid one dollar for the mansion, and it wasn’t even Luke’s dollar. It was Iron Fist’s.
But if there’s one veritable con about this issue (everything else was just “little things”) it is something prompted by Steve’s line: “It’s time to reexamine what the Avengers are and what we mean to each other and the world.” Is this really something we have to do in EVERY issue? No, really. Bendis is always reexamining what the Avengers stand for in every issue, pretty much. It happened in the Infinity Gems arc with Red Hulk. It happened in the .1 issue with Jessica Drew. The whole Fear Itself tie-in was about “What makes an Avenger an Avenger?” Yes, I get it. They are about saving the world and putting their lives on the line and sacrificing their social lives and stuff. Do we really have to go through this again?
Verdict: The issue itself was okay, though it had great art. And there’s a promise of a great story to come. As it stands, Avengers #18 gets a 3 Webheads out of 5.
~My Two Cents