Hey Two-Bit! This review is a waste of time and space! Well, thank you very much in advance, dearest readers. Yes, I’m aware that Spider-Man is no longer in the line-up, but his greatest arch-enemy, Norman Osborn, is still in the book… or at least he’s supposed to be. Let’s keep this short.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Renato Guedes
Inker: Jose Magalhaes
Colorist: Jason Keith
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Art: Daniel Acuña
The Avengers: Iron Man (Tony Stark), Captain America (Steve Rogers), Hawkeye (Clint Barton), Storm (Ororo T’Challa), Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew), The Vision, The Protector (Noh-Varr), Red Hulk (General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross), Jarvis, S.H.I.E.L.D. Maria Hill
THE PLOT: Last issue, the Avengers set out to track down Osborn. At Thunderbolts Mountain, Spider-Woman and Hawkeye are surrounded by Grey Hulked-out H.Y.D.R.A. agents. Jessica tries to pass off as an undercover agent deployed by Madame Hydra herself, but the plan fails and they are both captured.
At an Oscorp facility in Long Island, Storm is already KO’d, and Red Hulk is quickly dispatched by H.A.M.M.E.R. agents with the Wasp’s powers. At a former A.I.M. facility, the Protector is fighting Iron Man, whose armour has been hacked. Noh-Varr successfully disables the armour for a few seconds, but it quickly recovers and knocks him unconscious.
Finally, the Quincarrier is being assaulted by Giant Man knock-offs. The Vision and Captain America successfully fend them off, but the Quincarrier crashes anyway. The H.A.M.M.E.R. agents knock out Cap, calling their mission a success.
GENERAL THOUGHTS: There isn’t a whole lot to this issue, unfortunately. The excellent cover by Daniel Acuña once again is very misleading, as Storm features very little, and she spends her very few panels unconscious. A few of the other Avengers did get some cool moments, however. Spider-Woman gets the best, unsurprisingly, as she tries to work her charms on the Grey Hulks. Protector proves himself capable of handling Iron Man on his own , but his naivete causes him to drop his guard. Finally, Vision easily lays the hurt on one of the fake Giant Men. Oftentimes, the more famous Avengers seem to hog the spotlight, so it was nice to see these three heroes, which someone like me is not really familiar with, get the attention they deserve.
It’s easy to tell, however, how thin this issue is. It doesn’t advance the plot whatsoever. We don’t get any kind of insight on where Osborn and H.A.M.M.E.R. are or what they are doing. I like the ideas that are presented here in regards to villains using the heroes’ powers against them, but I feel like they are not used to the best extent. Their plans are a little small-minded, especially when you consider that Osborn and Madame Hydra are behind everything.
The art by the team of Guedes, Magalhaes, and Keith is pretty good, overall, but the final panels threw me off. They are basically two blacked out panels with WHACK! across the page. It felt really lazy and stops the action to a screeching halt. The transition didn’t feel very good at all.
VERDICT: In the short time I’ve been collecting comics, I’ve noticed when I collect arcs by Brian Michael Bendis that there is at least one (sometimes two) issues that are pure filler and simply unnecessary. Avengers #21 is that issue for this arc. I’m willing to bet that anyone can probably read issues #20 and #22 and fill up the gaps pretty easily without owning this one. That’s very unfortunate, in my opinion, as there are some good moments to be found here, but, at the end of the day, they don’t redeem #21. Give this one a pass. 1 Webhead out of 5.
~My Two Cents