The All-New, All-Different Avengers get caught up in the Standoff Crossover and tricked into fighting the Unity Squad and Miles and Ms. Marvel are the only ones who see this fight as ridiculous.
WRITER: Mark Waid
ARTIST: Adam Kubert
COLOR ARTIST: Sonia Oback with Dono Sanchez Almara
LETTERER: VC’s Cory Petit
COVER ARTIST: Alex Ross
VARIANT COVER ARTIST: Evan “Doc” Shaner
EDITOR: Axel Alonso
STORY: In the aftermath of Kang, the Conqueror’s assault, the ANAD Avengers decide to regroup. Sam visits Jane Foster (Thor) getting answers into why she chose to become the “new” Thor and seeing that it is taking its toll on her chemo treatments. Kamala and the Vision share a tender moment and Miles ends up getting into a tussle with the Night Phantom (Talk about blast from the past).
The battle with the Night Phantom exposes Pleasant Hill, a super villain prison that was created by SHIELD to mind wipe villains and give them quiet lives in the town, until Baron Zemo discovered the truth and turn Kobik, which is a child with the powers of the cosmic cube against SHIELD and is slowly releasing the villains and using LMD (Life Model Decoys) of Director Maria Hill to lure the various Avengers teams out and have them become the new prisoners of Pleasant Hill. The plan succeeds as the LMDs of Hill have both the ANAD Avengers and Unity Squad Avengers fighting each other. Which thanks to both Miles and Kamala (Super Hero BFFs) they calm the teams down just in time for Kobik to trap them in their new civilian lives in Pleasant Hill with Tony Stark as a car mechanic and Miles Morales as his assistant in training (I kid you not).
THOUGHTS: Here’s the thing, Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill is actually a pretty good crossover so far. Writer Nick Spencer is really moving the story very well and keying it in for his main books with Sam Wilson: Captain America. The problem is, crossovers like this, which can be strong can hinder books and bad crossovers can really mess up books (Spider-Man 2099, Amazing Spider-Man). Mark Waid does the best he can by dealing with the aftermath of the last few issues. Mending fences between Ms. Marvel and the Vision. Having a fantastic talk between Jane Foster and Sam Wilson and explaining the kiss between them very well and like two level headed adults. Even poking holes into why Jane Foster becomes Thor, she loses any progress her chemo is doing against her cancer when she could get a cure of Asgard no problem. He also does incredible work with Miles in the book. While he doesn’t play a large part in this story like the previous issues, but wow! Miles is the most professional, level headed super hero on the team and his jokes are not forced in any way. I laughed at his: “Just my luck” joke when he is fighting Night Phantom. I also like how it spun off of Iron Man when Night Phantom wondering what year it is, Tony fires back with: “I’m wondering the same myself if you’re here.”
However, Waid still has to work into this crossover and that’s where problems happen. While the manipulation of Baron Zemo is seen with the LMD Maria Hills. Unless you are reading Uncanny Avengers you don’t really understand how the Unity Squad ended up in Zemo’s trap and why Kobik’s manipulations have everyone on edge. I just hate, and I do mean hate when the experience heroes aren’t being the smart ones and the young ones are (yes, I’m dreading Civil War II). Waid has been using Miles Morales very well since launching ANAD Avengers and he continues to use him as the voice of reason. In fact, the Miles Morales in Avengers is the complete opposite of Peter Parker right now. Peter Parker in his main book is being treated like an idiot, who can’t see spies in his own company, does things without thinking, dating various women and then whining when things don’t go his way. Somehow survives free falls from space and does not know how to talk to people anymore.
Meanwhile, Miles, while still young and does act like a teen super hero thinks about things first. He is willing to crack a joke in the face of danger, but knows when his peers are being extremely stupid. After the set up by the LMDs, Miles immediately tells both groups let’s talk about this first since he knows they are being manipulated. Instead, Thor flies off the handle, Johnny Storm/Human Torch apparently takes his characterization from Amazing Spider Man (insert volume number here) #3 and Nova acts like his Ultimate Spider-Man version and only Ms. Marvel basically agrees with Miles and then it’s Iron Man who figures out they are all being duped too before both teams are mind wiped and put into their new lives in Pleasant Hill in a very eery scene at the end with knowing that Miles is going to save the day somehow when Sam Wilson shows up next issue.
It’s so muddled in the middle while the opening and ending are extremely strong. Especially, with Adam Kubert’s artwork who nails the quiet scenes and the final page when you see the populace sign magically changing from 1,507 to 1,520, which does show a problem. There were 14 Avengers, who wasn’t mind wiped? Go read the rest of the crossover folks! So, yes, the Standoff crossover does hurt the story, but Waid does use it the best he can, but much like Peter David when crossovers hit Spider-Man 2099, it hurts the book because it detracts from the story focus in the book because the book just “has” to be part of the story.
Book Grade: B